Kobe Bryant never seemed to be the kind of NBA player that would retire to a run-of-the-mill life after basketball. In keeping with that assumption, Bryant has been quite active in the entertainment world, winning an Oscar and generally staying in the spotlight and remaining quite busy.
To that end, Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated profiled Bryant this week and, while the entire piece is absolutely worth a read, one particular nugget certainly jumped off the page. In short, Bryant went against his pre-retirement motto to never coach basketball and things get even more interesting from there.
Bryant normally returns to the office around 3:30, logs another couple of hours and then heads to practice. He vowed he would never coach but broke his promise for Gianna’s 12-year-old AAU team, the Mambas, which he runs like the 2010 Lakers. The Mambas practice five days a week. They run the triangle offense. They wear Nike-issued black-and-white uniforms. Bryant encourages them to spend entire days without using their right hands. “Brush your teeth with your left,” he instructs. He pores over practice tape and calls UConn coach Geno Auriemma for advice. Gianna, whose jutted jaw and silky fadeaway were inherited from her father, hopes to play for the Huskies.
Bryant is famously competitive and it is definitely on-brand for him to take things too seriously in this arena. Given the age of his daughter, Gianna, it seems at least slightly overboard to be directing full-scale practices five days a week and, to be sure, the installation of the triangle offense had to be an adventure for everyone on the Mambas.
At some point, basketball fans almost have to hope that unedited footage of Bryant conducting practice surfaces, if only for the entertainment value. Bryant seems to have rubbed off on his daughter when it comes to at least two characteristics from Jenkins’ reporting but, if nothing else, he appears dedicated to his new-found coaching craft.