“I’d a better chance of making a shot 1v5 than passing to my teammates!”: When Kobe Bryant p*ssed off Rick Fox after shooting 47 times in a game when Shaquille O’Neal was out for the Lakers
Kobe Bryant was probably the most famous ‘chucker’ in basketball history, in addition to being the most beloved player.
It’s been over 2 years since Bryant passed from this mortal world. But as long as we keep taking his name with the joy he gave us fans, Kobe is alive. That doesn’t mean, however, that he was faultless – quite the contrary.
There were times when Kobe would snap at his own teammates and get ridiculed by his own fans and coaches. He’d also be repeatedly guilty of chucking in games when he felt he had to go it alone. In addition, he also had an unapologetic air when talking about those instances.
Phil Jackson and other people who Kobe worked with in basketball would often point to this tendency of his as a weakness. The trouble with Kobe was that he played nearly all his career without another dominant wing or a dominant PG.
This put the onus more on him both to shoot at a volume from the perimeter and to create for his teammates. The fact that Kobe had the ball in his hands all the time meant that he’d get his own volume up. But in many cases, he’d shoot the Lakers out of games with his bad shot selection.
Also Read – I don’t know if that was a steal or a block but I got two blocks! Steph Curry hilariously rejoices after playing defense at the All-Star Game en route to another Team LeBron James victory.
One such instance happened in the 2002-03 season, when Shaquille O’Neal ruled himself out for the start with an ankle surgery that he scheduled for during the season.
Phil Jackson and Rick Fox had contrasting reactions after Kobe Bryant shot it 47 times in a loss
The Lakers took on the Celtics early in the 2002-03 season in their attempt to gear up for a 4th straight championship run. But without Shaq, it was clear that the team needed to fall back heavily on Kobe, and that they did.
On a night when not a single Laker could hit a barn door with a bazooka, Bryant ended up taking 47 shots. He only made 14 of them, although he did make 8 of his 13 attempts in the 3rd quarter.
He was also the only Lakers player consistently able to generate a reasonable look – the rest of them were held up tightly by a spirited Celtics defense on the night. And he took the same approach in the post-game presser, saying:
“We were down 15 points [at halftime]. I think a lot of my teammates were discouraged and looking for direction to put the ball in the hole. We weren’t shooting the ball very well. It was my job to come out and instill confidence in everybody else that we could come back and we can make shots and we can win the game.”
But Rick Fox took exception to this on the night later on, as described by the Zen Master Phil Jackson:
“And Rick Fox stood up and he got real emotional and he was like, ‘Man, how do you think that makes us feel?’ and was going off on Kobe. And Kobe just looked at him right in the eyes and said, ‘Rick, you can get mad all you want, but that’s really how I feel.’…”
Also Read – You talk about not being able to handle the pressure, but LeBron James has managed it exceptionally! Throwback to King James’ first Nike commercial about freezing under pressure.