WASHINGTON -- The number of NBA players who enjoy anime, the genre of animated epics that originated in Japan, may be surprising to most. You can read stories all over the internet of players and their affection for Dragon Ball Z, in particular.
But there are anime fans and then there is Wizards center Thomas Bryant who, though does like Dragon Ball Z himself, essentially believes it is kindergarten stuff. He's more into the deep cuts, an anime connoisseur, if you will.
"Don't even try me on DBZ. I know everything about that. I know everything from Dragonball Z to Dragonball GT to Dragonball Super; all of them. We can go to a whole different level with that," he told NBC Sports Washington.
"[But] that's the easiest one to know... Everybody say they're fans, but they're not real fans. They don't really know."
Bryant says he knows anime inside and out and his affinity goes back to when he was a kid. He used to buy manga books and read the stories over and over.
"Naruto [Uzumaki], One Piece, Lelouch; all of them in there," he said. "Naruto to Sasuke. People don't even know these... Nobody knows the real background story of everything."
As a kid, Bryant would stay up late at night, especially on weekends to watch anime series. He loved Toonami on Cartoon Network. That led to him collecting action figures, which he still does today. That hobby has been taken up a notch now that he makes an NBA salary.
Bryant's love for anime also played hand-in-hand to perhaps his best talent outside of basketball. He loves to draw and is quite good at it.
"I was watching anime when I started drawing," he said. "That's where the blessing from God came in."
Bryant has a teammate who is also into anime and not just the mainstream fare. Second-year wing Isaac Bonga shares a similar feeling about Dragon Ball Z.
"I feel like Dragonball Z, low-key everyone watches it," he said.
Bryant and Bonga's teammate Rui Hachimura also knows a little something about the genre. He is from Japan and grew up in social circles that were well-versed on the subject.
Hachimura, though, isn't nearly as crazy about it.
"Not that much," he said.
Bryant, however, is still very much into anime. And, along with his drawing, he uses it as a way to unwind when he's not on the court.
"It's just one thing that I keep to myself that I do away from basketball, just to clear my mind," he said.
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Thomas Bryant's passion for anime and drawing go hand-in-hand originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington