Kobe Bryant Literally Molded This Lakers' Team in his Hardworking ImagePeople often speak of someone "making his teammates better" but it is not clear what this actually means or how one would go about doing this in the first place. I have declared that instead of that vague phrase I prefer to say, "Great players create openings and opportunities for their lesser talented teammates to do what they do well." However, an excellent article by Kevin Ding discusses how Bryant literally made his teammates better by coaching them and even sharing with them detailed workout programs/practice regimens. Ding's article is not about Bryant drawing double teams and creating shot opportunities, though Bryant obviously does that on a regular basis; Ding reports that Trevor Ariza traces his dramatic improvement as a three point shooter directly to Bryant giving him a specific summer shooting program that Ariza treasured so much that he compared it to the Bible. Ariza told Ding, "Getting that from him? Kind of cool, kind of cool. Because before I got here, you always hear how he's this certain type of person. And when I got here, you realize he's not what everybody says he is. I just got in the gym every day and worked. I used what he told me, used some things that he gave me to do. And I just worked." Ding rightly notes that although Bryant has evolved and grown as a leader that it is "simplistic to say this is about trusting teammates. What must happen is ensuring your teammates are trustworthy."
Regular 20 Second Timeout readers may recall that I reported a similar story about Bryant regarding Andrew Bynum in the wake of a Lakers victory over the Pacers. Prior to that game, Bryant schooled Bynum about Jermaine O'Neal's pet moves and Bynum responded by blocking two of O'Neal's shots:
Basketball Clinic: Kobe Mentors Bynum, Lakers School Pacers
posted by David Friedman @ 6:55 AM