Nate McMillan remembers the first team meeting of the American mens basketball team.
Super stars poured in, LeBron, Wade, Bosh and Anthony seated one by one. Many people habitually choose to sit in the back row, while assistants usually sit in the first row. Kobe Bryant, 29, sat in the second row listening to Coach K and was clearly separated from his teammates.
At that time, he was not too enthusiastic with his teammates. In 2006, he withdrew from World Cup training due to injury, which was the first time he had met the team formally.
The players in the back row were all in one, laughing and chatting. Kobe knows them, but he doesnt know them. McMillan said.
This has something to do with Kobes style of play. Kobe is a man who does not allow himself to be too close to his opponents. Even though he had contact with other players in the All-Star Game and even had been a teammate, he was not really familiar with them.
After that meeting, Bryant returned to the gym alone to practice shooting. As an assistant teacher, McMillan took the initiative to help him pick up rebounds, so they talked.
They are talking about the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games and Kobes role in the national team. McMillan said that the United States was eager to achieve team unity. To win the gold medal successfully, Kobe needed to help the team produce good chemical reactions.
Bryant listened carefully and admitted that he was thinking about something else.
He was at his peak, but he was already thinking about his retirement life. In his spare time, Bryant has begun to do some creative work to lay the foundation for his future Dear Basketball and literary career.
What I focused on at that time was very simple. As you can see, I hardly have time to socialize, to train, to write, to learn to write and to make movies, Bryant said. My days schedule is really busy, not that I dont like socializing, but that I am too busy.
Kobe Bryants investment in training has long been known in the world, and his attitude is invaluable for the American mens basketball team. His Mamba spirit led the mens basketball team to the final gold medal, which is still talked about. The status of the Redemption Team has always been compared with that of the Dream Team in 1992. This is not only the rebirth of the mens basketball team, but also an important turning point in Kobes personal career.
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Since professional players were allowed to play for the national team, the American mens basketball team has dominated the international basketball world for most of the time. Magicians and Jordan led the Dream Team, which made an epic at the Barcelona Olympics. Their opponents have become their fans.
But in the 21st century, international basketball has developed rapidly. By the 2002 World Cup, the United States lost to Argentina with Ginobis interest rate; the 2004 Olympic Games even won bronze medals.
McMillan also said: After losing in 2004, the attitude of the American team towards the Olympics is different from before. Our attitude has been criticized so much that our reputation has worsened. The Basketball Association wants to regain respect and regain its dominance.
In 2005, Basketball Association Chairman Jerry Crongilo began to reform and build the Avenger League, requiring players to be more interested in the national team competition, and to participate, they must commit to a three-year service period.
Getting Kobes promise is the key to their team building. Crongilo personally invited Bryant to play an organizer for the national team, breaking the stereotype of him.
Kobe agreed. What he saw was Coach Ks face.
Coach K, who graduated from West Point Military Academy, instilled patriotism in the players. Some Army leaders were invited to teach the players and explain to them the glory of serving the country. These stories shocked Kobe. He said, To play for the national team is a way for us to contribute to the United States. Whether its for the Lakers, the Spurs or the Heat, its not the same as wearing the national team gown.
Kobe Bryant missed training for the American mens basketball team in 2006 because of a knee injury, but in 2007 he played in the Americas Cup.
Crongilo said: That summer, he just participated in the first training and set the tone for the team. From the moment he jumped the ball, Kobe took the initiative to save it, and that was the beginning of the Redemption Team.
People were wondering how Kobe would get along with his new teammates. Jason Kidd recalled: People were talking about how LeBron and Kobe would be teammates and whether they could live together peacefully?
Kobes image is somewhat polarized. Hes kind of like a lone ranger, Crongilo said. Its hard for people to understand his ideas, but there are all kinds of stereotypes about him.
But training day after day has brought players closer. At that time, we all stayed in the same hotel and had the same schedule, so I was closer to my teammates. Bryant said.
At that time, Kobe always arrived at the stadium early to start training, and then gradually some players began to imitate him to get up early and cooperate with his travel habits. Wade was the first.
He first made an appointment with me to meet at the training hall at 5 a.m., then LeBron joined in, and then everyone started training at 5 a.m.
Morning training also gave birth to their Olympic Breakfast Club.
Teammates started to get up early and train with me, and then they continued shooting, so we got familiar with each other. Bryant said.
