Kobe Bryant says he became a leader after Lakers lost to Celtics in 2008 Finals
Bryant was already the best player in the game at the time. However, The Black Mamba wasn’t the best leader for the Lakers. Kobe says His Airness himself, Michael Jordan, once told him to become a leader of a team, you have to figure out how to connect with each player on the team and make them the best basketball player they can be.
“After we lost to the Celtics [the 2008 NBA Finals]. Because Michael [Jordan] told me the same thing. He said, ‘Listen, you have all the individual tools. Now you have to figure out how to connect with each one of those guys and bring the best out of those guys.’
“It’s not about just passing them the ball and saying that’s what makes guys better. That’s not it. You have to figure out how to touch the right buttons to make them want to be the best versions of themselves. How do you do that? And that was my challenge in ’09 and 2010, I was able to figure it out.”
Kobe Bryant did, in fact, figure it out.
The future Hall of Famer led the Lakers to back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. Los Angeles defeated the Orlando Magic in 2009 and got its revenge versus the Celtics in 2010. Kobe won five titles with the Lakers.