One of the things that marked Kobe Bryant’s career apart from being one of the greatest guards in league history was his competitiveness, which often affected the relationship he has with his teammates. Several cases throughout his career proved he was a hard case when it came to trusting his teammates. Building a relationship with his teammates was something he had to learn throughout his career.
In an interview for the Habershow, Brian Shaw, who worked for the Lakers as their assistant coach, shared a story when Kobe deliberately took 47 shots in a game. Shaw said the main reason behind Kobe’s decision to take all those shots was the fact he didn’t believe his teammates were capable of helping the team win. In that specific game, the Lakers were without Shaquille O’Neal, so Kobe took upon himself to lead the team to a victory. However, he miserably failed, and in front of the reporters said he had better chances of making the shot one on five rather than passing it to an open teammate.
“I told you earlier that I’m a straight shooter. I tell it like it is. I had to get in Kobe’s face and let him know during a time when he didn’t pass the ball. One particular game we were playing in Boston, Shaq was injured, and Kobe shot 47 shots in that game. He went 17 for 47. He missed 30 shots. He didn’t take 30, he missed 30. After the game, the reporters come into the locker room, and they asked Kobe did he feel like he needed to take that volume of shots to make up for the points with Shaq being out? Kobe looked right into the guys eyes who asked the question and said, “No.” “I felt like I had a better chance of making the shot one on five as opposed if my teammates were wide open. And he didn’t crack a smile, he said that with a straight face. And it played everywhere that he said that.
Phil Jackson immediately reacted to the situation and challenged Kobe in front of his teammates by asking them how do they feel about it. Most of them were furious with Rick Fox getting extremely emotional about it by asking Kobe does he even care what his teammates think and how they feel after those statements he made. Kobe, in his demeanor, shocked everyone and said he doesn’t care, and that is how he feels.
“We get to practice the next day, and Phil Jackson turns on the interview as part of the film session and asks, “how do you guys feel about what your teammates said about you?” And Rick Fox got emotional, and he said “how do you think that makes us feel?” Kobe looked at Rick and said “You can get mad all you want, this is how I really feel!” It was those types of times where I had to get at Kobe.”
Shaw said he had to take upon the assignment of reaching out to Kobe and explaining that this type of behavior is deadly for teams that want to win a championship. Kobe eventually changed and matured, which helped him understand his teammates better and build chemistry within teams that were successful and finally won championships. However, it was evident that was the hardest thing for him in his long and illustrious career, simply because his ego sometimes got the best of him in those situations.