The 2014-15 NBA season was a rough one for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Bryant not only missed most of the season with a torn rotator cuff, but also was forced to watch as his team struggled to a 21-61 record — including a 13-34 record ahead of the league's February trade deadline. Despite his inability to play, however, Bryant's competitive nature remained intact. Even at the cost of his teammates.
The story, as told by former Bryant teammate Jeremy Lin on the "Inside the Green Room" podcast:
"All of a sudden, we hadn't seen him for like a few weeks, all of a sudden he walks into the gym, and this is the day before the trade deadline. And we're all about to start practice, we're on the baseline, we're doing our dynamic warm-up or whatever, and then he comes in, sweatsuits, he has a sling for his hurt shoulder, and he has his shades on, his Kobe shades.
"And he walks in, and everyone's like, 'Ooohhh.' Booz, Carlos Boozer's like, 'Kooobe, good to see you bro. Dang, we haven't seen you in a bit. How come you came today?' And he was just stone-faced. And he was like, 'I just came by to say bye to some of you bums who are getting traded tomorrow.' ... I remember one of my teammates was just like, 'I lost all motivation to practice.'"
It's a perfectly on-brand moment for Bryant, whose indomitable drive for greatness certainly wouldn't allow him to be pleasant with teammates during such an abysmal season. Sure it was harsh in the moment, but Lin seemed able to see the humor in the situation some five years later.
Imagine being on the #Lakers with Kobe Bryant and going into February w/ trading deadline approaching with a 13-34 record. @JLin7 recalled a practice during that 2014-15 season.
New episode: https://t.co/jsBv5kEzV3
: @DGreen_14 & @HarrisonSanford
Presented by @JackBox pic.twitter.com/tXHkjDEZOq
— Inside The Green Room (@GreenRoomInside) May 14, 2020
Maybe Lin felt better knowing he wasn't among those traded that season (though he didn't return to Los Angeles the following season, joining the Hornets instead).