Lakers practice turns into storytelling time about Kobe Bryant
With the NBA deciding to postpone Tuesday night’s contest between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers in honor of the late Kobe Bryant, the Lakers instead gathered as a team in what was supposed to be their first practice session following the untimely death of the basketball legend.
As described by Dave McMenamin of ESPN, however, the gathering turned out to be more of a storytelling session, with the team collectively mourning the loss of one of the most iconic individuals in their franchise history and beyond. People from all across the organization took turns telling stories about Kobe, and there were was a wine toast to his legacy.
One of the best narratives came from Lakers superstar LeBron James, who had a memorable story about Kobe and former Laker teammate Pau Gasol:
LeBron James recalled of story of Bryant knocking down Pau Gasol during a game between Team USA and Spain in the 2008 Olympics, according to a source. Dr. Judy Seto, the director of sports performance, said that it was a calculated move to get Gasol thinking of where he had to improve before joining the Lakers the following season.
Gasol joined the Lakers in 2008, following a midseason trade from the Memphis Grizzlies. He would play six and a half seasons alongside Bryant, and in the process, bag two NBA titles in back-to-back seasons (2008-09 and 2009-10). As it seems, Bryant’s mind games on Gasol during the Olympics paid dividends, with this pair combining to become one of the most formidable duos in Lakers franchise history.
As for the current Lakers side, though, they will need to set their grief aside when they return to action on Friday in a matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center. Nonetheless, we fully expect that to be an emotional contest for all parties involved.