Post match celebrations: Liverpool 1-0 Everton

Liverpool youngster Curtis Jones names NBA icons LeBron James and Kobe Bryant as key inspirations

Nineteen-year-old draws from stars in the world of sport at large as he looks to improve his game

Alex Pattle
Thursday 12 November 2020 16:53

Liverpool youngster Curtis Jones has revealed that two of his main inspirations in the world of sport are NBA champion LeBron James and the late LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

The 19-year-old broke into Liverpool’s first-team squad last season, a year after making a single FA Cup appearance for the Reds. Last term, the midfielder made six outings for Jurgen Klopp’s side in the Premier League, four in the FA Cup and two in the Carabao Cup.

This season, Jones has already stepped out three times in the top flight, with two Carabao Cup appearances to his name as well as two in the Champions League.

And, speaking to Liverpool’s official club website, Jones revealed that he looks to two of basketball’s biggest stars for inspiration. James this year won his fourth NBA championship, while Bryant – who died in a helicopter crash in January – was a five-time title-winner with the Lakers, whom James now represents.

Read more: Liverpool’s centre-back options following Joe Gomez’s injury in England training

“I like to study my own game a lot, I like to see what I can improve or position stuff and where I can get myself into better positions,” Jones said.

“I also like to watch a lot of players that play in similar patterns to me, confident players that like to do a bit on the ball – goals and assists.

“But I also like to listen to a lot of things that the likes of LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Kobe – those type of people who are big in the sports world – say about being confident, what they do and their schedules and stuff. Like trying to be the first one in the gym, the last one out of the gym, giving that little bit more that others don’t give.”

Jones also opened up on his personal life, especially how his disposition shifts when he steps off the pitch.

“I think I’m two totally different people on and off the pitch,” he said. 

“There’s being confident and being cocky – I think there’s a fine line in between that. I don’t want to have people think that I’m going over that.

“Yeah, there’s been times when my confidence is not as high, but the last thing I’ll ever do is doubt myself.

LeBron James with the late Kobe Bryant

“Off the pitch, a lot of people know me for just being like a humble kid. I’m just humbled, relaxed, I’m chilled. I’ll speak to anybody. I’ll just try to be how I was brought up to be. I would never change.

“Obviously I’m still a little bit loud and can have a laugh, but I don’t walk around confident and [act] how I am on the pitch.”

Jones also insisted that fans have made more of his impressive winning goal against rivals Everton in the FA Cup last season than he has.

The 19-year-old, who admitted he simply relaxed at home with his mother after that victory, said: “I’m not using this goal to get myself into bars, clubs and stuff like that – I’m not doing that.

“I’m doing that to make my family proud, to repay the fans for the faith that they have in me – and the manager and his staff. I’m doing it for them and, of course, me.”

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