Kobe Bryant is by far the most ruthlessly competitive teammate you could have had. Just ask Sasha Vujacic. For six years and two championship runs, Sasha Vujacic was a reserve on the Los Angeles Lakers, primarily as an end of the rotation player who could play either guard position and affect the game with his shooting stroke.
The story of MJ and Kobe’s career path comparison has been documented many times before. Jordan told Kobe, “If you ever need anything, give me a call,” after a game on December 1997, and Kobe took him up on that offer early and often.
Kobe talked to MJ about everything from figuring out the best release point on a fadeaway shot to guarding taller players in the post, but there was one exciting phone call in particular. Kobe turned to MJ for advice on dealing with his teammates, in particular how to handle an upset Sasha Vujacic.
During the 2004-05 NBA season, in the middle of a practice, Kobe elbowed fellow Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic and made him cry. After the workout ended, Kobe called Jordan and asked if he thought he had gone too far. Here is what Kobe and Jordan had to say about the situation.
Bryant comes to crave his talks with Abdul-Jabbar, whose reputation for being unapproachable is hardly a thing to stop Bryant. “
So Kareem is aloof. And Michael is supposed to be an a**hole because he made Steve Kerr cry. Doesn’t matter to me. I made people cry too. Sometimes you have to be an a–hole,” says Jordan today when asked about that conversation. “Sometimes, your teammates are going to hate you, but all the guys I went after — Luc Longley, Steve Kerr, Jud Buechler — they won multiple championships, so I’m pretty sure they understand.”