Now that he’s coaching the Lakers, Walton explained the influence Kobe had on him when they were teammates in Los Angeles. Walton brought up one practice in particular.
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 nobody was allowed to help me on defense and that I had to guard him the entire practice.
And 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.” And he taught me that lesson. He taught me that lesson. I mean, he probably scored 70-something in practice that day, and I’m begging for help. None of the teammates would help.
But his killer instinct and his work ethic, they’ll stick with me forever.