The Mamba Mentality was very real, and former Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw learned that lesson during his tenure with the team.
Shaw played for a number of teams throughout his NBA career, capped off by a stint with the Lakers, from 1999-2003. It was a wise career move, as he won three titles during that span.
The Lakers must’ve really liked him, because they brought him back as an assistant coach in 2005. He held that position until 2011, which allowed him to work with Kobe Bryant for over a decade.
The anniversary of Kobe’s death is coming up on Tuesday, and Shaw — as others have been doing — shared a story of going toe-to-toe with the Lakers legend in practice.
“In practice that day, Phil Jackson gave Kobe that practice off,” Shaw said, via azcentral.com. “And Kobe said, ‘No.’ We went over to a side basket, and he worked on his post moves.
“He said, ‘I want you to pull my arm down; I want you to smack my arms; and if they’re not gonna call fouls for me, then I’ve just got to play through it.’
“So when he first started to make his moves, I was just smacking him a little bit. And he kept saying, ‘Harder! HARDER!’ And I would smack him harder, and it was to the point where I was almost fighting him.”
That’s just the type of player — and person, for that matter — Kobe was. His intensity and dedication to his craft were among the many reasons he developed into one of the top 10 NBA players of all time.