With nearly 47,000 minutes and 32,482 career points to his credit, very few in the history of the NBA has seen and experienced what he has throughout the years. Earlier in his career however, Bryant had a reputation as someone who constantly berated teammates and was difficult to play with.
Before winning back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010, many were unsure if Bryant was really a leader. Some may question his leadership style, but Bryant has gotten results from it.
In his NBA TV interview with Ahmad Rashad, Bryant spoke about the necessities of being a leader via Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding:
If you’re going to be a leader, you’re not going to please everybody,” he said. “You’ve got to hold people accountable. Even if you have that moment of being uncomfortable.”
Bryant also spoke about pushing his teammates to their limit, something he has always maintained was necessary:
You want them to be the best versions of themselves, and a leader has to drive for that. And in the moment there’ll be times when they don’t see that. You have to be able to be uncomfortable with that.”
Kobe has had some issues with past teammates and many times it has centered around that exact point. Kobe wants everyone to work as hard as he does every single day and that grates certain people the wrong way. Kobe, of course, has five championships to his credit, however, so its hard to argue with his methods.
Now that Bryant is heading down the home stretch, he won’t have many more teammates to push to that level. He has spoken to enjoying the process in his later years, but setting up the Lakers for the post-Kobe future could be one that stretches far past his retirement.[divide]