Incoming Lakers head coach Luke Walton was a rookie in L.A. once upon a time, and he joined up right at the tail end of the first era of dominant Kobe Bryant teams. Yesterday, he told a story about Kobe’s intensity back in those days to Jesse Williams on his “Open Run” podcast yesterday. He showed up to practice hungover, and Kobe set out to grill him and eat him. It ended as well for Walton as you’d expect.
Via Silver Screen & Roll, here is the story of a hungover Luke Walton getting dominated by a monomaniacal Kobe Bryant:
“I probably had too much to drink the night before,” Walton recalled. “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.
“And I was laughing at first, like ‘oh, this is funny,’ Walton continued. “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 (laughing), 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.”
Honestly, calling for help probably only made Kobe madder.