Last month we were treated to an amusing story by former Laker Samaki Walker about him getting sucker punched by Kobe over a $100. This month, Cavs coach and former teammate of Walker and Kobe, Tyronn Lue, shared a story about the time he blocked Kobe’s dunk….hold up! I’m having a hard time believing 6’0 Tyronn Lue rejected a dunk by a young Kobe Bryant! Anyways, so Lue supposedly blocked a dunk by Kobe, which pissed off Bryant so much that he wanted to fight Lue and then play him 1-on-1!
We’re playing 5-on-5 one day and it was the gold team against the white team. It was myself, Devean George, Brian Shaw, Mark Madsen and I want to say Slava Medvedenko, playing against the first unit — against Fish (Derek Fisher), Kob’, Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal).
Long story short is, it was a game point and [Bryant] drove baseline and I was at the elbow. And he drove baseline and I went down the lane and I pinned his dunk against the glass. He tried to dunk it and I blocked it against the glass. We came down, Devean George made a layup for game and Brian Shaw went, ‘Ahhh, he blocked you!’ He went crazy. Kobe wanted to fight me at first and then, second, he wanted to play one-on-one after practice.
‘We going to play one-on-one, me and you.’ I said, ‘No, I’m not playing you one-on-one.’ He was so mad and then, after that, it was just, every day we stepped onto the court, he just went after me every single day. It was crazy. And then, like other stories, just playing one-on-one every day, every time we acquired a new guy, he would play those guys one-on-one after every practice just to show them, like, ‘I’m the man, I’m the man.’ Did the same thing with Glen Rice. Just his competitive nature, man, it was just unbelievable.
Some might take stories like this one, and the one from Walker, and Kwame Brown, Smush Parker, one of many by Shaq or…you get the point, and think Kobe was an awful teammate, but Lue also had some nice things to say about Kobe and what makes him such a great teammate – besides the fact that he increased your chances of winning a championship.
“You talk to Kobe when you get a chance, but you don’t want to wear your relationship out with him,” Lue said. “Whenever I see him, whenever I call him or need to talk to him, he’s always there. He always picks up and I know [Wednesday] he’ll come over probably give me a hug before the game and talk to me say congratulations … [It’s] such a great bond that I have with him, playing in L.A. for three years, winning two championships. It’s just a bond that can’t be broken.”