Keith Closs revealed he actually coached Kobe Bryant and other future NBA stars at the prestigious ABCD Camp. Jermaine O’Neal & Tim Thomas were also on Keith’s squad, as the group demolished teams. They would blow teams out so badly that Closs made them run sprints after games because he thought the wins were so easy.
Years later, Keith & Kobe would reconnect when the two both played for the Lakers summer league team. He said that during the summer of his rookie year after a game for LA Bryant told him to ‘hit the line’ in front of their parents. Closs opened up about the last moment he had with Kobe the summer before he died as well.
(Via Vintage Ballers):
“I coached Kobe at the ABCD Camp when he was in high school. I coached him, Jermaine O’Neal, Tim Thomas, & Lester Earl. We were blowing out teams by 30, 40, and 50 points. I would make the guys run sprints after games.”
“Summer pro league, two years later, here I am, I’m the rookie. Kobe’s got the one year over me in experience. We blow somebody out by 30 points & were walking off the court and he says ‘hey rookie, hit the line.’ I just start laughing because I remember a few years ago it was me telling him ‘hit the line.’ I’m running my sprints with a smile on my face and our parents are sitting together. His dad yells out ‘son that ain’t right!’ He got his revenge, it’s cool.”
“I saw him the summer before he passed at the Drew League. I walked up behind him and said ‘hey man, don’t you owe me a few laps?’ We just hugged it out, first time I had seen him in like 15-16 years. That was the last time I got a chance to see him and interact.”