He was already an eight-time Pro Bowl player, a Super Bowl MVP and a future Hall of Famer.
But Rams linebacker Von Miller found newfound inspiration a few years ago when he read, “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play,” the late Kobe Bryant’s 2018 book about his process and perspective.
On Wednesday, the two-year anniversary of Bryant’s death, Miller paid homage to the Lakers star. He said that reading Bryant’s book and viewing documentaries about the five-time NBA champion helped him hone and appreciate his own craft.
“I realized that I wasn’t doing all that I possibly could to be the best,” Miller said during a video conference with reporters. “I thought I was … but I wasn’t committing all of me to the game. But after seeing the way Kobe did, and you see what came from it, I realized I wasn’t doing what Kobe was doing to be the best.”
Miller, acquired by the Rams in a trade-deadline deal with the Denver Broncos, was in top form last Sunday in a divisional-round victory over the defending Super Bowl-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers that advanced the Rams to the NFC championship game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
Miller had one of the Rams’ three sacks of Tom Brady — Miller also forced a fumble on the play — as part of a pass rush that also features star lineman Aaron Donald and linebacker Leonard Floyd among others.
On Sunday, Miller will try to help the Rams defeat the 49ers for the first time since 2018.
Miller is no longer nursing an ankle injury that forced him to sit out a game before he made his Rams debut in a 31-10 defeat by the 49ers.
Miller had no sacks in that game, but he had a sack and two hits on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a 27-24 defeat in the season finale.
Miller has at least one sack in each of the last six games, including playoff victories over the Arizona Cardinals and the Buccaneers.
Lakers star Kobe Bryant watches a tribute video at Staples Center before the final game of his career on April…