Jon Barry was a teammate of Kobe Bryant for a year, back in 1997-98. He details the Lakers legend’s obsession with Michael Jordan and basketball.
There are very few basketball players who you can say are virtually identical in their playing style, and mean it. But when talking about Kobe Bryant, the name of Michael Jordan automatically comes up.
The Black Mamba spent years – decades – to try and add every facet of MJ’s arsenal to his own skillset. It got to a point where Kobe’s obsession with his idol got him moving to a polyphasic sleep cycle and working out several hundred hours a year more than his competitors.
Perhaps that’s the reason why MJ seemed to only have a soft spot for Kobe, and no one else. Jordan saw that Kobe had put in the work to be like Mike, and he owned up to it.
“He’d watch Michael Jordan interviews”: Former Lakers teammate describes how Kobe Bryant lived
Jon Barry played in the NBA for 14 years after being drafted by the Celtics in 1992. He’s currently an analyst for ESPN and has successfully transitioned into a pundit.
Barry was on the Dan Patrick Show today for a short interview segment lasting 17-odd minutes. One of the topics that Patrick touched on was obviously related to his Lakers tenure in 97-98.
Dan asked the former Laker whether Kobe and Shaq had any ego issues going on during his time in LA. Barry was quite forthright in revealing what he saw as Kobe’s obsession with greatness:
“I didn’t think that Kobe would care (about ego issues). He just wanted to play, that’s all he wanted and that’s all he did. Like, literally, he wouldn’t talk on our planes.”
“I believe he wrote a lot of lyrics, rap music, and he wouldn’t join in our games of cards and all that stuff. He would sit by himself, write, whatever he was doing, he would watch Michael Jordan interviews.”
“He would never go out to the city we went to. We’d never see him, he’d be at practice and we’d play 1-on-1 after, or throughout the practice, and if I didn’t say I’m leaving, he would never leave the gym.”