So much for Kobe Bryant being a guy that nobody wants to play with.
After Bryant passed Michael Jordan for third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list earlier this week, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant sent a text message the Black Mamba’s way to congratulate him.
Bryant is clearly someone Durant looks up to and admires, and something he said today will surely cause Laker fans to sit up and take notice.
According to Sam Amick from USA Today, Durant was adamant that the idea of players not wanting to team up with Bryant is simply ludicrous.
“Excuse my language, but that’s (expletive),” said Durant, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2016. “I want to play with a winner every single night, especially somebody who wants to win that bad, who works that hard, who demands a lot, who raises up your level. I’d want to play with a guy like that every day. … (His style) may make people uncomfortable, how he acts and just how he approaches the game, but I love that type of stuff. I think (the accusation) is BS.”
Before the start of the season, an article was released by Henry Abbott from ESPN that appeared to only be focused on assassinating Bryant’s character. The article was full of anonymous sources who implied that Bryant was the reason for the Lakers’ demise as a franchise.
Since the article was published, many players have spoken out and have collectively refuted the idea of Bryant being a bad teammate.
However, Kobe’s leadership style was a hot topic again last week after footage of him talking trash during practice was posted online.
Despite the mixed reaction to the five-time NBA champion’s leadership methods, Durant says Bryant’s a-hole act is just fine in his eyes.
“Just his work ethic, just his demeanor man,” Durant said when asked what he admired about Bryant, according to Amick. “He doesn’t mind being an (expletive), and he comes to work man. He’s intense. He demands a lot out of his teammates, and I’ve seen that just playing alongside him in the Olympics (in 2012). He demands a lot out of everybody. He makes them better. Everybody out on the court. You’ve got to respect that. As a player, I study guys like that. We might not have the same personality, but I think we approach the game the same way and I’ve learned a lot from just watching him.”