With a player like Kobe Bryant, it’s no wonder there are a lot of rumors and strong opinions about him. However, a Hall of Famer brutally refuted one of them recently. According to him, it’s just a bunch of lies about the Mamba.
As amazing as he was on the court, Kobe Bryant was anything but an easy going customer. This does not only concern his opponents and the referees, because the back could also attack his own team violently. When he was not satisfied with the performance of his teammates, he was also able to turn into a soloist, taking all the shots that were for example and thus cutting his roster from the game.
Result, if he knew how to accumulate titles and individual awards over time, the Laker systematically dragged behind him a dirty reputation of selfishness, thinking more of himself than of his team. Except that according to Gary Payton, it would be completely false. The legendary point guard knows the late California legend well, having played with him in 2003-04. He took the opportunity to share memories he had of Purple and Gold, during his visit to JJ Redick’s podcast:
Gary Payton: ‘Kobe wasn’t selfish’
.@GaryPayton reflects on his relationship with Kobe Bryant and shares why he just doesn’t agree with fans who called him selfish.
Full conversation: https://t.co/MU2cXA3dWe pic.twitter.com/pOwYkkoe9f
— TheOldMan&TheThree (@OldManAndThree) June 4, 2022
He was a great guy, you know. People, you see, they thought about Kobe the wrong way. They think about selfishness and all that stuff. Forget it, it’s big nonsense in my opinion. I mean, this kid was a competitor at heart. That’s all he was, a competitor. That’s all he wanted to do, he wanted to be one of the best. And that’s what he became in the end.
You have to understand, if Kobe was an asshole and all that, why was he always going to the veterans and asking them what he could do to improve? Selfish players don’t do that. He was a player who just wanted to improve. He always asked me what I should do. The year he became All-Star, he came to me to ask me how to play defense.
Endowed with discipline and an iron mentality, the Black Mamba constantly sought perfection and this is what led him to appear distant to others. Still, that didn’t stop him from showing respect to his elders and what they could teach him. It would have been complicated with such a self-centered character as rumors would have us believe, and GP was keen to set that truth straight for good.
Kobe Bryant, an egoist? This is not at all the opinion of Gary Payton, who even claims that it was the exact opposite. On the contrary, he had enough humility to seek advice from his elders, which The Glove greatly appreciated.