So, naturally it was tough for Gasol to tell Bryant that he was leaving the Lakers for less money to join what could be a potential contender in the Chicago Bulls.
As Brett Pollakoff reported via Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles:
“It was difficult,” Gasol told reporters when asked about informing Bryant of his decision to sign with the Bulls. “We have a close friendship. We’ve been through a lot together, and I’m sure I will miss him. But we talked to each other and our relationship goes beyond basketball and we’ll always have a friendship.
“It was difficult to talk to him, but he was very supportive and he understood. He just said I had to do what was best for me and what felt right for me and he was going to support me no matter what. That’s what friends and brothers do, and that’s what we are.”
Kobe's competitiveness is legendary but I recently came across this tidbit which blew me mind and put into context just how tough this talk must have been:
During an interview with Fox Sports Live, Phil Jackson shared an anecdote from one of the first times Kobe and MJ met. After a Lakers game the year following Jordan’s second retirement in 1999, Jackson asked his former superstar in Chicago to talk to his new talisman in Los Angeles a little bit.
“Let’s meet in the chairman’s room after the game, I want you to talk to Kobe a little,” Jackson recalled asking Jordan. “I think if you convince him to just wait, just be patient allow the game to come to him … because the team kind of loses their offensive direction.”
Jackson led Jordan into the meeting room where Kobe was waiting.
“The first thing Kobe says is, ‘I could kick your ass one-on-one,’” Jackson said.
Follow Clint on Twitter @ClintCorey Clint Corey 7/23/2014 12:47:00 PM Tweet