Lakers News: Luke Walton Recalls Rough Treatment From Kobe Bryant After He ‘Smelled Some Alcohol’
Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Lakers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hardly any player in NBA history could match Kobe Bryant’s competitiveness and desire to win — something several players learned the hard way when they shared the court with the Los Angeles Lakers legend.

Since his high school days, Bryant — preaching the fabled “Mamba Mentality” — would berate his teammates if they didn’t fully commit to the game of basketball. The five-time NBA champion’s perfectionism led to feuds with fellow Lakers stars, most notably Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard.

Former Lakers forward and head coach Luke Walton has revealed he got to taste Bryant’s ire during his rookie year. In a recent appearance on Bleacher Report’s “Open Run” podcast, Walton said Kobe didn’t have any mercy for him when he smelled like alcohol in practice once during the 2003-04 season:

“I remember one time my rookie year, I came in a little… [Kobe] and Shaq like to do this as, I think it was just rookies, but any young guy — I probably had too much to drink the night before, so I came in, I was a rookie, I felt good, and they could smell some alcohol on me,” Walton said. “And Kobe informed the rest of the team that no one was allowed to help me on defense and that I had to guard him the entire practice.

“I was laughing at first like, ‘Oh, this is funny,’ but in Kobe’s mind, in his eyes, it was like, ‘No, I see and smell weakness. I’m going to destroy you today.’ He taught me that lesson. He probably scored 70-something in practice that day, and I was begging for help, none of the teammates would help. But, yeah, his killer instinct and his work ethic, they’ll stick with me forever.”

Walton spent another seven full seasons with the Lakers, winning back-to-back NBA championships with Bryant in 2009 and 2010. During that time, the two seemingly bonded as Kobe was one of Walton’s advocates during his troubled spell as L.A.’s head coach.

Before the Purple and Gold sacked Walton after leading the team to a 37-45 record in 2018-19 — LeBron James’ first season in Los Angeles — Bryant defended Walton by emphasizing the number of injuries the Lakers had suffered that year.

Lou Williams recalls how Bryant shut down Warriors’ Stephen Curry

Toward the end of his career, Bryant wasn’t the same dominant player he had become in the 2000s. However, he still occasionally put his greatness on display — even at the age of 37 during his final NBA season.

Kobe’s former teammate, Lou Williams, has recalled how the Lakers legend shut down Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry during his farewell campaign.

“After that I’m like, everything that I’ve heard about Kobe Bryant is all true,” Williams said.

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