Lakers News: Phil Handy Explains Why Kobe Bryant Didn’t Pass To Some Teammates
Kobe Bryant, Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy is known to be one of the best assistants and player development coaches in the NBA, working with a variety of stars such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard.

His results cannot be debated as his teams had an NBA Finals streak of six straight years broken this year with him winning three championships over that span.

Handy began as a development coach with the Lakers from 2011-2013 before making stops in Cleveland and Toronto. Finally, he returned home to L.A. in 2019 to help bring back the trophy for the Purple and Gold.

On a recent appearance on Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s podcast “All the Smoke,” Handy rolled up in a shirt featuring a young Kobe to discuss his tenure in the NBA. Barnes asked Handy what stood out to him the most about Bryant during his time with the Lakers and he had an awesome answer:

His realness. He was misunderstood. I asked him one time, I asked him ‘why you such an asshole?’ I asked him that and he said ‘you really want to know?’ You know how he was, and he said to me, ‘Phil, man, some of my teammates don’t understand the work.’ He said ‘I see dudes walk into practice 10 minutes before practice and they leave right after, why the f*** am I gonna pass them the basketball? I don’t respect their work ethic, I’m in here busting my ass every day trying to perfect my craft and these dudes don’t want to work on their game, I don’t trust them. So I’m not gonna pass them the basketball, I’m gonna ride them hard every day.’ It made perfect sense when he really broke it down to why he is the way he is with certain dudes. I was just like ‘man, I respect that bro, I respect that.’ But he realness, in the sense of, he told me, he said ‘look man, you have an ability to connect with people. Don’t concern yourself with what people think about you.’ He told me that and that sunk in. He said ‘you got to move the way you move, make sure you do your job, make sure you’re professional, make sure you study the game, but don’t be concerned about what people think about you.’ And that stuck with me every since I been in this league.”

There will never be anyone quite like Kobe Bryant and this story is further proof of that. In spite of Kobe’s reputation, Bryant was always willing to share his wisdom and advice with those who asked.

Handy details why he came back to the Lakers

Handy has mentioned previously that he came to the Lakers in the first place to work with Bryant. However, Handy also mentioned that he came back to the Lakers because he had always wanted to do so from the front of the bench rather than behind the scenes.

Handy is expected to return to the Lakers next year and would be a welcome addition based on his resume and respect amongst the team.

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