Skip to main content

Gary Payton details what made Kobe Bryant different from others


Losing the 2003 Finals and stopping the three-year streak of championships for the Los Angeles Lakers resulted in them forming one of the best collections of talent the NBA has ever seen - at least on paper. Karl Malone and Gary Payton joined the infamous duo of Shaq & Kobe in hopes of bringing the Lakers back to glory and the new veteran duo their first championship. Even though they were at the very end of their career, both Malone and Payton could still contribute with their experience, especially when it came down to passing down their knowledge to the younger superstars.

That dynamic was especially felt between Kobe and Payton, as GP became a mentor to "The Mamba." With both of them playing the guard positions, Payton could give Kobe many tips and tricks Payton used during his great run in the '90s. Payton, known for his trash-talking and defense, helped Bryant improve vastly on the defensive end, helping him earn All-NBA First Defensive Team honors. Outside the floor, GP was also a massive supporter of Kobe as a person, helping him get through the Colorado case, one of the most challenging times of Kobe's career. The Glove was a guest on the "All The Smoke" podcast last year, where he shared what made Kobe different from all the other players he encountered during his career:

"Kobe was just a little different. He didn't have no ego. He did have an ego, but I'm saying an ego in asking OG's what to do. And how to become better. And when he approached me at the All-Star Game and asked me how to make First Team All-Defense and I sat there at center court and taught him a lot of things and he made the First Team All-Defense with me that year, I said this kid has a lot of different things in him, a different mentality,"

Gary Payton, All The Smoke

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

No matter how good Kobe was, he didn't shy away from asking for advice from older players. It showed he knew he could improve on various aspects of his game no matter how old or established he was. That hunger and willingness for perfection are precisely what made Kobe the icon in the NBA world he is. One of the greatest players ever with one of the best work ethics in the history of sports.

How Ronny Turiaf overcame open heart surgery to get on the court for the Los Angeles Lakers

“They are gonna have to f***ing kill me” - How Ronny Turiaf overcame open heart surgery to get on the court for the Los Angeles Lakers

Turiaf’s physical showed that he needed to have open-heart surgery, and despite being told his career may be over, Turiaf battled and eventually made his way back on the court


Shawn Kemp on why he left the Sonics: 'They weren’t going to pay me $100 million'

In 1997, Shawn Kemp left the Sonics because he felt that he deserves to be paid more. He got the deal he wanted with the Cavs but he eventually lost his desire to play.


Glen Rice lauds a Filipino basketball legend: 'He’s up there...You talk about the Larry Birds, Glen Rices, Steph Currys'

Filipino basketball legend Allan Caidic nailed 14 three-pointers in a friendly game with Glen Rice in 2010. A decade later, "G Money" was still in awe of what he had witnessed from his fellow marksman


"I took it to another level!"-Shaquille O'Neal thinks he was better than Wilt and Kareem

Shaq took inspiration from the great big men and passed them over, in his opinion.

Looming NBA free agency market gave Kyrie Irving a reality check

Kyrie Irving had a reality check with the market

This all relates to the fundamental Kyrie Irving problem; he is unreliable, he doesn't seem fun to play with, and he has a history of bailing on teams. This was simply a reality check for the man operating outside reality.

Draymond Green calls out Skip Bayless in the latest "new media" rant

“People don’t wanna hear that old, dried up, tired stuff that you talking about” -- Draymond Green rips Skip Bayless

The idea of Draymond Green's "new media" movement is to lessen the power of the Steven A. Smiths and Skip Baylesses of the world

Draymond Green admits GSW wouldn’t have won in titles without Kevin Durant

Draymond Green admits GSW wouldn’t have won titles without Kevin Durant: "We would not have beat the Cavs without Kevin”

Draymond Green admits the Golden State Warriors needed Kevin Durant to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017 and 2018.