‘Couldn’t Sleep When I Seen Him’: Former Teammate Reveals Interesting Kobe Bryant Story off the Court

Published 03/10/2021, 7:04 AM EST
LOS ANGELES, CA, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2014 – Lakers guard Kobe Bryant during pregame warmups before a preseason game against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Kobe Bryant was one of the most driven athletes the NBA has ever seen. During his time in the league, Kobe was known for never giving up on his team. Bryant was an iconic player in the NBA, making some of the toughest shots at the last moment of the game. But even off the court, Kobe was always working on trying to get the win.

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Kobe Bryant – always working

Former NBA champion Matt Barnes gave an interview recently. He told a story about Kobe Bryant during his time with the Lakers. They were on a European tour during the pre-season. He saw Kobe Bryant sitting by himself and listening to music. Barnes, who couldn’t sleep, went to Kobe and was shocked to see what he was up to sitting alone.

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“Kobe used to have like three guys guarding him. One time, we were on a plane, during the pre-season. I think we were going to Spain, because we had Pau with us. I see Kobe in the corner, I couldn’t sleep when I seen him. He had his headphones, and he was bopping. I went over there, and he had a bunch of different little courts drawn up, nearly 30 different courts.” 

Kobe looking for mismatches

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Barnes revealed that Bryant was trying to draw up plays for the team. Knowing how much attention he garnered during the game, Kobe was trying to see which teammates he could set up to take advantage of the lax defense on other players. Bryant took advantage of the way players would take part during the game.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA MAY 14, 2012-Lakers Kobe Bryant and Thunders James Harden battle for a loose ball in Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference semifinal in Oklahoma Monday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

“And he’s like ‘I’m not looking at my defender, I’m looking at the help and the third defender to see where they’re going to play me so I can know where you guys are going to be.’ That era was different, we’d load the guys, almost run double sometimes. That’s how much attention to detail on defense was. But then the game transitioned into more of a full-court, run-and-gun.”

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Which is the most iconic Kobe Bryant moment in the NBA? Over his 20 year career, Bryant defied expectations on a regular basis. And he was part of some of the most legendary teams and stories the league has ever seen. And these moments will never be forgotten, and neither will Kobe.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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