Many have told stories of Kobe Bryant‘s tenacity on the basketball court.
He was worth the price of admission.
Bryant won five rings with the Los Angeles Lakers alongside greats like Shaquille O’Neal.
The retired 20 year NBA vet and five time NBA champion died in a helicopter crash that took the lives of nine people, including Bryant’s daughter, Gigi on Sunday, January 26.
Bryant was a rookie and barely 18. He fell during a pickup game at Venice Beach and broke his left wrist. The injury benched Bryant for most of the preseason training camp.
Check out more in our Q&A below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You played for the Lakers. You also were an assistant for the Lakers in 2015. It must have been a dream come true being from Pasadena playing for the hometown team.
Tracy Murray: It was a dream come true but it was a bittersweet experience as a player. It was right after my orthoscopic hip surgery, Toronto let me go. I never wanted to leave Toronto. It was a special place to me where I reestablished my career. Never wanted to leave ‘em, but they were sending me home. I was excited to come home and possible play for another championship. To be able to play with Shaq — a good friend of mine since my McDonald’s All-American days, to play with Kobe – when Kobe first came to L.A., he came to Venice Beach and played at the Venice Beach League (aka Hoopers Paradise) and that’s where the infamous ‘broken wrist’ happened. You know, we had the same agent. I told him he had nothing to prove to people out there but, Kobe loved the game. He wanted to play. You know, to be able to team up with both of those guys – DFish [Derrick Fisher] was my neighbor, Rick Fox, B-Shaw was one of my good friends since I was a kid man… I went out to UC-Santa Barbara when B-Shaw was up there at UC-Santa Barbara when I was taking one of my unofficial visits in high school. To be able to be playing with people that you’ve known for such a long time, you have friendships and relationships with – Samaki Walker played with my brother so it’s like, I know everybody so, I’m cool with everybody on the team so I really enjoyed those guys on the court, off the court you know, just the camaraderie with them…I enjoyed it. My role with the team, or the lack of communication of what my role with the team I really didn’t care for. And that’s what bothered me with my dealings with Phil [Jackson]. I have respect for Phil. There’s no personal beef there, I just didn’t appreciate how he responded to me. When I knew that he wasn’t talking to me, I knew I wasn’t going to play at all, I wasn’t in the plans. So instead of being an a-hole and pouting and everything, I just had fun – I’m home. I’m in front of my family. Let me sit in the back with everybody and let me shoot jokes with everybody on the road trips on the plane. Don’t let me be a negative influence or be a cancer because we have an opportunity to win a championship. So I took a different route with that, but I knew there was going to be some drawback from the fans and people talking to him on the loading dock, questioning him about me – I was California State Player of the Year, UCLA All-American all that stuff… I knew that it was not planned and that eventually he would ask me if I was putting people up to him. I don’t have to. This is home for me. People are going to asking ‘Why aren’t they playing me’… you know, it was one of those situations where I was coming to a championship team. You know he could’ve said that to me. ‘Look, I’m bringing you in for insurance. You know, just be ready at all times. Be ready at the end of the season when the payoffs start – I knew I was coming off of orthoscopic hip surgery. I knew I wasn’t the same. I knew I was getting stronger throughout the year to where I was going to peak at that time. I knew he didn’t like rookies. He was playing TWO rookies. So I was confused the whole year about that situation with my role and that’s the part that was bitter. The sweet part was everything else: staying at home, sleeping in my bed, seeing my family, being with guys, being a part of that Lakers organization in which I dreamed of playing for. And of course it was blessing to come back and get the experience of coaching with Byron Scott in the organization that I loved and I grew up loving so much. So I’ll say it again. It was a bittersweet experience but, I enjoyed my time, most of the time