Jeremy Lin: Kobe Bryant Called Some Lakers 'Bums' Ahead of 2015 Trade Deadline

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, right, talks to Jeremy Lin during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The 2014-15 season was one of the most forgettable of Kobe Bryant's career. Returning from an Achilles rupture that cost him all but six games of the previous season, Bryant's body was showing the wear and tear of a long career by February 2015. 

The Lakers, meanwhile, were mired in the bottom of the Western Conference standings on pace for one of their worst seasons in franchise history.

Jeremy Lin, who was part of that Lakers team, recalled a quintessentially Kobe story from one day before the 2015 deadline on the Inside the Green Room podcast (h/t SB Nation):

"I remember at this time he had gotten hurt and he was out for the season, so he wasn't around for quite some time, just rehabbing and being away from the team and stuff. And then all of a sudden after we hadn't seen him in a few weeks... he walks in the gym, and this is the day before the trade deadline, and we're all about to start practice. We're stretching, doing our dynamic warm-up or whatever.

"And then he comes in, sweatshirt, he has a sling for his hurt shoulder, he has his shades on, his Kobe shades. And he walks in and everyone's like 'ohhhhhhhhhh' and Booz, Carlos Boozer, is like 'Kob! Good to see you bro! Dang, we haven't seen you in a bit, how come you came today?'

"And he was just stone-faced, and he was like 'I just came by to say bye to some of you bums who are going to get traded tomorrow.' And then he sits down at the table where you control the scoreboard at the practice facility and he said a couple words to the coach, and then he left. And I remember one of my teammates was just like 'I lost all motivation to practice.'"

Fortunately for the "bums" on the roster, none of them wound up being traded at the 2015 deadline. Partly because the Lakers roster was so bereft of talent that few teams had interest in anyone on their roster. The Lakers would finish 21-61, the worst record in franchise history at the time, and Bryant didn't play a single game after the deadline—not even traveling with the team on the road.

For some on the roster, that may have been their last significant moment with Kobe as their teammate. The Lakers turned over a sizable portion of their roster heading into 2015-16, Bryant's final season in the NBA. It turns out Kobe was right; he just had the timing off.