Saquon Barkley Uses Kobe Bryant as Motivation Through Nike Cleats

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is entering his second season in the NFL, and the optimism is running rampant. After all, the first-round pick from Penn State tallied more than 2,000 scrimmage yards as a rookie and served as the best offensive weapon on the team during a 5-11 season.

With Odell Beckham Jr. now suiting up in Cleveland, Golden Tate missing four games due to a suspension, and Sterling Shepard missing time with a fractured thumb, it will be critical that Barkley is even better for the Giants during the 2019 season.

Fortunately, the second-year running back is drawing motivation from one of the best players in NBA history. The Giants posted a photo of the inside of Barkley's Nike cleats on Friday and showed how serious he is about producing with text that reads "Mamba Mentality."

According to Bryant, the "Mamba Mentality" essentially is constantly trying to be the best version of yourself. This was the subject of his book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, and now Barkley is adopting it in an effort to become even better than he was as a record-setting rookie.

With a career that spanned 20 years and 1,346 games, Bryant is known as one of the NBA's all-time greats. The former Los Angeles Laker was named an NBA All-Star a whopping 18 times, and he was a member of five championship teams. He also had two separate numbers (8, 24) retired by the Lakers following his retirement.

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As a running back, it's unlikely that Barkley will be playing for 20 years due to the abuse that players in this position deal with on a weekly basis, but there is no denying that he is set on producing at a comparable level to the Black Mamba. The Giants need someone to provide balance for quarterback Eli Manning and this offense, and Barkley will be the man called upon to make a difference for the team.

Will the second-year back produce at an even greater level while leading the Giants back to the postseason? At this point in the preseason, it's undetermined, but the Mamba Mentality is undefeated.