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North Quincy basketball star Kobe Nguyen emulates "Mamba Mentality" on court, in classroom

Quincy basketball star Kobe Nguyen emulates Bryant's "Mamba Mentality" on court and in class
Quincy basketball star Kobe Nguyen emulates Bryant's "Mamba Mentality" on court and in class 03:18

QUINCY - For a basketball player who grew up on Bryant Avenue in Quincy, perhaps it was meant to be that his name is Kobe.

North Quincy High School's starting point guard, Kobe Nguyen, doesn't just share a first name with his favorite player of all time; he also wears number 24 in honor of Kobe Bryant.

"I look at his highlights every day," said Kobe. "Even though I might not play like him, I always try to watch him. Just listen to what he says."

The "Mamba Mentality" is one that Kobe is emulating as captain of the Raiders in just his junior season.

"He's the type of kid I wish I had five of," said Kevin Barrett, head coach of North Quincy's boys basketball team. "I want the ball in his hands, but also want him off the ball because he shoots the ball so well."

Kobe Nguyen North Quincy
North Quincy High School's starting point guard Kobe Nguyen CBS Boston

Kobe first picked up a basketball in kindergarten when Barrett was a physical education teacher at his elementary school.

"Always a good athlete," said Barrett. "Always a standout amongst his peers. Very athletic, inquisitive."

Kobe grew up watching his cousin play for North Quincy.

"I always looked up to him when he was playing here," Kobe recalls. "I would come to every single game, I would try to at least, always watching him and would try to be like him."

Now, roles are reversed. It's Kobe's family filling up an entire fan section practically every home game to see him shine.

"His family, they come really deep," said teammate Devin Tran. "I'd say 30 or more. Probably the loudest section in the gym."

"Knowing that's my family, the biggest crowd, nothing else it can do than put a smile on my face," Kobe said.

It's been that way ever since Kobe was elevated to the varsity team as a freshman.

"Kobe was our sixth man," said Coach Barrett. "He was thrust into the role of being our point guard as a freshman, and really stepped in and hit the ground running."

Two years later, he's the Raiders leading scorer averaging around 18 points per game.

"I don't really care about the stats or whatever," Kobe continued, "I just want to lead my team, and help them get better any way possible."

"He's super locked in when he's playing," said Tran. "All he wants to do is win."

And the student athlete is just as focused in the classroom maintaining a 4.4 GPA according to his coach.

"There's no better kid to emulate than Kobe Nguyen for any of the elementary kids that are striving to be a student-athlete some day," said Coach Barrett.

Kobe is striving to one day, in the not too distant future, play college basketball.

"I just love the sport," Kobe said.

"My whole goal in life is to play basketball when I'm older. I don't really know what I want to do after this. Hopefully it involves playing basketball," he finished.

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