J.R. Rider made a guest appearance on All The Smoke podcast, where he talked about his time with the Los Angeles Lakers during the season 2000/01. After establishing himself as a prominent scorer in the NBA, playing for the Timberwolves and the Blazers, Rider joined the Lakers and accepted the role of coming from the bench, mostly as Kobe Bryant’s replacement. Rider took the time to brag about his accomplishments and said how he used to beat Eddie Jones regularly when playing against the Lakers, calling him a fake all-star. On the other hand, he described Bryant as a young rising star wanting to prove himself daily, which he noticed even before he joined him with the Lakers.
“Eddie Jones was starting before Kobe at that time. He was an All-Star, a fake All-Star, but still an All-Star. I just remember Kobe being like a young lion. You know how young lions hunt. Go out there and get me a kill, just put me in the game coach. He was over there, hungry. I saw it in his eyes. I used to kill Eddie Jones, like really serve that guy, real talk.”
When Rider joined the Lakers, he came in to practice out of shape and not spending much time playing basketball. Other things were on his priority list during the off-season, and it seemed Kobe knew that so he immediately challenged him to a one-on-one after practice.
“I go to the Lakers next season, and Kobe tells me the first day of training camp that he wants to go one-on-one with me after practice on the first day. I told him to hold on. I was jet skiing, listening to Bob Marley, so I have to blow this out, man. Give me about a week or two to get back in shape.”
Rider admits Kobe gave him serious problems, and how he didn’t stand a chance playing against a guy who loved toying with his opponents, especially in one-on-one situations. Rider told Kobe it would be different when he gets back to shape because he was made about the fact a 21-year-old just completely humiliated him in practice in front of all the players and the coaching staff.
“We went right to the court, and yeah, he handled his business. I was out of shape, and I couldn’t make any excuse there. He handled his business. I told him when I get in shape; we’ll run this back. Come back the next day in practice, I was mad I can’t lie, and Kobe told Phil that he wanted me to guard me in practice the entire year.”