In honor of Kobe Bryant posthumously being inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, LA Clippers Head Coach Tyronn Lue shared one his favorite Kobe Bryant memories.
Lue played with Bryant from 1998 to 2001, and the two won back-to-back titles together. When asked about his fondest Bryant memory, Lue recalled two games against the Sacramento Kings.
The first was a game in which Bryant struggled. In the locker room afterwards, Lue remembers Head Coach Phil Jackson giving Bryant grief, telling him that he can’t mess around against Kings shooting guard Doug Christie, as he was one of the best perimeter defenders in the league.
Apparently, that was all Bryant needed for motivation.
To put in Michael Jordan terms (which would be extremely appropriate, considering Jordan will be the one inducting Bryant into the Hall of Fame on Saturday): Bryant took that personally. It’s a classic strategy from the all-time greats—they find something that frustrates them, whether it be a coach’s comment or an opposing player’s taunt, and repurpose it as fuel.
It’s unclear which games Lue is remembering, but a quick dive down Bryant’s game log would suggest the 42-point, 17-rebound game took place on May 13, 2001 (twenty years and one day before Lue shared this memory). It was actually a 48-point, 16-rebound game, in which Bryant played all 48 minutes. It was during the second round of the 2001 playoffs, in a series that the Lakers would go on to sweep (they only lost one game in that entire championship run).
Congratulations to the Bryant family on his induction. Here’s hoping we’ll continue to hear memories like these, from those that knew Bryant best, for years to come.