Kobe Bryant has a reputation as one of the game’s toughest competitors, and someone who values winning above all else — including maintaining strong interpersonal relationships with his teammates.
Bryant himself feeds into this from time to time, most recently discussing it with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard.
“If you go back and look at the guys I’ve gotten along with, they’re all cut from the same cloth,” Bryant said. “All of them. Then you look at the guys I didn’t get along with, or might have had some ups and downs with and they’re not. It’s a consistent thing…and I’m fine with that. It’s okay.”
But all of his teammates, past and present, don’t necessarily see it.
Darius Morris, a lesser contributor who spent two seasons in Los Angeles, couldn’t have been more complimentary when talking up Bryant as a teammate in a recent Instagram post.
“Happy bday to big bro @kobebryant I always get the question how was Kobe as a teammate? Honestly I can say he was one of the best I had on and off the court despite the perceived notions maybe because he had already matured and already made it clear he is one of the best to ever play the game. He schooled me on the business and lifestyle of the NBA. Although a couple jokes here and there He was never negative or talked down to anybody and I was there when went thru some tough times but he went out of his way to be helpful towards me, push me, and to think big picture in life and to have the mental toughness to remain focus and never be satisfied What more could you want from a teammate? In my opinion,he isn’t selfish he just put his heart and soul into the game and sometimes it’s hard to trust that others feel the same way as about the game. Unfair things I hear about him far from the truth but that’s life. With that being said hopefully don’t have to answer that question for awhile lol”
Bryant’s style undoubtedly isn’t for everyone; just ask Dwight Howard about that. But for younger players coming in who are willing to put in the work, it appears that Bryant is more than happy to take on a mentorship role in order to get the most out of his teammates.
[via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times]
Doc Rivers was not out of a job long.
Considered an elite coach and leader of men, a guy pushed out the door in Los Angeles by a frustrated owner in Steve Ballmer, Doc Rivers has accepted a deal to become the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
This was expected, and it came together fast. Rivers was let go by the Clippers on Monday and by Thursday had agreed to the deal with Philly.
Philadelphia had been looking for not only a coach but other voices in the front office to work with GM Elton Brand. Rivers, who had been team president in Los Angeles at one point, had that kind of voice with the Clippers in a collaborative front office. He likely will assume a similar role with the Sixers, having input on player and personnel decisions, not just Xs and Os.
Rivers also jumps from one roster expected to contend for a title but having fit and chemistry issues to another.
Doc Rivers needs to find an offensive system in Philadelphia where both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons can thrive next to each other, along with Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson, and Al Horford. There’s not much spacing or shooting there, which is why Shake Milton was getting a lot of run from former coach Brett Brown.
Roster tweaks would be coming, but with Rivers the idea will be making better use of the existing roster — and the style of play it forces.
The buzz around the league is that Tyronn Lue will take the Clippers job, which leaves Mike D’Antoni looking at places such as Indiana and New Orleans.
Vince Carter’s 22-year NBA career ended amid the chaos of coronavirus, preventing him from getting the deserved fanfare.
But fellow players will send Carter into retirement with the NBA Sportsmanship Award.
NBA players have selected Vince Carter as the recipient of the 2019-20 NBA Sportsmanship Award, the NBA announced today.
Carter, who spent the 2019-20 season with the Atlanta Hawks, announced his retirement from the NBA in June after playing a league-record 22 seasons. He receives the Joe Dumars Trophy as the winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award. Dumars, a two-time NBA champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, played 14 NBA seasons and won the inaugural Sportsmanship Award in the 1995-96 season.
Each NBA team nominated one of its players for the NBA Sportsmanship Award, which is designed to honor a player who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court. From the list of 30 team nominees, a panel of league executives selected one finalist from each of the NBA’s six divisions. Current NBA players selected the winner from the list of six finalists, with more than 250 players submitting their votes through confidential balloting conducted by the league office.
Full voting (with first-, second-, third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place votes and voting points):
1. Vince Carter (Hawks): 143-70-34-13-4-2-2,520
2. Garrett Temple (Nets): 22-78-63-52-25-26-1,746
3. Steven Adams (Thunder): 34-57-41-52-58-24-1,632
4. Harrison Barnes (Kings): 24-25-75-48-35-59-1,418
5. Langston Galloway (Pistons): 23-22-29-60-79-53-1,244
7. Tyus Jones (Grizzlies): 20-14-24-41-65-102-1,016
What a nice honor for Carter, who gracefully aged from high-profile star to veteran mentor.
Bam Adebayo‘s and Goran Dragic‘s injuries… not looking great for the Heat approaching Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
This is a disaster for Miami. The Lakers dominated Game 1, and now the Heat have two starters hobbled at best. At worst and more likely, Adebayo and Dragic are out.
Adebayo would be the bigger loss. Miami was completely overmatched when facing Anthony Davis without a center. Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard can try to keep up, but they’re far from great solutions.
At least the Heat have more options at point guard. Kendrick Nunn can get an elevated role (especially after excelling in garbage time of Game 1). Jimmy Butler can become the de facto point guard. Tyler Herro can also play the position. But Dragic was playing so well during Miami’s run through the Eastern Conference. This is also a major setback.
Doc Rivers is gaining momentum in the 76ers’ coaching search.
As for the job Rivers left behind with the Clippers… Clippers assistant and former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, unsurprisingly, has the inside track.
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Clippers are planning to interview other candidates, starting soon, sources said.
The New Orleans Pelicans are planning to interview Lue in the near future too, sources said.
Lue would be a sensible hire. He has championship experience, which would help the Clippers hit the ground running in a make-or-break season before Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can become unrestricted free agents. Lue managed stars in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The Clippers must improve their chemistry around their stars. And the last time Lue got promoted from assistant to head coach, his team won a title.
New Orleans also has an appealing job. But the Clippers are far closer to championship contention. And if both teams want Lue, I bet Clippers owner Steve Ballmer would outspend Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.
Still, the Clippers are conducting a coaching search. Other candidates could emerge. This isn’t necessarily Lue’s job for the taking.
How long would he wait on L.A. if the Pelicans make an offer? Lue has shown he values being entrusted.