It’s been awhile since we’ve heard a fresh Kobe Bryant story. Most people broke out their best Kobe stories in the days leading up to his retirement. But during a recent appearance on Uninterrupted’s "Open Run" podcast, Lakers coach Luke Walton—who played alongside Kobe from 2003 through 2012—revealed that he had a pretty terrific Kobe story that’s never been told.
According to Walton, he once showed up at a Lakers practice during his rookie season after a long night, and he still smelled like alcohol when he took the floor. We imagine he’s not the first pro athlete to have this happen, but his teammates—and in particular, Kobe—noticed it right away. And rather than cut him some slack, Kobe went into full-on attack mode and told everyone that he was going to light Walton up during the practice. Walton remembers Kobe dropping about 70 points that day, and no one stepped in to help him at all.
Here’s the story:
I remember one time my rookie year, I came in a little, uh, him [Kobe] and Shaq like to do this as, I think it was just rookies, but any young guy, I probably had too much to drink the night before, so I came in, I was a rookie, I felt good, and they could smell some alcohol on me. And Kobe informed the rest of the team that no one was allowed to help me on defense, and that I had to guard him the entire practice.
I was laughing at first like, 'Oh, this is funny,' but in Kobe’s mind, in his eyes, it was like, 'No, I see and smell weakness, I’m going to destroy you today.' He taught me that lesson. He probably scored 70-something in practice that day, and I was begging for help, none of the teammates would help. But yeah, his killer instinct and his work ethic, they’ll stick with me forever.
That sounds like such a Kobe move. You can check out the full "Open Run" podcast with Walton here.