“Even after the first year when he took the shot and it was an airball against Utah, and what he said afterwards, like, ‘Hey, wait until next time. I’m going to knock it down.’ Like, he just had that confidence in his ability that I hadn’t seen for a guy that was that young,” Johnson said “And sure enough, he proved it. He proved himself to be right and everybody else to be wrong, because everybody was doubting him at that time. ‘Who is this young guy saying that he would shoot it again?’ ” Johnson, a Lakers and NBA icon who is a Hall of Famer himself, laughed at that thought before he continued to praise Bryant. “Then we saw him grow in that second year. You just saw it because he was putting in the work, so it was just early on I thought he could be in the Hall of Fame. … He had an old-school mindset and a new-school game. He had a combination, and you don’t see that too much. No matter what the circumstances, hard, tough, most people would have folded in a lot of situations. Not Kobe.”