Today, we share highlights from this week’s episode of “The Dream Team Tapes: Kobe, LeBron & The Redeem Team” from Diversion Podcasts. This week hosts, Jack McCallum and J.A. Adande share details in the team’s final moments of prep before the Beijing Olympics.
During the episode you’ll hear from Coach K, Jason Kidd and Jerry Colangelo as they reflect on the team’s opening game vs. China, and an important meeting that took place between Kobe Bryant and Coach K, regarding his questionable shot selection.
Highlight and timestamps include:
- Jason Kidd looks back on the time the team bus left Kobe behind for a night out in Macau but were ultimately decided to turn back and get him (25:42-26:52):
“We were leaving the hotel to go to a party and we were waiting and unfortunately he [Kobe] wasn’t on time so we left...And mid-way through the drive we got a call that we have to turn around and go get Kobe. LeBron was not happy about it but give LeBron credit, we did turn around and went to pick up Kobe and let Kobe know that you have to be on time or we’re leaving….but we came back to get you this one time.”
- Jason Kidd on experiencing Kobe’s preference to taking extremely difficult shots during games and practices (30:53-32:25):
Jason Kidd: “Kobe would take some crazy shots. There was a point in practice where I asked if he could catch-and-shoot. And he looked at me like I was speaking a different language...Do you always have to dribble the ball to shoot. I think he took offense to it at first, but I was really actually trying to help him make the game easier.”
- Coach K on scheduling a meeting to reign in Kobe’s shot selection and play style before the Beijing games (34:03-34:45):
“We’re gonna win and in the first half, Kobe started taking Kobe Laker shot, which they had not been doing all game...and LeBron he looks at me and I know we got a real problem...I told him I will take care of this trust me…So we were up all night as a staff trying to figure out how to handle this and I said give me his shots on a computer and I’ll have an individual meeting with Kobe. So I’m really apprehensive let’s put it this way about having this meeting but I gotta do it, I said I’d take care of it.”
- Coach K on Kobe’s reaction to the meeting about his meeting about shot selection (35:20-36:16):
“So I brought him in and I said, look I wanna talk to you about shot selection. Let’ stake a look at these shots and I said ‘they’re bullshit shots. You can’t do that when you have Carmelo and Lebron. It erodes what we’re doing.’ So I don’t know what I’m gonna get but what I get is like a gift from god. He just said, ‘You’re right I won’t do that. What else?’”
- Sean Ford and Jerry Colangelo discuss how the team was surprised by Kobe’s insane popularity in China and the initial reaction he received upon the team’s arrival (41:09-42:24):
Sean Ford: “The games leading up to the Olympics, 2:00 in the morning there were 10,000 people in the streets lined up waiting, yelling ‘KOBE, KOBE, KOBE’! He was larger than life for those people and that was a revelation for me, just how big he had become and how big the market was over there for NBA Players.”
Jerry Colangelo: “It was amazing! The players when we would go and if it were somewhere with a crowd they would always make Kobe go first, because they would go crazy for him and the other guys could walk around unnoticed.”
- Jerry Colangelo on discovering Henry Kissenger asleep during team USA’s opening game against China (50:05-51:17):
“President Bush and his father and the whole Bush clan wanted me to sit with them and usually during a game I’m not a very good host in terms of small talk but I agreed to do that since it’s the President….And as I’m going to my seat I notice somebody sleeping in the midst of all this and it was [Henry] Kissenger. Kissenger was sound asleep during everything that was going on.”