‘Like a Robot’ – Jeremy Lin Describes First Experience Playing Against Kobe Bryant

Published 05/21/2021, 9:25 AM EDT
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)


Kobe Bryant was one of the most terrifying players to go up against in NBA history. On any given night, Bryant had the potential to take over a game and win it for his team. He was a mercurial talent, who would never allow his team to fall behind, and would do all in his power to win a game. For Kobe, the game was more than just a game; it was his way of life. And that’s what former NBA star Jeremy Lin learned one fateful night.

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Linsanity vs Kobe Bryant

Former NBA star Jeremy Lin was a guest on the ‘All The Smoke’ podcast. Lin spoke about his stretch during the 2011-12 NBA season, now infamously called ‘Linsanity’. He and the New York Knicks went up against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. To Lin’s surprise, despite him and the Knicks having a great game, Kobe never got nervous during his showing. Kobe and the Lakers were struggling, but he maintained his confidence.

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Lakers Kobe Bryant is fouled by Clippers Matt Barnes while driving to the basket at the Staples Center Friday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
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Lin said, “I think the thing that I remember the most about that game, specifically about Kobe, was just he never looked worried. We were in control the whole game, and he had a terrible first half, he ended up with 34, but he never looked worried. I was like, ‘what’s wrong with this guy? Is he like a robot?’. I expected him to get mad.”

Kobe couldn’t be stopped

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Lin added that Bryant didn’t give in to the hype behind the game. He remained stoic the entire time and started to come alive. During the second half of the game, Bryant came to life and started knocking down shots with ease. No matter who the Knicks placed on him, Bryant was just going off, making every shot that he wanted. Luckily for the Knicks, Lin played better than Bryant and outscored him.

Lin said, “Everyone knows it’s a hyped-up game, and he was just (stoic expression) the whole game. Then he started hitting it, third-quarter he hit like five jumpers in a row. Landry is plastered all over him, he’s making all kinds of shots… If we’re going to win this game, it’s not going to be because we stop him because he’s going to get his shot and it’s on him whether it goes in or not. If we’re gonna win, we’ve got to get more buckets.”

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On his day, Bryant couldn’t be fazed, no matter the circumstances. Lin got a closer look at Bryant’s play, getting the chance to be his teammate. But they never could get the chemistry that could have made them great.

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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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