I probably had too much to drink the night before. So, I came in. I was a rookie. I felt good. And they could smell some alcohol on me, and Kobe informed the rest of the team that nobody was allowed to help me on defense and that I had to guard him the entire practice.
And I was laughing at first, like, “Oh, this is funny.” But in Kobe’s mind, in his eyes, it was like, “No. I see and smell weakness. I’m going to destroy you today.” And he taught me that lesson. He taught me that lesson. I mean, he probably scored 70-something in practice that day, and I’m begging for help. None of the teammates would help.
But his killer instinct and his work ethic, they’ll stick with me forever.
Lakers Coach Luke Walton talks about two different style coaches in his career.
Luke on his college coach:
Coach [Lute] Olson always used to ask: 'What were you thinking?!' Walton says, recalling his playing days at the University of Arizona. And if you tried to answer it, he'd say: 'You always have an excuse for everything.' So I learned. He's asking me, but he doesn't really care what I say; he's just letting me know he knows I messed up.
Luke on Coach Phil Jackson:
When I first got to the Lakers, I messed up something in one of the first practices, and Phil was like, 'Luke! What were you thinking on that?' I forget what the play was. Something in the triangle. But I didn't say a word; I'm not falling for this.
It was like an awkward silence for 10 seconds. And he was like, 'No, seriously. Until you tell me what you were thinking, we're not moving on.' I still thought he was messing with me. Eventually, I answered him.
There are different styles of coaching. For me, I like the back and forth. Especially at this level. These are some of the best players in the world. They didn't just get here by accident. They're really good at what they do. And sometimes they have ideas that might be different from what we do but might work better with the personnel we have.
Bosses demand a "get it done" attitude where they define a "team player" as someone who will never question authority, shut up, and do what they say.
Leaders seek understanding. Leaders teach you to think for yourself. Leaders define goals but give you room to test your own strategies and maximize your strengths.
Walton killed interview with Jim Buss & Mitch Kupchak, showing all he has learned about coaching. Lakers decided to lock him up immediately.
At the press conference, fellow teammate, Luke Walton, breaks up the awkward silence with a question: