HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’ve seen him in this role unofficially throughout his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe Bryant serving as the Lakers’ coach on the floor — and sometimes the sideline, if you let some people tell it.
It’s an interesting dynamic … Kobe on the other side from his playing days. You wonder what his connection to the game will be when he does finally hang it up.
During his latest Nike Basketball tour, Kobe showed off his coaching touch (clearly channeling his inner Phil Jackson) in China, impressing upon youngsters the need to employ the “Mamba Mentality” on the court:
This is the Kobe the Lakers will see and hear until he comes back from that Achilles injury: a philosophical future Hall of Famer with plenty of wisdom to share with the willing.
The only other player on his level intellectually, Jason Kidd, needed just nine days to move from his playing career to his coaching career. Granted, Kidd had a very specific scenario unfold with the Brooklyn Nets to make that happen. But I could see Kobe coaching some day and coaching the Lakers even.
He doesn’t strike me as someone who will be able to simply walk away from the game and move on to the next phase of his life when he’s done playing. Love him or hate him, he’s one of the greatest competitors to grace the game and he has a basketball mind that even his biggest critics will agree is off the charts.
“Coach Kobe” … has a little bit of a ring to it, no?