Ep2: Kobe's 1st Quarter


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The creation story of the 2008 Redeem Team begins in the residue of the 1992 Dream Team, as does the redemption story of Kobe Bryant, who played such an important role when he later not just joined the Redeem Team but played the pivotal role of "team energizer." Hosts Jack McCallum and J.A Adande examine the young Kobe — fresh out of high school, clueless in many ways about the NBA baskeTball game — and, with a lot of Zen Master insight from guest (and winningest coach in NBA history) Phil Jackson — follow Kobe through the highs of championship glory, the painful lows of a sexual assault charge, and the dismantling of a mini-dynasty.


We asked Phil Jackson to summarize his relationship with Kobe Bryant and he made it sound like something from a work of literature:

PHIL JACKSON: I think it's almost like a Prodigal Son story. There I go into a father limination illustration. There's a conflict and there’s a willfulness and there's selfishness and there's “I could do this on my own” type of thing. And then there's a the second life or second opportunity that really brings back tenderness, yielding. It really took two of us to have that complicated relationship early on, trying to both be willful or directed, and Kobe’s was to establish himself.

His identity and maybe to establish what a team had to do to win, the direction that teams have to have: this unselfish behavior. And bending that will I think was done, sometimes, in unusual ways. Like one time, I arrived at the facility where I had a parking spot that was designated as mine, and there was Kobe’s car in my parking spot; things like that. Just to know that he was going to irritate me and me not reacting to it at all, just going on about the day, not taking on umbrage. So we forged something that was harmonious and that was one of the joys of our life. My former pal and partner Jeanie Buss says that we raised him as a son of our own.

J.A. ADANDE: So you can see why we had to clear the way for this. Much like Kobe isolating on the wing so he could go one-on-one — although I'd say Kobe's ability to steal the spotlight is part of The Lakers and the way they steal the spotlight. There's something about that franchise…

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