Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson had their good times and bad times, but ultimately they were able to come together to bring the Los Angeles Lakers five NBA Championships.
One of the biggest points of contention between the two came after Jackson had left the Lakers in 2004. In his book, The Last Season, Jackson criticized Kobe, calling him un-coachable and revealing that he told the Lakers to trade him away.
Jackson and Kobe were obviously able to put their differences aside, and now looking back on it in an interview with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Kobe agrees that he is un-coachable:
There’s no smirk as he says this. “Do you think he was trying to control you?”
“Yeah,” Kobe says. “Because that’s his job as a coach. To try and manage a team.”
He’s left an opening. “So what you’re saying is that nobody can control you.”
“Well, no,” he says. “Thinking about it now. Yes, I am un-coachable, because you don’t have to manage me.”
Kobe did note that he and Jackson’s relationship now is great and that he learned a lot from Phil, particularly about staying in the moment. Kobe also said that he took Jackson’s advice on dealing with the farewell tour this season.
Kobe is one of the most headstrong and confident players the NBA has ever seen, and that is what made him one of the greatest players ever, but is also exactly what made him difficult to deal with. Thankfully, Jackson is arguably the greatest coach of all-time for a reason, and those two together brought the Lakers a sustained run of greatness that will never be forgotten.