This past week Jeremy Lin joined Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the ‘All The Smoke’ podcast and dropped a number of interesting tidbits.
The one that stood out most? He and Kobe Bryant didn’t speak for four months when they were teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2014-15 season.
“At that time [Kobe] was coming back from injuries and he was also going through some injures,” he said.
“He was 35-year-old Kobe with a 25-year-old Kobe mind and so he had it in him that he wanted to prove to the world, all the reporters that said he couldn’t come back from his Achilles or other injuries … He had this intense level of ‘I’m gonna prove you wrong’ to reporters.
“There were games where he would shoot 45 shots and it got to a point where he had shot us out of the game and again [Kobe] was at a point where he was going through so many tough injuries at an age where his body couldn’t keep up with the demands … that’s where me and the rest of the team had different thoughts.
“I remember I would go head to head with him, because he doesn’t sleep, like he slept 2 or 3 hours a night, and I would be up because we would lose. And when we lose I would be up at 3, 4 watching film. We would be texting at 3 or 4 in the morning, arguing with each other, conflicting with each other,” he continued.
“It got to the point, I told him, this is how it started, ‘Look, you’re Kobe, I’m coming in trying to learn from you. I’m ok with anything as long as you talk to me like a man in terms of don’t talk down to me like a boy talk to me like a man and respect me.’ And then, [Kobe] has always said ‘Everyone just says what I want them to say, it’s very rare that someone actually stands up to me.’
“And so for me in that situation as we were going back and forth I finally had enough, that’s why I waved him off that one time, too, cuz, you know I’ve seen… I don’t wanna go back down that path again we gotta get something else going we gotta get some ball movement, but basically like after that text message conversation we didn’t speak for the last 4 months of the season.”
Over the past few weeks, in large part due to Bryant’s induction into the Hall of Fame, fans have been regaled non-stop with stories about him.
Some of the stuff has been funny, like when he revealed who’d win a 1-on-1 battle between him and LeBron James and his 2008 Olympic war tales.
Some of it has been sad, like when Michael Jordan showed his final text exchange with Bryant or Pau Gasol opened up about the two sides of his good friend.
But in all scenarios, regardless of how everyone ultimately feels afterward – learning about Bryant is always a pleasure. He was a basketball genius and an icon of the game, and the more people know about him, the more it preserves his memory.