Skip to main content

Kobe Bryant would drink with his teammates but expect them in the gym the following day

Kobe Bryant spent 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, and share the locker room with various teammates with different types of personalities. He had to learn from an early age how to lead his teammates in different ways.

When he entered the NBA and was drafted by the Lakers, Shaquille O'Neal was at that time the team's leader both on and off the court. That was slowly but surely changing during their 2000-02 championships run when Kobe took a major role in the team's success.

After Shaquille's departure in 2004, Kobe became the leader of a Laker team which was no longer competing for a championship and was eliminated twice in the first round of the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns. This was a learning experience for Kobe Bryant who figured out how to approach his teammates and eventually won two championships in three consecutive NBA Finals appearances.

Bryant believes it's not just passing the ball to his teammates in order to get the best out of them. In an interview with Lewis Howes he said he worked to accomplish that by joining them in various social gatherings. This also meant that they would have to meet the requirements which were set quite high by Kobe Bryant himself.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

“When I played, one of the things I had to learn was how to get the best out of my teammates. Most people think it’s a simple thing: pass them the ball. But that’s not how you make guys better. You have to really affect their behavior. Like, I would tell guys if we had back-to-backs, ‘I don’t care if we’re in Miami. I don’t care if we’re in a great city of Chicago, you can’t go out. Gotta get rest.’ But guys aren’t going to listen, right? So a few times I said, ‘We’ll all go out. We’ll go out together. I’ll drink with you.’ But the next morning, I’m banging on your door at five in the morning. ‘Let’s go!’ ‘Where we going?’ ‘I hung out with you, now you come hang out with me. This is what we do. Let’s go.’ And they’re at the gym, we’re working out, we hit the bus, we go to practice, we play that night. And they’re dead and like, ‘Lesson learned.’ Listen, if you’re going to do that, do that. But don’t let that comprise what we’re here to do. So you’ve got to show them, ‘Kob’ can do that and still has the energy to get up and do this. So either I got to meet that same energy or I gotta keep my butt in my room.’ … I think you have to listen and you have to pay attention to what your colleagues or teammates are saying. What are certain things that drive them? Certain things that motivate them, that trigger them.”

NBA fans could see Kobe's transformation as a leader throughout his career from being the youngest player in his team to 2016 when he was the oldest player on the roster. Kobe realized in order to win championships, he would have to focus to ensure that his teammates are well-prepared for the long season but also the playoffs.

Natural born leaders have this characteristic and we can definitely say Kobe Bryant found the right way to motivate his teammates into giving the best results in order to be successful.

Stephon Marbury as a member of the New Jersey Nets in 2000

"They picked the wrong coach at the time" - Stephon Marbury on why the 2004 USA Olympic Team failed terribly

It is unknown if Starbury and Brown ever ended their feud which began at the 2004 Olympics.

Philadelphia 76ers center Moses Malone and center Darryl Dawkins

“Moses Malone did help me make up my mind” — why Darryl Dawkins jumped straight from high school to the NBA

Darryl Dawkins was inspired and motivated by how Moses Malone quickly hit his stride in the pros despite coming straight out of high school.

Dennis Rodman is honored during halftime as an NBA 75th anniversary team member at the 2022 NBA All-Star Game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

How Dennis Rodman became successful in marketing the bad boy image in the NBA

Dennis Rodman didn't try to tame his wild side and instead use it to market himself as a bad boy in the NBA.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

Did you know: Giannis Antetokounmpo’s name was shorter before he made the NBA

Giannis Antetokounmpo's surname used to be different and it was altered according to the Greek alphabet.

Will Smith & Michael Jordan

Will Smith begged Michael Jordan to let him be the first person to wear the new Jordans on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Smith says he called Jordan and pleaded with him to give him the first pair of his newest shoes, but Jordan shut him down by saying that he isn't in control of who gets the first pair

Luka Doncic

Dallas Mavericks GM Nico Harrison offers a blunt take on Luka Doncic’s excessive workload - “There’s games he should be on the bench”

Harrison believes that there should be games that Doncic doesn't have to play as much in, and that things will even out as the season progresses

Wilt Chamberlain & Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will never forget his first encounter with Wilt Chamberlain - "I felt tiny next to him, and that was not a feeling I was used to"

Kareem explains how impactful his first meeting with Wilt was because of an unusual compliment he received from him

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie LeBron James

“From Day One, I knew he was going to be a guy I would always be with” — LeBron James on the veteran who taught him the ropes with the Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cleveland Cavaliers coordinated with LeBron James so that he could attend his good friend's retirement ceremony.