Storytime: Samaki Walker Talks About The Time Kobe Bryant Sucker Punched Him Over $100
Ask most Lakers fanatics about a memorable shot from Samaki Walker in 2002 and they will bring up the 3-pointer in Game 4 of the WCF. Don’t remember it? I bet the Kings do! Anyways, Walker was a guest on Brown and Scoop on CBS Radio and talked about another memorable shot from 2002. A shot none of us knew about for the past 14 years but surely will be talking about it for the next 24 hours.
Walker says Kobe had won a half-court shot game the team often played — where everyone throws a $100 in the pot — and the person who hits the shot collects.
Walker told Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson and Jake Brown that Kobe confronted him on the team bus and hit him up for the cash … and when Walker told him he’d pay him later, Kobe unleashed the fist.
“It was a sucker punch. Right to the face,” Walker said … “Out of nowhere. I’m sitting down on the bus and I said this man is crazy.”
Eventually, Walker says Shaq’s bodyguard, Jerome, got Kobe to apologize … but it’s clear, he’s still pissed about it.
Wow! And we thought Bryant, who was drafted after Walker in the 1996 draft, took it too far with Kwame Brown, Smush Parker and the “European Kid.” If you don’t know the story about the “European Kid,” here’s what Kobe had to say during a 2015 interview, at the BET Experience event, when asked “what’s the worst thing he’s ever said to a teammate.”
“Oh, Jesus, let me think,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not sure if the fact that I’m thinking about the worst things that I’ve said really means that I haven’t said that many, or maybe I’ve said too many. I’m scrolling through them [in my mind]. I’m like on iPod shuffle.
“There are certain players that I’ve made cry,” Bryant said. “If I can make you cry by being sarcastic, then I really don’t want to play with you in the playoffs if that’s making you cry.
“But let me see. There was one teammate that was just so bad. He was so bad. It wasn’t Kwame [Brown]. Kwame wasn’t actually that bad. I tease Kwame. It wasn’t Smush [Parker]. It was a player that you guys won’t even remember if I said who his name was. I can’t even pronounce his name. It was some European kid.
“But he was really, really bad. I said, ‘Dude, you might want to reconsider what your life purpose is. Maybe it’s not this.’ It came out that way. I was like, maybe 20-something years old, I don’t know, really young.
Speaking of punches, a young Kobe and teammates during the Lakers 3-Peat era, I’m not allowed to share a lot of stories I have from this time, but catch any teammate of Bryant back then, on the right day, and you will get some really juicy and amusing stories like the one Walker told.
So what is the former lottery pick and champion up to nowadays? Here’s an great read in Vanity Fair about him playing basketball in Pre-Civil War Syria!