Now that his words have weight, Bryant began to focus his teams preparedness on video research. He asked the coaching team to prepare a video collection of the main scorers in each team. His logic was that it was easy for opponents to study videos of American players, but American players did not know them well enough.
Of course, American players dont actively look for these videos, so Kobe showed them, reminding them not to be too arrogant, the United States team may not be able to win them. Kobe insists that many of his opponents have secret weapons.
Many players are young and have no experience of winning international championships. Bryant said, I have to make them understand that some international players are very strong, either because they are not in the NBA or because they are not able to play in the NBA. Its people who choose to stay in other leagues on their own initiative. If we look down on others, we will certainly pay the price. Believe me, I grew up in a foreign country. Ive seen all kinds of players, and if Im not careful, I may get into big trouble on the court.
When the Olympics start, Bryant will set an example. In the group qualifying match against Spain, Kobe Bryant put Rudy Fernandez on the outside line in a defensive round, and then came forward with Paul Gasol, who had been his teammate for half a year and reached the finals with him. Kobe was not soft and torn up with Gasol.
Kobe only said, (Gasol) knows me. Im not just playing. Im going to help the mens basketball team. And we lost to Celtics in the Finals, and I hope Paul understands that this attitude is what is needed to win the championship. So, I think its a double-edged game, one for the national team and one for Paul.
For 24-year-old LeBron, what Kobe did in this round was one of the moments in his impression that Kobes fighting spirit was best reflected.
Later, in an interview, he said, It was only a short time before the game started. He could use such a posture to defend and win, which really illustrates the problem. He seemed to have forgotten that Gasol was his teammate and that the Lakerstraining camp was about to start, and that they were about to meet in Los Angeles. Its crazy.
In the group game, the United States won five games, 116-85 in the quarter-finals against Australia and 101-81 in the semi-finals against Argentina. In the final, they met Spain again, and the competition went on very fast.
When Gasols key score tied 91, Crongilo was so nervous that he left the corner where he was and went to the lower stands to watch the ball. Bryant showed his big heart, scoring first, then assisting Drone Williams to shoot three points and making Dwight Howard a good dunk.
But Spain still managed to close the gap to less than five points, and at the critical moment, Bryant stood on the left side and made a tentative step against Fernandez, and after three points he managed to make a foul. When Wade went on to score three more points, the suspense was over.
LeBron embraced Michael Reed, Wade pointed to the sky, and Kobe turned to greet the cheering audience.
We celebrated so happily because we became friends and knew each other from the foundation laid by the training camp. Kidd said, That Olympic trip made people respect each others abilities and personalities more.
Two years after the Beijing Olympics, Bryant won two consecutive championships with the Lakers. In the two Olympic Games since then, the American Mens Basketball Team also won gold medals. The standard set by the Redemption Team is still there, thanks in large part to Kobe Bryant, who can become a big man in a team full of big men, and at the same time, he has learned a lot from his teammates.
Kidd, who is now Lakers coach and still has a close relationship with LeBron, said, Because Kobe, LeBron has benefited a lot, and vice versa. That Olympic Games basically made everyone in the national team better. Melon, Paul and LeBron all saw the halo of Kobe Bryant. Now, recalling the Redemption Teams gold medal, Crongilo is still happy. One of my greatest pleasures is watching Kobes performance in the national team. Hes different from everybody else. Hes a leader. Hes integrated into the team in this way. Hes different from everybody else. For those who only watch Kobes life in the Lakers, the Olympics should also be a new experience, so that they can see a different Kobe. For Bryant himself, the experience of winning gold will be of great benefit to his future development. Source of this article: Netease Sports Responsible Editor: Huang Yu_NS1604
Kidd, who is now Lakers coach and still has a close relationship with LeBron, said, Because Kobe, LeBron has benefited a lot, and vice versa. That Olympic Games basically made everyone in the national team better. Melon, Paul and LeBron all saw the halo of Kobe Bryant.
Now, recalling the Redemption Teams gold medal, Crongilo is still happy. One of my greatest pleasures is watching Kobes performance in the national team. Hes different from everybody else. Hes a leader. Hes integrated into the team in this way. Hes different from everybody else.
For those who only watch Kobes life in the Lakers, the Olympics should also be a new experience, so that they can see a different Kobe. For Bryant himself, the experience of winning gold will be of great benefit to his future development.