Kobe Bryant was one of the NBA’s all-time great competitors. He simply hated to lose, and that competitiveness played out in the form of his notorious trash talk. His Lakers teammates were often on the receiving end of that talk. In his last few years and through retirement, Kobe Bryant has tried to pass his “Mamba mentality” on to the next generation of NBA stars and especially his Lakers teammates.
During a practice from the 2014-15 season, Kobe was feeling a bit fired up. Bryant spent an entire defensive possession berating Jeremy Lin, forcing the point guard into a brick on a pull-up contested three. But Kobe wouldn’t stop talking. He would also get into it with Nick Young, going back in forth talking and guarding him. You could see that the young fellas weren’t comfortable.
“Soft like Charmin” he was continuously saying, alluding to the fact that the opposing team didn’t have enough fire in them. In the end, Kobe’s team won the scrimmage as he simply said: ” Get em off the court”. Nick Young didn’t take it very well.
Despite Kobe trash-talking Lin and every other Laker in practice, this was more of an indictment on how he pushed his teammates, rather than on his relationship with Lin; the two are apparently fond of one another. “When I signed [with the Lakers], right from the start [Kobe] was trying to get me to work out with him and then he’s been teaching me and teaching me,” Lin said in 2014. “… At this stage in his career, he’s definitely been taking me under his wing and really just trying to teach me as much as he can.”
Many would say he was too harsh on his own teammates, but you can’t argue that a player of that magnitude knew what he was doing. He wanted his teammates to respond and get them going, even in the cost of verbally assaulting them. He wasn’t afraid to do that and that’s why he remembered as one of the greatest.