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Mark Madsen describes Kobe Bryant's intensity: "If you miss the third one, he was comin’ at you"

Kobe just wanted the bring the best out of his teammates -- including the journeymen
Mark Madsen on Kobe Bryant's intensity

Kobe Bryant in 2003

Over the years, we have heard a host of stories entailing how intense Kobe Bryant is, even during team practice sessions. And if some of you think that Kobe was only hard on his fellow key players, former Los Angeles Lakers journeyman Mark Madsen would tell you’re definitely wrong.

Kobe got no chill

Madsen played three seasons for the Lakers in the early 2000s and won two NBA titles with the team. It may sound impressive, but the sad part is, Madsen was just a backup big man for the “Purple and Gold.” In fact, the most active he has been as a Laker happened in the 2003/03 season, and he only averaged 14.5 minutes per game.

But for Bryant, regardless of what his teammate brings to the table, everybody must give it all they got, even in practice. Or else they will suffer the consequences. And Madsen had his fair share of those.

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“One thing I love about Kobe is Kobe is all about winning,” Madsen told Fair Game in 2019. “Winning at any level, and in practice, it was no different. If you missed a pass, he might give you one or two free ones… If you miss the third one, he was comin’ at you because he cared and he wanted to push you. He wanted to push the team to be its best.”

Hungover journeymen get a punishment

The Mamba Mentality epitomized next-level determination and focus. Kobe stuck to it his entire NBA career, and his teammates wouldn’t disagree with that.

As the leader of the pack, Bryant was well aware that he has to have zero tolerance for excuses or any sort of weaknesses. Luke Walton experienced it first-hand.

Like Madsen, Walton too was a Lakers journeyman. One time, he showed up in a team practice session hungover, and Kobe did not let it slide.

"I probably had too much to drink the night before,” Walton recalled. “So I came in, I was a rookie, I felt good, and they could smell some alcohol on me, and Kobe informed the rest of the team that nobody was allowed to help me on defense and that I had to guard him the entire practice… He probably scored 70-something in practice that day, and I'm begging for help, but none of my teammates would help. His killer instinct and his work ethic will stick with me forever."

Some may think that Kobe has gone overboard on his teammates, especially with the backups. But for Madsen and Walton, people who do not share the same mentality as the “Black Mamba” would never comprehend that Kobe believed and always wanted to bring the best out of them.


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