Trade deadlines are always an exciting period in the NBA for the fans who closely observe all their teams’ moves to improve their respective roster. On the other hand, many players are under pressure because they know they can be traded easily to another team for various reasons, and we’ve seen multiple times there isn’t much loyalty in the NBA, it’s strictly business and making the best business decisions for the franchise.
In light of the recent events in the NBA, we take a trip down memory lane when the late great Kobe Bryant went to Lakers practice the day before the 2015 deadline while recovering from an injury. The Lakers were one of the worst teams in the NBA at that time, and Kobe was frustrated with seeing his teammates not putting up the effort necessary to win games. Jeremy Lin, a member of the Lakers, remembers a specific situation when Kobe arrived at the practice facility and blatantly said he came to say goodbye to all the players who were finally getting traded.
He comes in, sweatsuit [on], he has a sling around for his hurt shoulder, he has his shades on, his Kobe shades. And he walks in, and everyone’s like, ‘Ohhhh’ and Booz, Carlos Boozer, is like ‘Kob! Good to see you bro! Dang, we haven’t seen you in a bit, how come you came today?’ And he was just stone-faced, and he was like, ‘I just came by to say bye to some of you bums who are going to get traded tomorrow.’ [laughs] And then he sits down at the table where you control the scoreboard at the practice facility, and he said a couple of words to the coach, and then he left. And I remember one of my teammates was just like, ‘I lost all motivation to practice.Jeremy Lin, via Danny Green x Inside the Green Room
Bryant was always a fierce competitor who hated losing games, despite knowing the talent that surrounded him wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs, let alone win a championship. That Lakers squad at the time was pretty horrible, and Kobe didn’t like the approach or the mindset that some of the guys on the team had towards winning or, in this specific case losing one game after the other. You might think that statement by Kobe was ruthless and how he wasn’t a great teammate, but he always had the bar raised high first for himself and then others on his team.
Throughout his career, Kobe frequently challenged his teammates to perform better no matter who it was. He often got into arguments with Shaquille O’Neal, one of the most dominant players in NBA history, simply because he wasn’t staying in shape. Kobe had no filter and always spoke his mind because winning was all that mattered to him during his entire 20-year-long career.