“I Finally Had Enough”: Jeremy Lin Opens Up on Beef With Kobe Bryant and Iconic Waiving Off Incident

Published 05/24/2021, 12:00 PM EDT
Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) takes a breather against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of the Lakers’ 103-88 game 1 first round NBA playoff game win at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 29, 2012. AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post (Photo By AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


From the moment Shaquille O’Neal left the Los Angeles Lakers, it became the Kobe Bryant team. Every player knew when Kobe asked for the ball, you better give it to him. Especially in the clutch moments. But former NBA champion Jeremy Lin surprised everyone when he refused to.

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In the 2014-15 season, Lin was playing for the Lakers as a backup guard. But in a crucial game against rivals Clippers, Lin did the unthinkable. With less than five minutes left in the game and scores tied, Lin received the ball. He called for an iso and was directing traffic.

Kobe kept asking for the ball, and Lin refused. He just waived him off and went for an audacious three-pointer over Chris Paul as the shot clock ended. And he buried it. There was no way he would have got away with it had he missed. No one had ever seen any player do that to Kobe, but Lin did it.

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In a recent appearance on All the Smoke podcast, he finally revealed what went behind that incident. He said that he had got into a fight over Kobe earlier, because he expressed his views and Bryant didn’t approve. They stopped talking because of it. “So for me in that situation, as we’re going back and forth, I finally had enough that’s why I waived him off that one time,” Lin said.

Jeremy Lin and Kobe Bryant buried the hatchet in the following season

Following that incident, Bryant and Lin didn’t talk for the rest of the season. And nobody else on the team knew about it. But Lin feels the silence from Kobe had a silver lining.

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He said, “I feel like him not talking to me was a sign of respect. Like he was ‘I’m pissed at you but I respect you because actually said something to me. Whereas so many other people won’t.’ So that’s why next season when I was in Charlotte, we talked like it never happened.”

Lin’s quotes explain how Kobe might not have been the most people person, but he showed respect where it was due. He came in as a raw high school prospect who had to battle for a place, so he always respected everyone who also fought for their stay in the league.

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Aaron Mathew

1630 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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