Kobe Bryant wants the ball. This is not a surprise to anyone who has followed the NBA over the course of his legendary career, but as a young player he was not in as strong a position to demand the rock, so he resorted to other measure to make sure he was getting enough touches.
When Shaquille O’Neal was out with a toe injury during the 2002–03 season, Bryant was trusted with a larger load on offense, and to make sure it stayed that way, he cut a deal with some of his teammates.
Robert Horry said Kobe told teammates when Shaq was injured in 02-03 season that he'd give his teammates Adidas gear if he kept getting ball— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) March 30, 2016
Although the other Lakers felt they held up their end of the bargain, Robert Horry said he never did get any stuff from Bryant’s then sponsor Adidas.
Horry said Kobe still hasn't given teammates gear. Kobe said he doesn't owe anything since he switched to Nike— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) March 30, 2016
The days of begging for the ball are far in Kobe’s past now, although he has been handing out some swag in the form of autographed shoes and jerseys to his opponents as he completes his final season in the NBA.