Last season, many were unhappy when the Los Angeles Lakers traded away veteran point guard Steve Blake, but in return the team got a promising wing man in Kent Bazemore. Bazemore played extremely well in his short time with the team, but would leave in the off-season for a multi-year deal with the Atlanta Hawks.
While Bazemore didn’t get a chance to be on the court with Kobe Bryant in his 23 games with the team, he did get to spend some time with him. In an interview with Grantland’s Charles Bethea, he revealed that Kobe wasn’t difficult to deal with and is simply trying to get the best out of everyone:
No. That’s one of the things I learned. People who have already done what you’re trying to do are the first people you should try to listen to. And he knows what it takes to be a champion. So if he tells you something difficult to hear, he’s trying to get the best out of you.
Though Kobe developed a reputation of being tough on players, Bazemore had no issues handling it. The fact that Bazemore grew up such a big fan of Bryant may have helped that cause as well:
I used to sit in front of the TV and you could feel, when the game got close, that he decided to take over. You could feel the fire. His facial expression, the way he attacked the rim, willed his team to victory. You could feel that type of stuff coming from him. And it’s contagious. I was up at 1 a.m., you know, pumped up and sweating, and I had to go to school the next day.
Like many players in this generation, Bazemore was inspired by watching Kobe growing up. Kobe wasn’t always the nicest person, but he did push his teammates and had success doing so.
Bazemore would have been an excellent player to have on the roster, but it’s hard to argue with his decision considering he went from a team with one of the worst records in the league to the top team in the Eastern Conference.
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