Kobe Bryant and Luke Walton both have had plenty of reasons to pop bottles over the years. But when Walton was a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant taught him there’s a time and place for everything.
Walton, who’s now the head coach of the Lakers, recently joined Bleacher Report’s “Open Run” podcast, where he talked about how Bryant once dominated him at practice for showing up smelling like alcohol.
“I probably had too much to drink the night before,” Walton said. “So I came in, I was a rookie, I felt good, and they could smell some alcohol on me, and Kobe informed the rest of the team that nobody was allowed to help me on defense, and that I had to guard him the entire practice.”
“The Black Mamba” was notoriously hard on opponents and teammates alike during his 20-year playing career, something Walton learned the hard way.
“And I was laughing at first, like ‘Oh, this is funny,’ ” Walton recalled. “But in Kobe’s mind, in his eyes, he was like ‘No, I see and smell weakness, I’m going to destroy you today.’ He taught me a lesson. He probably scored 70-something in practice that day, and I’m begging for help, but none of my teammates would help. His killer instinct, and his work ethic will stick with me forever.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images
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