The Los Angeles Lakers and their rich history of success has gone through many generational legends. Amongst the 16 championships, many different rosters have successfully completed the ultimate goal. The last legend to do so was Kobe Bryant, who departed from the NBA after a miraculous end to the 2015-16 season.
He left behind a lasting legacy, along with five championships and the title as the third highest scorer in NBA history. Bryant’s career overlapped with current Lakers head coach Luke Walton, who has his young roster off to a phenomenal start. With a current record of 7-5, the Lakers are making noise in the Western Conference and seem to love playing for their new coach.
Almost half of the current players (excluding Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, Luol Deng, Thomas Robinson, Jose Calderon and Timofey Mozgov), had the opportunity to play with Bryant during the last seasons of his career. However, Walton was a part of Bryant’s back-to-back championship teams during 2008-09 and 2009-10.
Walton and Bryant have quite the relationship, even seen talking to one another while Walton was coaching with the Warriors. Bryant also had quite the connection with the young roster, as often times he was seen mentoring the young roster.
While the 26th head coach in franchise history was on the Dan Patrick Show, he was asked if Bryant had visited the Lakers yet this season. Walton responded that he hasn’t, but there has been ample communication between him and the soon to be Hall-of-Famer:
“He has not stopped by, but I’ve spoken to Kobe multiple times this offseason in preparing for this season we have and talking about some of the players on the team that he played with last year,” Walton said. “Had some questions about a young Brandon Ingram that I wanted to run by him and things like that. He’s been great. He takes the phone call; we’ll talk for however long we need to get some information from him, so he’s been great when I’ve needed him.”
Although Bryant’s desire to score did hinder the growth of the likes of D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, the young players got to say they have played with one of the greatest players of all time.
Before he departed into retirement, the 18-time All-Star told Russell that he seems ready to take over the leadership role, which Walton also agreed with.
After an impressive, nail-biting win against the Brooklyn Nets, the Lakers prepare for a showdown at Staples Center Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs.