Former NBA player and NCAA superstar Adam Morrison stayed out of the spotlight after his basketball career was over with only a few interviews here and there. He recently had an interview for Yahoo Sports, in which he reflected on his time with the Lakers and his relationship with Kobe Bryant. When Morrison came to the NBA from Gonzaga, there was a lot of hype around him because of his notable college career in which he established himself as a legitimate scoring machine. Injuries and inability to fully adapt to the playing style in the NBA were the main reasons he never had the career many predicted he would have.
Despite his early struggles into his NBA journey, in 2009, the Lakers traded Vladimir Radmanovic to Charlotte for him and Shannon Brown. He joined a Lakers squad that was aiming for a championship, and he eventually won two titles with them and made a friend along the way in Kobe Bryant.
Even though we’ve heard numerous stories about Kobe’s great competitiveness and work ethic, Morrison believes what truly separates him apart is that he was always looking for a way to get better. Morrison argues that the majority of players that come to the league are usually a finished product with only a small room for improvement on their craft. On the other hand, Kobe proved to Morrison that is not the case as he looked to improve in every aspect possible to get that extra edge. Morrison remembers Kobe would play through different injuries all the time, which is something not many are willing to go through.
You’ve been around great players if you get to the level I have, and you make connections with people. Kobe was one of those special guys that was a self-made player. Kobe was literally a self-made player, and that is what I always respected about him the most. What I mean by that is that when you get to the league, you are really trying to squeeze out 2-5 percent out of yourself. You are already really good, and you are trying to squeze out 2-5 percent. He was always trying to do that, and he was always trying to get better. Just his competitiveness; I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve seen him role his ankle, break his finger, separate his shoulder, so the toughness aspect in him was incredible.Adam Morrison, via Yahoo! Sports
Despite all the hype and the fame that followed Morrison when he came to the NBA, he was always extremely shy and never seemed to handle the media spotlight well. Playing for the Lakers, who are always in the headlines, didn’t help either, but Morrison remembers how Kobe helped him a lot when the media was criticizing him. Kobe was always critical of his teammates when he thought they were not performing at a level he wanted them to perform. With Morrison, he took a softer approach, and throughout those years, they built a friendship and mutual respect for each other.
For me personally, he was always good to me, he really was. On national media, he would always defend me, and he didn’t have to do it. He sent me a jersey one time that I still have, and that is special to me. He went out of his way to get it for me without me asking him. The last time I saw him was at his 60 point game. I got him a gift, and he said it was a great gift. I’ve chatted with him after the game, but it was just good to see him.Adam Morrison, via Yahoo! Sports