Kobe Bryant was one of the fiercest competitors in the NBA, always going for more, always challenging himself and those around him. The Black Mamba left the league as one of the best players to ever do it, and until the last second he spent on an NBA court, he tried to leave his mark.
He always wanted his teammates to play, act and be winners, but if they failed, Kobe was ready to make some drastic decisions. Last year, a month after Bryant's tragic death, Nick Young shared the story of when Kobe made all his teammates take their Kobes off because they were 'soft.'
“We were getting blew out in Portland. Kobe is in the locker room just waiting for everybody to come in. You know everybody in there got ‘Kobe’s’ on the team. He comes in and says ‘Y’all playing soft. How you gonna wear these shoes and y’all soft? This ain’t what we do here in LA.’
“I’m not thinking nothing off it. He tells everybody to take their shoes off, and I’m like ‘What? What’s wrong with you man?’ And we took them off. He just started grabbing people’s shoes and threw them all in the trash. He’s like ‘Y’all don’t deserve these. Until y’all get it right, y’all can’t wear no Kobe’s’.”
Those weren't good years for the 5x NBA champion and his Lakers. They struggled to get things going, and after their failed Big 3 experiment, Kobe was left with not-so-good teams.
As cool as he was, KB24 was someone hard to please, especially when it came to his teammates. He tried to carry some poor squads to the playoffs during the last seasons of his career without success. Still, nobody can say Kobe never stopped trying.