During the 2011-2012 season, Ettore Messina, one of the most famous European coaches at the time, decided to join the Los Angeles Lakers as a full-time consultant to the head coach, Mike Brown.
Several years ago, at a basketball coaching conference in Europe, Ettore talked about his Los Angeles experience and the challenges he faced that year, especially with Kobe Bryant:
The other day I was on the phone with the Lakers staff, asking advice on where I should get a house,” said Messina. “I was told some people prefer living close to the practice facilities; others, like Kobe, live further away. Sometimes, in order not to challenge the incredible L.A. traffic, Kobe even comes to practice by helicopter.
At that point I thought: ‘This guy makes $25 million and comes to practice by helicopter – What am I supposed to say to him? “Down with that ass, bend your knees”?
How do you even get through to a guy like that? What do you say to someone who flies a helicopter every day to come to practice?
Ultimately, it was Kobe’s team, and Kobe could do whatever Kobe wanted to do. However, when you give Kobe’s decision a bit more thought, it makes a lot of sense and it’s a huge time-saver. Just imagine how many hours he’d spend in L.A. traffic every week. Kobe’s reasoning was: why not better utilize this time in the gym?