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It was one of the most amazing things Laker fans have ever witnessed.
Just minutes after tearing his Achilles tendon back in April, Kobe Bryant stayed in the game in order to take – and make – two clutch free throws.
However, at the time, Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson thought that Bryant was faking the injury.
Now, Jackson regrets doubting Kobe and not calling a timeout after Bryant made the free throws, according to Yahoo! Sports:
“Even in the midst of going against him I’m in huddle I’m saying, ‘Don’t fall for the okeydoke. He’s all right. Don’t allow him to take over this game,’ not knowing that he was really hurt,” Jackson said. “That’s one regret I have. If had to do it again I would have called a timeout and allowed him to walk off the floor.”
“If I would’ve known Kobe Bryant was hurt I would’ve called a timeout,” Jackson said. “They would have not had to call a timeout. That’s how much respect I have for him.”
Bryant had taken a few knocks during the game before his Achilles gave way, but each time he was able to walk it off and continue playing. Maybe Jackson thought this would be another one of those injuries that the Black Mamba would be able to play through.
Sadly, it wasn’t.
Jackson apologized to Bryant while they were in China during the pre-season. How did Bryant react to the news? It was “typical Kobe” according to Jackson.
“He said thank you, appreciate it and he’s coming at us next time he sees us.”