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Luke Walton Recalls the Time He Was Hungover at Practice and Kobe Lit Him Up
We might have closed the book on the Kobe era, but that doesn’t mean the stories have to stop. Lakers coach Luke Walton recalled an instance in his rookie campaign when he showed up to practice smelling like booze after a big night out and Kobe decided to teach him a lesson.
He said on the Open Run podcast, via Silver Screen and Roll:
“I remember one time my rookie year, I came in a little, uh him (Kobe Bryant) and Shaq like to do this as, I think it was just rookies, but any young guy, I probably had too much to drink the night before, 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 no one was allowed to help me on defense, and that I had to guard him the entire practice.
“I was laughing at first like, ‘Oh, this is funny,’ but in Kobe’s mind, in his eyes, it was like, ‘No, I see and smell weakness, I’m going to destroy you today.’ He taught me that lesson. He probably scored 70-something in practice that day, and I was begging for help, none of the teammates would help. But yeah, his killer instinct and his work ethic, they’ll stick with me forever.”
Then, he recalled when Shaq did pretty much the same thing:
“Shaq did it to me too one day. Yeah, Shaq made me guard him, and then I just started trying to foul him, and he told me that if I kept fouling him, he was gonna punch me, so then I stopped fouling him. It wasn’t fair. I felt like I was a child trying to play a grown man’s game.”
Is it too early to become nostalgic for this era of basketball?
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