What makes the Mamba? 5 little-known stories about Kobe that further his legend
#2 Kobe trash talks Tyson Chandler, then backs it up
Like Kobe, Tyson Chandler is one of the few to excel in the NBA after getting drafted out of high school in 2001. The Bulls selected him with the #2 pick, and he went on to become a defensive centerpiece for several good-to-great NBA teams before winning a championship with the Mavericks in 2011.
Kobe and Chandler also teamed up to win Team USA the 2012 Olympics Gold Medal in London. The two enjoy a healthy, mutual respect, and like Kobe, Tyson Chandler has always been a competitor by word and deed. That is what makes this tale from his days with the New Orleans Hornets so wholesome:
"The thing that makes him so unstoppable is that he never stops coming. This year we were up in New Orleans by like 12 in the 4th quarter with 5-6 minutes left, and we pretty much had the game in control. And (Kobe) was there on the free throw line and he was like 'You know I ain't going to let us lose right?', and I looked back at him and I was like 'What!? Man I ain't letting my team lose!'. And he was like 'Alright but I just know I ain't going to let my team lose.' And I went back at him 'Well I ain't going to let my team lose!'
"Right after that, man... he ran off like 15 straight points on us. And I was looking at the scoreboard going 'Come on, let the time run down', and I'm like he can't beat us single-handedly especially after I was just sitting there talking crap back and forth to him."
"We ended up winning the game, but he almost beat us! He almost beat us by himself. But his drive, looking into his eyes, some guys can say 'Yeah we gonna win the game'. But you look at him looking at you stern in the face telling you 'We winning the game'. He almost made you believe it! He almost made me believe that we about to lose! I love that drive about him. I want to take that next year."
"Byron Scott was telling me, before we played them in LA, and coach was like 'That guy on the other side, he's playing for a ring. He understands what this moment is. He understands that he's going to take our hearts out now. He knows what he's playing for. And all you guys in this locker room you're going to have to match that. He's playing for only one thing, and that's a ring.'
"And going out of the locker room, I was like 'One guy over there, is making this whole locker room focus on him.' And I was like that needs to be me, I need to be like this guy that the whole locker room over there talks about."Published 24 Aug 2018, 18:48 IST