Lakers News: Mike Krzyzewski Speaks To How Great Kobe Bryant & LeBron James Were As Teammates On Team USA
LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Lakers, Redeem Team
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Since the tragic passing of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, there have been former and current players and coaches coming out and sharing their favorite and memorable stories. Bryant was the definition of a competitor and poured his heart and soul into the game of basketball, spending 20 great seasons with the Lakers.

His death happened just hours after the Lakers played the Philadelphia 76ers in 2020, which is Bryant’s birthplace and where LeBron James would surpass him for No. 3 on the all-time scoring list. The Lakers would dedicate the season to Bryant and his daughter Gianna by winning a championship under LeBron’s leadership.

Although they never played together on the Lakers, James and Bryant spent some time as teammates during the Olympics with Team USA in 2008 and 2012 with the head coach being Mike Krzyzewski, who recently retired from coaching at Duke University. Krzyzewski would have to manage a lot of egos on those USA teams to win a gold medal, but he recently recalled how Bryant and James’ relationship was different, via The Athletic:

“It was so genuine and literally, they were not jealous of one another. It was kind of like a great piano player playing and all of a sudden, there’s the greatest sax player playing. They knew that their talents were going to be taken to a higher level playing with one another. Man, that was good. I get chills thinking about it because I was actually there and saw those guys interact and there was never any problems.”

In the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, Team USA was able to bring home two gold medals while featuring many other great players alongside James and Bryant. However, those two were the alpha dogs of the league at the time with both being in their primes as players.

While at the time James was not a Laker, it would come full circle in 2018 when he would sign with them in free agency. Bryant was able to bring five championships to this historic franchise and etch his name as one of the greatest Lakers and basketball players ever. Meanwhile, James won a championship in 2020 and is now looking to make history by winning No. 18 for the Lakers.

All in all, the Olympics provide a challenge for the head coach in terms of managing personalities and making everything come together and work fluently. Krzyzewski is one of the greatest basketball coaches ever and could have made it work, but to have the relationships of players be formed organically makes a huge difference and that was the case with James and Bryant.

Kobe Bryant announced as cover athlete for NBA 2K24

Bryant had his fair share of success on the court, but he has been a multiple time cover athlete for NBA 2K and this year is no exception being on the cover for NBA 2K24. Bryant had appeared on 2K10, 2K17 and 2K21.

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