Lakers Teammate Was Once Frustrated By Kobe Bryant Tanking The Game After Phil Jackson Criticism: “Are you Going to Play Today or What?”

Published 12/23/2021, 11:15 AM EST
EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. – APRIL 30, 2013. Kobe Bryant talks with reporters after his exit interview with the Lakers on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at the team’s training facility in El Segundo. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


If you think about the Los Angeles Lakers and their success, you ultimately start thinking of Kobe Bryant and his time with the team. The late Lakers icon is one of the NBA’s greats, his career spanning for two decades with the LA based outfit. However, being an NBA great did not exempt Bryant from getting an earful from his coach, the legendary Phil Jackson.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The incident mentioned here refers to a late 2004 game for the Lakers against the Sacramento Kings, a couple of years after their iconic three-peat. While the team would a title again only in 2009, Bryant continued to perform excellently throughout the period.

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – JAN. 13, 2015. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant takes the court for a game against the Miami Heat on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Did Kobe Bryant perform poorly because of Phil Jackson’s criticism?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

On April 11, 2004, the Lakers faced the Sacramento Kings.

Los Angeles lost 102-85 with Bryant failing to help his team win the game. He played 21 minutes in the first half, taking only one shot. It was not until the third quarter that he picked up his pace, a performance very unlike the Lakers forward.

DIVE DEEPER

NBA Star James Harden Drops Massive $500K News as Bitcoin Craze Grips the World

about 1 month ago

According to reports, his performance was a direct result of Jackson’s criticism before the game. Jackson apparently told Bryant that his scoring and shooting were ‘too much’ and detrimental to the team. The result was the game against the Kings, which did the Lakers no good.

“Are you going to play today or what?” Gary Payton asked Bryant, surprised by his performance.

“I’ve never seen Kobe take just (one shot),” Payton added after the game. “I don’t think any of us came to play, and this is the outcome that happened.”

How did the others perform?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Payton scored 15 points that game, while Karl Malone scored 13 points. Shaquille O’Neal only played 12 minutes, getting one shot in before he was slapped with two offensive fouls. He finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds.

LOS ANGELES, CA. JAN. 04, 2015. Lakers’ #24 Kobe Bryant all smiles after an assist from teammate Carlos Boozer in a game vs the Pacers’ in the 1st half of the game at Staple Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 04, 2015. LA Lakers play the Indiana Pacers in a regular NBA season game. (Photo by Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The Lakers reached the NBA Finals that year, losing 4-1 to the Detroit Pistons. With O’Neal gone next season, Bryant and the Lakers won the title again in 2009, and again in 2010.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

DIVE DEEPER

Lakers Guard Demands a Trade? Malik Monk’s Cryptic Tweet Leaves NBA Fans Delirious

about 1 month ago

What did you think of Bryant’s game? Was his reaction solely due to Jackson’s criticism?

Enjoyed reading this article? Download our exclusive app to get 24x7 coverage, latest memes and social media banter. Click here to download.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Devika

556 articles

Devika Pawar is a Golf and NBA writer at Essentially Sports. A psychology graduate from KJ Somaiya, Devika has an experience with sportswriting at Republic World for around two years now. She loves NBA a little too much, and is a dedicated Golden State Warriors fan.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT