Over the majority of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant was mentored by one of the greatest head coaches in league history. With Phil Jackson calling the shots and giving advice for problems on and off the floor to his players, Kobe was like a sponge during that time and might have a career after his playing days as a result.
With Kobe sitting out for a sixth consecutive game tonight against the San Antonio Spurs, Coach Kobe will take over once again on the sidelines for the Lakers. Now that the Lakers have won four out of the last five games without the Black Mamba on the floor, Coach Kobe has gotten a reputation for helping guide this team and the players with some wise words, and plays from Phil Jackson’s old chair on the bench.
Even though there has been a lot of talk about the Zen Master’s return to the NBA with a potential vacancy with the New York Knicks next season, the closest thing to Phil Jackson’s coaching tactics right now will come from Coach Kobe trying to lead the Lakers to the third seed in the Western Conference as the leader from the bench opposed to on the floor.
Kevin Ding of the O.C. Register talks about Kobe’s impact with Phil Jackson’s discipline:
While he has been healing his left shin for nearly two weeks, Kobe Bryant has been far less Lakers co-captain than simply Disciple of Phil.
Jackson and Bryant are actually in far more regular contact than you might imagine, so Jackson isn’t altogether invisible. Yet there was no Jackson, no Derek Fisher, not even Jerry Buss at the Lakers’ training facility Monday for the annual team photo. Even while he moved around the gym so gingerly instead of owning the place, it was more Kobe’s team than ever.
Hopefully, Kobe can get back on the floor before the playoffs begin. The perennial All-Star has let it be known that he intends to get back in uniform for the Lakers before the post-season, but in the meantime he has been helping this team with his leadership from a coaching standpoint.