‘The expiring collective bargaining agreement created a broken system that produced huge financial losses for our teams,’ said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. ‘We will continue to make every effort to reach a new agreement that is fair and in the best interests of our teams, our players, our fans, and our game.’ Thus commenced the ’11 NBA lockout.
During the lockout, players weren’t able to use team facilities for any purpose; practices, exhibitions, or workouts. They also weren’t receiving salaries during the 149 days the NBA basketball was put on hold, so they had to come up with an alternative for both their bodies and their bank accounts to stay in shape until all sides reach an agreement.
The likes of Deron Williams, Danilo Gallinari, and Nicolas Batum pursued jobs overseas, signing opt-outable contracts in case of the NBA coming back. Others who decided to stay in the States participated in players-organized games as a way of making some money while the lockout was still going on.
At the time, Charlotte’s Corey Maggette was with a group of investors in Denver, trying to set up a star-filled NBA lockout game. After getting Kevin Durant on board, Five-Oh was asked to persuade Kobe to participate as well. Encircled with a group of millionaires, Corey dialed Bryant’s number.
I said, ‘hey Kobe, I’m here with some investors, and they want to know if you can play in one of the games, and they want to know if you’re charged a $100,000 or something to do this.’ I put Kobe on speaker, and he’s like ‘if you want me to play, it’s going to cost $500,000. Now, if you want the Mamba cape to come out and play, it’s going to cost you a cool million.’Corey Maggette, Legends of Sport
Maggette has said it himself, ‘that was one of the funniest response ever.’ But it was also an embarrassment. Corey was sitting with guys who were trying to put something together, and then Kobe is asking for a million dollars to almost do a charity game. And if you think he was joking, you’re wrong.
I put the phone on mute, and I’m like, ‘I think it was a joke.’ I take it off mute, and he said, ‘Corey, by the way, I’m not joking, so if you want the Mamba cape, it’s going to be a cool million.’Corey Maggette, Legends of Sport
The game itself never took place. I guess a million for the Mamba cape was too much. Too bad. The one’s who paid for it got their money’s worth. Like Kobe’s legendary lockout performance on James Harden. Can you really put a price on something like that?
You can. Half a million for a regular Kobe Bryant, and a cool million for the Mamba cape edition.