Deron Williams Had A Dream Of Teaming With Kobe Bryant On The Lakers, But It Never Materialized

The late, great Kobe Bryant is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. Bryant’s work ethic and approach to the game influenced an entire generation. The five-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer is universally praised for his preparation and dedication to the game of basketball. 

Drawing inspiration from Bryant’s legacy, former NBA All-Star Deron Williams shared a personal story on ‘The No Media Show,’ with his co-hosts Ashley Nevel and Famous Los, revealing what team he hoped to join but never did.

“Yeah, the Lakers. I wanted to play with Kob [Kobe Bryant],” Williams disclosed. “Especially, I played with D Fish [Derek Fisher] my second year [with the Utah Jazz], and he went back to the Lakers. I loved playing with Fish. I loved Fish on and off the court. He was a good mentor for me and taught me about the league and the game. Obviously, the Lakers organization is what they are—they win. That was what I was about, so I definitely wanted to go back and play with Kob.”

 

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Williams and Bryant were teammates during the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and their bond left a lasting impression on Williams. In an interview with Raja Bell and Logan Murdock on the’ Real Ones podcast,’ Williams said that Bryant’s influence on the 2008 Olympic team was contagious.

“When you see, at the time, he and LeBron were probably the best players in the world, arguably. It was kind of one of those battles that went back and forth at that time. You see this man, the work ethic he is putting in, the hours he is putting in the gym, the extra shots he is putting up. You can’t help but be inspired. You’re not going to just sit down on the sideline while he’s still out here—I think he was 30 at the time. Seeing him do that, I’m 23 years old, I gotta get up there too.”

According to the New York Times, during the 2008 pre-Olympics training camp, Bryant was the first player to arrive. He even beat most of the Team USA coaching staff to the training facility. The Lakers legend would work out at 5:30 am and later inspired other members, such as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade to follow suit.

“I think Kobe challenged everybody,” said Jim Boeheim, one of the team’s assistants and the head coach of men’s basketball at Syracuse. “He was like, ‘I’m going to defend the toughest guy on every team, I’m going to push everyone, so just come along with me.’ And he did that from Day 1.”

Williams’s story demonstrates that while our aspirations may not come to fruition, the influence of those we admire and learn from can shape our journeys in unexpected and significant ways.

 

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