Discover more from The Old Man Game Newsletter
Kobe Made DeMar Watch Soccer To Learn Footwork
The Chicago Bulls' DeMar Derozan attributes his fantastic footwork to Kobe Bryant.
Kevin Durant said in 2017 that DeMar Derozan “got the best footwork” that he’s witnessed in a while.
And I agree -DeRozan does have one of the best footwork in the NBA.
However, I’m not going to back this statement up with any stats or whatnot.
All I’m going to tell you to do is watch him ISO in the mid-range late in the fourth and you’ll see what I mean.
But DeRozan didn’t always possess this fundamental skill.
When he first entered the NBA in 2009, he was just raw and athletic. He had the ability to jump out of the building, but couldn’t really carve the court with pivots, step-throughs, or side steps.
It took him a few years to develop his footwork.
But what -or rather who- got him to start? Why did he begin to work on the finer details of the game?
Well, it was because of Kobe Bryant.
During an episode of the Old Man and the Three podcast, DeRozan was asked how he came to learn about the importance of footwork.
He said that Kobe essentially forced him to develop the skill.
“That was Kobe… the footwork element that was countless times of getting cussed out by Kobe about trying to do something the right way. So all that came from him… just his analogies and metaphors where he used to say certain things to me that I didn’t understand probably until a year later after he told me something. He spoke in codes and it was on you to figure it out. But I want to say 80 percent of that came from him.”
DeRozan added that one of the weirder things Kobe made him do was to watch and study soccer.
He said that the legend told him to try to figure out how the movements of soccer can be applied to basketball.
“He was one of the first ones that made me start paying attention to f*cking soccer. Like, ‘look how they run, how they do this,’ you know what I mean. It’s like I’ve never played soccer or watched it. He just said, ‘just watch it.’ Over time, you start to understand a lot of the stuff he’s talking about. From the footwork aspect, I got the majority of that from Kobe.”
On paper, soccer (or futbol for all you European readers) and basketball are two completely different sports. One is played by kicking the ball and the other is played, pretty much, by throwing and bouncing a ball.
But certain skills in soccer can be applied to basketball, such as the footwork that’s required to maneuver the ball past defenders.
And I’m this is the main thing that DeMar got from the sport.
DeRozan is one of the best mid-range scorers in the league.
But I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have averaged nearly 28 points per game last season and made all those clutch shots had he not developed impeccable footwork.
So, I think we all owe Kobe a lot of kudos for harassing DeMar for not having his fundamentals down.
Because if the Black Mamba didn’t, we wouldn’t have experienced all of those amazing plays from Deebo.
Read These Articles
Quote of the Week
“539 days later… BOUT THAT TIME!!”
Support the Newsletter
If you’re struggling to get better at basketball, you may be doing something wrong.
This is why you need to check out my Old Man Game Activity Guides and Planners.
Click here to learn more about them at my store.
Thanks for reading The Old Man Game Newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.