Kobe Bryant understands what a basketball lifetime with the Los Angeles Lakers offers to those few who are blessed with the talent and put in the hard work required to become great wearing purple and gold at a young age.
Bryant is a five-time champion and a living legend in the NBA and far beyond.
So, after Sunday's preseason victory over the Utah Jazz, Bryant was asked about rookie Julius Randle, who is slowly being groomed as a future face of the franchise. The rookie possesses a plethora of talents that include dribbling the ball up the court as a power forward.
Feeling good about the victory, Bryant took the opportunity to cut loose, drop a few "f-bombs" and tell the Lakers' rookie he would be an "idiot" to blow his opportunity with the purple and gold in any way. However, Bryant managed to slip in a slight that drew laughter from the peanut gallery of reporters in the locker room.
Despite recently stating that he had enough self-motivation to not be bothered by ESPN ranking him the 40th best player in the NBA, the 36-year-old couldn't help but take a shot at the sports media giants.
"ESPN are idiots, but you're a really big idiot if you managed to [expletive] this up," Bryant told reporters asking about the opportunity Randle had with the Lakers.
For his part, Randle agreed with the Lakers' star.
"Kobe said, 'You can't mess it up, unless you want to,'" Randle smirked when asked about the cards he had been dealt. "I intentionally have to mess things up. Having a coach like Byron (Scott), learn from greats like Kobe, Booz (Carlos Boozer), (Steve) Nash, all those guys. And on top of that, playing for the Lakers' organization."
On the night, the rookie had the best outing of his young professional career. Although he has a long way to go to being mentioned in the same breath as any of the Lakers' greats, the 19-year-old was entirely aware of the unique opportunity presented before him.
"I'm in a perfect situation," Randle concluded. "I can't mess it up."