So did the 2008 Boston Celtics squad with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Late Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant was still in the NBA during that period and during a recent episode of the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show, I asked Michael Redd, an Olympic teammate of Bryant’s during the gold medal winning 2008 U.S. Baskebtall team, if Bryant was less receptive to ‘buddy ball’ back then.
“I mean, we were older,” Redd said.
“Kobe’s a year older than me and at the time we were just different minded in that fact that we would never play with each other. We enjoyed each other. We were friends and boys but, I’m not working out with you… although me and Kobe we did work out together a couple of times in the summer together during our Olympic run, but the younger guys were the ones who really started that conversation up; and obviously they were close. They came in together. Same agents. Same draft with D-Wade, ‘Melo, Bosh and LeBron, Chris Paul right behind them…so those conversations were happening with them more so than the older guys.”
A five-time NBA Champion, Bryant did win championships with notable Lakers teammates like Shaquille O’Neal, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace during his career. However, those teammates came through trades as opposed to free agency.
Why would someone in Bryant’s age bracket be opposed to super teams?
A retired NBA All Star and an efficient three-point shooter who averaged 19 points per game in stints with the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns, Redd says that it was just a sign of the times. “Different mentality,” he said.
“Different era. Remember, social media wasn’t a factor. So the pressure to win a championship from a social media [standpoint] wasn’t even around. And you know, you look at the great players; Karl Malone, Pat Ewing, Reggie Miller…our mentality was to stay with one franchise our whole career and no matter how it turned out, we wanted to be with that one team. So yeah. It was a different mentality. There was never the pressure to win a championship to quantify if you had a great career or not. It just wasn’t there but, the competition level…it was more of a – I couldn’t wait to play against Kobe. I couldn’t wait to play against Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady. Who’s the better player that wins tonight? So, you measure yourself against the greatness that you played against every night more than cake walking through the NBA schedule so, it was a different vibe back then.”