Duke’s Former Coach Mike Krzyzewski Opens Up About His Time With Lakers and Kobe Bryant

Published 06/06/2021, 8:30 AM EDT


No coach has become a legend in college basketball like Mike Krzyzewski. He is a five-time NCAA Champion, five-time Olympic champion, and two-time Hall of Famer. Mike has coached players like Kyrie Irving, Zion Williamson, and Jayson Tatum However, in a recent interview with Dan Patrick, Mike spoke about his prospects of coaching the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant.

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Mike loved college basketball, and it is evident.

COLUMBIA, SC – MARCH 24: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils watches his team warm up before taking on the UCF Knights in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Photos via Getty Images Men’s Basketball Tournament held at Colonial Life Arena on March 24, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Mike Krzyzewski’s legacy with the College basketball

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Krzyzewski spoke about the offer he received from the Lakers.

“I was 57 and you know, the pros were appealing to me and then Kobe was appealing to me because I knew him as a youngster and the Lakers their brand was- uh so what I- and then the amount of money was generational, but I could not leave Duke.

“I mean we’re making a good money, not the money that they were talking about, but I love Duke. I love college basketball,” said Mike.

Even though the prospect of joining the NBA was understandable, the passion he had for college basketball was incredible. Making Tatum, Zion, and Tatum world-beaters were some of his all-time highs. But, the interesting combination of Kobe Bryant and Mike Krzyzewski would have been legendary.

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Could Kobe Bryant have improved his game under Mike?

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The intriguing matchup between Bryant and Mike would have been good to watch. Phil Jackson was a terrific match, but Mike would have improved Kobe as he has a knack for developing players. Having the knack of spotting young players was his undeniable ability.

SAN ANTONIO – MAY 7: (FILE PHOTO) Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers bites his jersey in Game two of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs during the 2003 NBA Playoffs at SBC Center on May 7, 2003 in San Antonio, Texas. Bryant was released on bail by the Eagle County Sheriff’s office in Colorado July 6, 2003 after posting a $25,000 bond on a felony count of sexual assault. (Photo by: Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

As the NBA look forwards to the next college prospects to be their next franchise player, Mike has contributed a lot to that cause. Significantly, Tatum and Zion have developed into outstanding players.

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The retirement of Mike Krzyzewski will be a blow to college basketball. The sheer passion and determination for developing college basketball are immense. However, what could have happened if he had joined the Lakers?

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Jacob Gijy

393 articles

Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.

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