Kobe Bryant was constantly challenging and pushing not only himself but his teammates as well. Adam Filippi, former Los Angeles Lakers’ Director of International Scouting and Player Development Coach and current Sacramento Kings Director of Pro Scouting, shared a story about Kobe’s impact on some of his teammates.
According to him, Bryant was testing his teammates by pushing them to get better. Some of them couldn’t handle it and Kobe gave up. But others accepted the challenge and improved.
Filippi mentioned three examples – Pau Gasol, Sasha Vujacic and Jordan Farmar. With Gasol being the best example of Kobe’s impact. It was because of him that Gasol turned from a very good player to a superstar, Filippi said.
“I can give you 3 examples. Sasha Vujačić played ten years in the league, young kid from Europe. Kobe took a likening to him because he spoke Italian but he was hard on him more than anybody else. Then it was Jordan Farmar. And then we made a trade and got Trevor Ariza. All 3 of those players don’t become the players they became if Kobe doesn’t challenge them and kind of push them and set the tone for those guys. Other guys that I’m not going to mention they couldn’t handle it and he gave up on those guys right away. Pau Gasol came to the Lakers with the reputation of being a little “soft” and his transformation with Kobe pushing him changes his career and is eventually one of the best big men in the league. If he doesn’t come to the Lakers Pau would just be remembered as a good European player but not the superstar he became.”
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