Mamba mentality: Three current NBA stars with the Kobe Bryant characteristic

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Russell Westbrook

Kobe has come out in support of Westbrook on numerous occasions throughout the point guard's career in the NBA. 

The Oklahoma City superstar is one of the most passionate and ferocious players in the league and is easily one of the most entertaining.

He has the chance to lead the Thunder on his own this season and will have to channel the Mamba mentality if they are to make a splash in the typically competitive Western Conference.

The former UCLA star is yet to show he has the championship mentality or cold-blooded finish in the clutch - often becoming erratic when it matters most - but he really does share the Mamba's willingness to be the best.

D'Angelo Russell

He's coming off a rocky first year in the NBA but will have learned a lot from his short time with Bryant.

The L.A. Lakers guard has shown in Summer League, preseason and sporadic games in the previous campaign what he is all about, but channeling that into a winning mentality is the next step. 

Russell has said he has ice in veins, and the hope is that Kobe has rubbed off on him. One thing's for sure, he's not afraid to take the shot when it matters.

It is too early to dub his Kobe-esque, but there are certainly aspects of his game - mainly his volume scoring - that reflect the legend. 

Kyrie Irving

Injury problems seem to have led to people forgetting just how good Irving is. The Olympic gold medalist and NBA champion is back to his best after a prolonged period on the sidelines and has sussed his chemistry issues with LeBron James - it was only a matter of time. 

Tyronn Lue spoke of the similarities between Irving-LeBron and Shaq-Kobe, and told the point guard he needed to be more like the now-retired shooting guard - it sure worked last season with his clutch title-winning shot at the Oracle Arena. 

That was his moment of arrival, and there is no ceiling for the Australian-born former Duke star. He is close to Kobe and it's clear to see he has the mental toughness to be a true great, now it's about emulating his idol and taking that next step to becoming one of the best to play the game. 

He's shown us how clutch he can be, now it's about doing it over a number of seasons and winning numerous rings.

L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
D'Angelo Russell
Kobe Bryant

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