With the Los Angeles Lakers set to face the New York Knicks on Tuesday night, Metta World Peace, a former player for both franchises, went on the “Max and Marcellus Show” on ESPN radio to talk about his tenure with both teams.
Despite almost starting a fight with World Peace in the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals, Kobe Bryant heavily recruited World Peace to the Lakers the following offseason. Kobe also publicly asked the Lakers to not amnesty World Peace, which they inevitably did.
Apparently, World Peace has the same respect for Bryant. As ESPN Los Angeles writer Dave McMenamin quotes, World Peace says he owes a lot to Bryant:
I owe a lot of my career to Kobe. I got that ring.”
A lot of people forget that World Peace was instrumental in the Lakers 2010 championship run, especially in the playoffs. World Peace had always been a phenomenal defensive player, but often lacked the self discipline to play at his maximum potential. With the help of Bryant and coach Phil Jackson, World Peace was able to play some of his best basketball that postseason.
World Peace went on to talk about the tumultuous season the Lakers had last year, as well as the feud between Dwight Howard and Bryant. According to World Peace, Bryant expects players to put everything they have on the court as well as challenge players when things are going wrong:
I think Dwight would take it too personal because Kobe is like very direct and Kobe gives you, like, a chance to show who you are. Not necessarily produce, but just to show who you are. Kobe wants to see you out there on the court, and he wants to see you like an attack dog. A smart attack dog. Show that you have heart. Show you care. He wants to see it right away.
Kobe and Dwight had a hard time clicking from the beginning as both wanted to be the alpha dog for the team. Dwight’s laid back approach to the game, much like that of former Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal, did not sit well with Bryant.
Some players can put up with Bryant’s high demands such as Pau Gasol and World Peace, but others do not like to be pushed beyond their limits. Bryant’s motivational techniques have come into question before, but with five championships to his resume, they have obviously worked for him and players who embrace his leadership style.
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