With Kobe Bryant likely entering his final years as an NBA player, the time has come to think about what Bryant will do after he has finally played his last game. Bryant has already begun to look into different business ventures, but the game of basketball will forever be where his heart is.
Numerous players go into management or broadcasting once they are done in the league, but many others also try coaching. Lakers head coach Byron Scott is a former player, Larry Bird experienced great success, and arguably the greatest coach in NBA history, Phil Jackson is a former player.
The league is also full of former superstars who failed as a coach, with Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas chief among them.
Bryant has one of the brightest minds basketball has ever seen, but he is also one of the most competitive and impatient players in NBA history. It begs the question, would Kobe Bryant make a good NBA coach?
That is the question we asked our panel of experts. This is what they had to say:
Russell Valenzuela (@RussVal4): Despite being one the greatest ever to play the game, Kobe Bryant wouldn’t be able to successfully transfer his talents to the coaching world.
There are a couple of reasons why Bryant might be a good coach. For one, his basketball IQ is one of the highest in the league. He considers himself a student of the game and continually looks for ways to improve his game. Younger players would relish at the opportunity of being taught by him.
Bryant will undoubtedly push the team to compete hard, but unless he is given a deep and talented roster, he will likely be looking at coaching a team that will be piling up losses. With his ultra-competitive demeanor, any patience Bryant might have will only be tested.
Working against Bryant is that few superstars have been successful in their coaching careers. It’s going to be hard for him to relate to the average player, and when those losses occur, Bryant risks overworking and causing the team to distrust his ways.
He doesn’t accept failure, but will have to as a coach. Seems like Bryant knows it and will be invested in becoming a successful businessman over taking over a team’s bench.
Nathan Kim (@Kimchiz): Kobe Bryant has had great success as a player in the NBA. However, being a great player does not necessarily translate into being a great head coach. I don’t believe that Kobe would make a good head coach.
Kobe has attained great success in the league, primarily, by believing in his abilities. If the Lakers were down 10 in the 4th quarter, he put it on himself to will the team to victory. That’s what makes Kobe so great. It is also the reason behind a lot of the criticism that he’s received throughout his career.
Kobe’s talent lies in his individual ability as a player. It does not really lie in his ability to make his teammates better, like a LeBron James would. This is not to say that Kobe is a selfish player, who thinks more about himself than of the team. I’m just saying that what separates Kobe from the rest of the players in the league is his individual skill.
Kobe has always had the mentality of being the alpha dog on the team, the rest of the team had just better keep up with him. This kind of mentality is not what makes a great coach. A head coach is to instead coordinate the team in such a way as to utilize the strengths of each player to win games.
One example that proves my point is Magic Johnson during the 1993-1994 season. Johnson is regarded as one of the best Lakers ever. He is primarily responsible for bringing the “Showtime” era to Los Angeles. Unfortunately his success as a player did not convert into success during his team as a head coach. Granted, Magic only coached 16 games during the latter half of the season. Still, his record as a head coach stands as a great contradiction to the kind of player he was.
Great players do not necessarily make great head coaches, this includes Kobe Bryant.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): Over the last couple of years, Kobe Bryant has been asked on more than one occasion whether he’d like to give coaching a try once his playing days are over. Kobe never hesitates to shoot down any notion of him coaching in the future, but it may be an ideal fit for the superstar.
Although Kobe is adamant about not coaching, the five-time NBA champion has basketball IQ that is second to none in the NBA. Kobe has been praised for his knowledge of the game ever since his early years with the Los Angeles Lakers.
If anyone could be a great coach after retiring as a player, it would be Kobe. Despite that being the case, unless he has a change of heart in the future, the Lakers legend will likely stick to the business side of things much like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.
Kevin Chan (@Kevin_Cruiser): Early on in his career Kobe wasn’t known for being a team player. In fact he was probably as synonymous with ‘ball hog’ as Allen Iverson. He learned to play with Shaquille O’Neal eventually, but butted heads with him despite winning three rings together. As we all know, the fallout eventually led to Shaq’s departure from the Lakers.
Head coaches by nature have to think of the team as a whole and always keep the big picture in mind. Kobe has such a laser focus on his own initiatives that I think it’d be tough for him to take a step back think of the whole team. He’s learned to do it in the twilight of his career but only when his body has failed him. His natural instinct is to just take over games and will his team to victory.
We all know that Kobe is one of the hardest working players in the league, but he’s also a basketball genius. Some of the instinctual things that he has a knack for just can’t be taught. It’s safe to say that he’s an uncommon talent who has a prodigious work ethic. I don’t know that Kobe would be able to sympathize with average players, especially since he holds himself to such a high standard.
He’s not known for his patience and in all honesty he would probably yell at his team often. He has ruffled some teammate’s feathers in the past as a player – can you imagine the drama that would occur if he were a head coach? I don’t think he’s suited to be a head coach and he knows this too.[divide]
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