If the Los Angeles Lakers weren't listening before, they sure are now.
It wasn't a long rant, maybe half a minute, but he left practice in a hurry, stalking off the court toward the end of it, irritated that the first team had lost to the reserves several times. He knocked some items off a table at midcourt on his way to the locker room and did not talk to reporters who were let in after his outburst.
Following his outburst, Los Angeles responded on Friday night in the form of a 122-103 win over the Denver Nuggets and improved to .500.
It was a different type of game for the Lakers, who hardly required the services of their best offensive scorer and emotional leader. Bryant netted 14 points, but the star of the game was Antawn Jamison.
The 14-year veteran scored 33 points off the bench in 33 minutes, connecting on five of 10 threes and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Dwight Howard was also dominant, scoring 28 points, snatching 20 boards and hitting a three-pointer with time winding down—only the second of his career.
Bryant also saw his backup light it up, as Jodie Meeks went 7-of-8 from three-point range to finish with 21 points. All in all, the Lakers bench outscored Denver's 61-47, as L.A. easily cruised to the 19-point victory.
Even after the Lakers' impressive win Friday night, Kobe wasn't about to let it get into his guys' heads (h/t L.A. Times):
"If guys are too happy, I need to bring them back down to Earth tomorrow."
It's clear to see that Bryant is the emotional leader of the Lakers, but what's more inspiring is that his teammates listened to him and were able to dominate without much help from the surefire Hall of Famer.
It's almost sad to think that grown men need a pep talk from their aging superstar just to win a basketball game—especially a team that features studs like Bryant and Howard—but it's remarkable nonetheless what kind of impact Kobe's speech had on his teammates.
Now if only Rex Ryan could get Kobe on a plane to New York.
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