The Los Angeles Lakers are arguably the most famous basketball team in the game’s history. This is why a wide array of journeymen grew quite a fan base when they played for the “Purple and Gold.”
However, not everyone that represented the renowned franchise became notable because of their contribution inside the court. Some are remembered by the Lakers faithful because they were always brimming with energy even when just spending most of the season on the sidelines. Among them was former Lakers backup center, Robert Sacre.
Friendly competition with Kobe
Sacre only played four seasons with the Lakers and logged just 14.5 minutes per game. Evidently, he didn’t make much of an impact, but fans adored him because, as unusual as it sounds, the seven-footer managed to always electrify his teammates and the crowd while on the bench.
Apart from being a ball of energy, Sacre was also an underrated trash-talker. In fact, he never feared anybody, including the late Lakers legend himself, Kobe Bryant.
“For practice, I’d be like, ‘Man, I never want to be on your team because it’s bittersweet to beat you on the other team,’” Sacre told Krem of his competitive practice sessions with Bryant last year. “That’s my favorite part. We always keep tallies of who would win, me and him. I’d talk crazy smack to him, like how old he was and whatnot. You can ask any of my teammates. I’m not afraid to say what’s on my mind so I definitely told him how I felt.”
Sacre couldn’t put into words how Mamba impacted him
Like most of us, Sacre couldn’t believe at first that Bryant, whom he referred to as one of his “heroes,” was already gone. And despite only witnessing the twilight years of “Black Mamba” in the league, Sacre still feels blessed to have been influenced by Bryant that he couldn’t even describe it.
“I couldn’t believe that I got to play with one of my heroes,” he admitted. “I collected basketball cards, and I had his rookie card and everything. I couldn’t believe then, like, ‘Wow, I get to play with the guy I looked up to’. Super blessed to say that I was able to play with this man and have an opportunity to be in his aura. I can’t describe it. You just got to be around it to know what it was. He’s influenced so many people in this world throughout all the continents. He’s left something in everybody’s heart. It’s beautiful to see what one man can do to the world.”
Bryant and Sacre weren’t really the best of friends. However, their relationship proves that four years were enough for an incredible player like “Black Mamba” to leave his mark on a teammate regardless of his role in the team.