The Los Angeles Lakers officially introduced Darvin Ham as their new head coach on Monday afternoon. The former Milwaukee Bucks assistant coach already made a good impression on people within the organization and his new players, but this time it was his turn to speak to reporters hungry to know what's next for him on the Lakers.
Besides talking about his philosophy and what he expects from former MVP Russell Westbrook, Ham also touched on the people that helped him become who he is right now. From 2011 through 2013, he was an assistant coach in Los Angeles, where he had the chance to spend time with the late Kobe Bryant.
Ham revealed that those days watching film, practicing and discussing things with Kobe helped him gain confidence in himself as a coach. Kobe wasn't the easiest person when it came to his game, but Ham learned how to earn his trust while feeling more secure about his talents.
“It was great,” he reflected. “We spent a lot of time together on the practice floor, individual workouts, watching clips. And (I learned) if I can go back and forth with him, and him disagree with me and then double back and tell me I was right, we all know how stubborn he was. It gave me a wealth of confidence in myself as a coach.
“Seeing him and him sharing different ways he saw the game (was huge). And even with Russ (Westbrook), LeBron, (Anthony Davis), Giannis (Antetokounmpo) Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Al Horford, Paul Millsap ... these guys I’ve been able to coach and learn from them. It’s a two-way street, not just this coach that thinks he knows it all and is barking orders. You have to be able to collaborate, communicate, and understand each other. Not your way or my way, but what’s the best way to go forward? Kobe was right at the forefront of that in my development as a coach. He’s a big part of why I was able to grow the way I did as a coach.”
It's great to see that Kobe keeps helping his squad find the right people to compete in the NBA. Ham returned to the Purple and Gold after almost 10 years, ready to lead his own team and take them to the promised land again. The Lakers have a lot of work to do this offseason, but it seems like adding Ham as their head coach might have solved many of them.
After a tumultuous 2021/22 season, the 17-time NBA champions are ready to bounce back and demonstrate they aren't done just yet.