Former NBA player Ronnie Brewer made a guest appearance on the Vintage Ballers podcast, where he remembered one of the most iconic moments from his rookie season with the Utah Jazz. They were playing the Lakers in Staples Center, and it was the game in which the late great Kobe Bryant poured in 52 points against the Jazz. Interestingly enough, what makes that game so memorable is the fact Kobe had a quarter in which he scored 30 points alone, which was something Brewer never seen before in his life.
On top of having a tremendous quarter in which he was destroying one Jazz defender after the other, the late great Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan got in a bit of a trash-talking with Kobe. If you know anything about coach Sloan, you know he was that old-school type of coach, with a lof passion and never afraid to show what he thinks. Brewer and the rest of the guys were so fascinated by Kobe that quarter they didn’t want to be apart of the show.
During that game, Kobe is giving some lip service to coach Sloan. Kobe Bryant goes, ‘you might need to put some of the young guys in,’ and he is saying that running down after he hits the shot. We’re all looking at the bench like don’t put us in. He is not cooking; he is well done. There is nothing anybody can do defensively.Ronnie Brewer, via Vintage Ballers
Brewer, a rookie at that time with the Jazz played on limited minutes, remembers a moment in the locker room in interaction with coach Sloan and the rest of the team. Sloan was so infuriated with the way his team was playing he asked every player on the team if they were afraid of Kobe Bryant.
Coach Sloan throws his jacked off, unlooses his tie, and says ‘everybody is scared of Kobe Bryant, and if anybody is scared, please speak up. Nobody says anything, so he goes down to every player, saying, ‘you are scared of him, you are scared of him, you are scared of him. And he comes to me, and I said I’m not scared of Kobe, but I respect him. I only fear God.Ronnie Brewer, via Vintage Ballers
He gave the right answer because Sloan decided to provide him with an opportunity in the next quarter as a starting guard, exclusively dedicated to slow down Kobe. At first, he wasn’t sure what he was getting himself into, and neither were his teammates, but he was able to do his role and play relatively solid defense on Bryant for the remainder of the game.
Am I going to play hard against him? Give me the opportunity, and he said, you are starting. I was like, oh s**t what? Me, Paul, and D-Brown are sitting there, and they look at me like, do you know what you got yourself into. I literally said to them,I can’t do any worse if he scored 30 points in one quarter. I’ve seen him score 81 points. I was just playing hard, contesting shots, and he missed a couple of shots and, because of that, earned me some more minutes.Ronnie Brewer, via Vintage Ballers
Even though Kobe had many scoring outbursts like the one against Jazz, it’s still a fantastic game nevertheless. Scoring 52 points in 34 minutes on 73 percent from the field is pretty remarkable. If you watched the game or highlights of that performance, you’d see the degree of difficulty he was making them, often over two or three defenders. That type of performance was why Sloan was absolutely mad even though Jazz players were trying their best, but Kobe was having one of those nights when the basket seems like an ocean, and you can’t miss.