Kobe Bryant is one of the most incredible NBA players of all time. Both on and off the court, he left a lasting impression.
One of the things that was always fascinating about Bryant was his disinterest in common pleasantries. He didn’t care about societal norms as they pertained to friendless or friendships. Not when he was a rookie, and certainly not when he was a veteran.
That’s not to say that Bryant didn’t have any friends. He did. He just didn’t place a particularly huge emphasis on it.
This week, we learned why.
A few days ago, Pau Gasol did an interview with Melissa Rohlin of Fox Sports. During their exchange, he explained why Bryant had no friends on the Lakers.
“That trade paired Gasol with Kobe Bryant in 2008, two teammates who would win championships together in 2009 and 2010 and forge a deep friendship, something Gasol acknowledged was ‘not easy to do’ with Bryant,” the article noted.
Bryant did not focus on building friendships and relationships because he was too focused on winning. Everything else was secondary. His primary objective, especially prior to winning those two titles with Gasol, was winning championships without Shaquille O’Neal.
“At the time, Bryant was fiery and endlessly determined to prove that he could win a title without Shaquille O’Neal, with whom he won three straight championships from 2000 to ’02,” the article continued.
“They had a contentious relationship, which led to O’Neal being sent to Miami in 2004. Over the years, Bryant alienated many teammates with his no-nonsense approach and single-minded drive to be the best. But Bryant and Gasol thrived together. There was a deep well of mutual respect during their six-plus years together, with both players learning from the other.”
Now that’s a Halloween costume. https://t.co/xDN5ukIuKB
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 30, 2021
Bryant was a fierce competitor, as evidenced by the way he spoke about his rivals like LeBron James and the way he carried himself with some of the league’s biggest stars. With him, it was always no-nonsense time.
Obviously it cost him some friendships along the way, but it also secured his place in history as one of the greatest of all time.