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Mamba Mentality: Rockets Star Jalen Green Channels Kobe, Jordan

Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green draws inspiration from all-time greats Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.

HOUSTON — Jalen Green had an absurd end to his rookie campaign. Post All-Star break, Green averaged 22.1 points on 47.6 percent shooting from the floor, including 38.7 percent behind the arc for the 20-62 Houston Rockets.

He eclipsed 20 or more points 16 times during the final 22 games, which included scoring a career-high 41 points during a season finale defeat to the Atlanta Hawks.

Green has been compared to some of the most prominent shooting guards in the game — from his confidence to his killer mentality. But there are a pair of Hall-of-Famers Green he idolized growing up in northern California that stand apart in his mind.

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"M.J. [Michael Jordan] and Kobe [Bryant]," Green said during his guest appearance on the Bill Simmons podcast. "Growing up, M.J. was always my favorite since I was a kid. I always had M.J. posters and Jordan's. 

"I didn't start to fall in love with Kobe until the middle of my junior year of high school. I started to watch more videos about his mindset and how he approached the game. And that was around the time I started to lock-in mentally."

As a kid who followed Bryant and Jordan, Green says there are parts of their game he tries to mimic. He began to emulate their signature post-up fadeaway jumpers during his senior year at Prolific Prep, but refrained from showcasing his post-game in the NBA.

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Green's main objective this offseason has been adding muscle during his voluntary workouts with the Rockets. The goal of getting stronger will allow Green to become more physical, which would help in the low block more during his sophomore season, similar to Bryant and Jordan later in their careers.

Green's off-season diet has consisted of monitoring meal proportions, protein shakes and water.

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"I am locked in on my body to make sure I'm in tip-top shape going into next year," Green said. "I've watched a lot of Kobe from when he was younger. I wanted to see what he was like when he came into the league and to see how everything changed for him."

Green fell short of his Rookie of the Year aspirations, but received first-team All-Rookie honors. 

He started all 67 of his games, while averaging 17.3 points (second among rookies), 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Green hit 157 3-pointers, which is tied for the fourth-most through the first 67 games played by any player in NBA history. 

Green finished fourth in ROY voting, behind award winner Scottie Barnes (Toronto), Evan Mobley (Cleveland) and Cade Cunningham (Detroit).