NBA Coaches Compare Lakers Legend Kobe Bryant to Michael Jordan and LeBron James

Published 01/22/2021, 11:37 AM EST
LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 26: Laker’s Kobe Bryant ,24, celebrates a three pointer in the fourth quarter as the Lakers beat the Nuggets 122-107 during a first round playoff basketball game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers April 23. 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)


There is one thing every NBA fan knows about Kobe Bryant is that he loves to win. His skills were one of the brilliant aspects of him, but there was also the work ethic that got him so much success. Ever since Kobe’s passing last year, we’ve heard many of his former teammates and close ones talk about the Lakers’ legend, sharing their favorite Kobe story. But what about his coaches?

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Not many stories about his relationship with the coaches have come up. So, let’s find out how their experience with him was over the course of so many years.

An uncanny resemblance to Michael Jordan

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Hall of Fame NBA coach, Rudy Tomjanovich is currently a consultant for the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, the legend was also the coach for the Los Angeles Lakers for a brief season. Coaching Kobe was an extraordinarily unique experience for him.

Being one of the best team’s coach, he had to focus on keeping the entire team fit. Little did he know that because of Kobe, even the assistant coaches needed to be in proper shape. “I’ve never seen a guy really go after it as hard as he does. He wears assistant coaches down just throwing them the ball. And he’s doing all the running around and they’re just passing it to him,” said Rudy.

Kobe’s competitive nature was visible in a defensive drill called ‘Cut-throat’. “Every player would play defense on the other guys on the team. He wouldn’t let anybody score on him. He had so much pride that he didn’t let anybody score on him.”

As per Rudy T, Bryant was just like Michael Jordan. “To have a player like that on your team, it helps you as a coach,” he explained. “He’s going to keep the level of competition just like Michael did.”

INGLEWOOD, CA – FEBRUARY 1: Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends against Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls on February 1, 1998 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1998 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

One defender not enough for Kobe Bryant

When Mike Brown took over after Phil Jackson as head coach, he was hired because of his success in leading LeBron James‘ Cleveland Cavaliers. So when Brown was with the Cavs, he revealed how hard it was to guard Kobe.

“With Kobe, you just get to a point where you hope he misses,” confessed Brown. “There wasn’t much you could do about Kobe defensively.” Having coached both Bron and Kobe, Mike believes that the two had very contrasting similar leadership styles.

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He revealed, “LeBron used to have the whole team over for dinner. They would go to his house and watch movies, card night, on the road, the whole team going to his suite. He does stuff with his teammates all the time that helps bring the unity in the group that’s hard to find.”

Whereas Kobe has a different approach. Brown said, “Kobe is good in a different way. Kobe is hard on his team, but that tough love at times would bring people together.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 10: The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant greets the Cavaliers’ Lebron James before the start of their game at Staples Center Thursday night.
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lakers.0311.kjs — Photo by KEVIN SULLIVAN / Orange County Register — 3/10/16
The Los Angeles Lakers take on the Cleveland Cavaliers Staples Center Thursday night.
3/10/16
(Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

Brown couldn’t stop praising him. He saw an intensity and focus in him that he didn’t see anybody else. Of course, this showed in the amount of success he achieved in his career. More than that, the respect and support he got from his fans. He will always remain alive in our hearts.

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Yashima Bhatia

1215 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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