Basketball legend Kobe Bryant made a decision that could have altered his career and NBA history.
The NBA superstar made his career exclusive with Los Angeles Lakers for 20 years furnishing him unparalleled victories – five NBA championships and multiple Most Valuable Player recognitions. Little did the public know that during his two – decade stay with the Lakers, he requested for a trade.
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson, who spent 11 years coaching Kobe Bryant, recounts his collaboration with Bryant via Fast Break.
The Strong – Willed Kobe
“When Kobe was healed and ready to return, I was a bit reluctant to make a major alteration in our winning combination. So I suggested that Kobe come off the bench. ‘I don’t see myself not starting,’ was his response. ‘I don’t want to be known as a bench player,'" Jackson recalled of then 20 year - old Kobe Bryant who envisioned his legacy during his early years in the team.
Indeed, Kobe knows what he wants and his determination plays a crucial role in prioritizing his goals.
Bryant’s Request For NBA Trade
“A couple of weeks later, we’re still winning and Shaq is completely motivated. But Kobe was only averaging about 19 points per game. So Kobe called Jerry West and wanted to know how Jerry and Elgin Baylor both averaged 30 points. Kobe also said that he wanted to be traded. Of course, Jerry told me about the conversation. And, for a few minutes I thought about taking the Pistons up on an offer they made to trade Kobe for Grant Hill. Make that a few seconds,” the former Lakers coach divulged during the 1999 - 2000 season.
According to iSports Times, considering that the swap happened, both Grant and Bryant's respective careers have shifted for significant changes and that Hill and Shaquille O'Neal would have made a great team together.
The Deal That Never Happened
“The thing was that Kobe already saw himself as being one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA. I thought that, in time, he would indeed reach that goal. Anyway, he was not going to be traded.”
Such verification of Jackson spells a big relief to Bryant's and Lakers fans. Should the “Black Mamba” depart the purple and yellow team at that time, unsurprisingly, he would still be the big star that he has become.