In his waning years and through retirement, Kobe Bryant has tried to pass his “Mamba mentality” on to the next generation of NBA stars. For his Los Angeles Lakers teammates in the last few seasons of his illustrious career, that meant a never-ending earful of trash talk in practice.
In video uncovered by Lakers Nation, we see that while the Mamba’s bite weakened on the backside of his playing days, his bark (hiss?) showed no such deterioration.
Here’s Kobe trash-talking Jeremy Lin at practice sometime during the 2014-15 season, forcing the point guard into a brick on a pull-up contested three. (Scroll down to see the full video.)
Despite Kobe trash-talking him and every other Laker in practice, this is more of an indictment on how he pushed his teammates, rather than on his relationship with Lin; the two are apparently fond of one another.
“When I signed [with the Lakers], right from the start [Kobe] was trying to get me to work out with him and then he’s been teaching me and teaching me,” Lin said in 2014. “… At this stage in his career, he’s definitely been taking me under his wing and really just trying to teach me as much as he can.”
Bryant—who saw his numbers get retired at Staples Center on Monday night—first familiarized himself with Lin on February 10, 2012, when the point guard outdueled the Lakers legend at the height of Linsanity. Lin put up 38 points on 13-of-23 shooting to go with seven assists and two steals in the New York Knicks’ 92-85 win. Kobe shot 11-of-29 for 34 points and 10 rebounds.
“The biggest thing to me is how everybody missed it,” Bryant said two weeks after getting an up-close view of Lin’s career high (which he’s since matched once). “They all would be fired if I was owning a team. I hear this stuff, ‘It came out of nowhere.’ I think it’s a load of [garbage]. You can’t play that well and just come out of nowhere. There has to be something there and everybody missed it. So heads would roll [if I was owner].”