“I enjoy passing things on. … If we’re not helping the world move forward, what are we doing?” Kobe says.
All of his living mentors –Michael Jordan, Jerry West, Bill Russell, Phil Jackson — have paid homage to him this year. So I change tacks and ask whether it feels good to know they are proud.
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He doesn’t budge.
“When I get a phone call from Bill Russell and I talk to Jerry West and we’re just kind of shooting the shit, that’s awesome because that means that these guys, who were my muses growing up, respect the way that I’ve carried on their legacy,” he says.
“But as a person, I do not need that. That does not complete me as a man or make me feel fulfilled, because I have their approval for what I do.”
“He kept pushing buttons. He kept getting frustrated. More and more frustrated.”
There’s no smirk as he says this. “Do you think he was trying to control you?”
Phil Jackson once wrote that Kobe was “un-coachable” and revealed that he’d urged Lakers management to trade him. After that, the two went on to win two more championships together.
“Yeah,” Kobe says. “Because that’s his job as a coach. To try and manage a team.”
Elite Youth Teemu Selanne Jersey He’s left an opening. “So what you’re saying is that nobody can control you.”
“Well, no,” he says. “Thinking about it now. Yes, I am un-coachable, because you don’t have to manage me.”
He says he has a “beautiful” relationship with Jackson now. He has learned from the Zen Master’s emphasis on staying in the moment. This year, he says, he took Jackson’s advice in how to approach his farewell tour. Break it up into sections, Jackson told him. Appreciate each emotion for what it is, without making it bigger than the current moment.
He still doesn’t think Jackson ever needed to push his buttons like he did, though.
“I don’t play for the fame,” Kobe says. “I don’t play for the approvals. There is nothing you need to say to me. Just tell me what you need me to do. My love is already here for the game.”