At the Olympics, Kobe Bryant got everyone fired up to play Spain, widely thought to be their hardest opponent and the non-US Gold Medal contenders.
Pau Gasol, Bryant’s pro-teammate, was the leader on the Spanish side. Pau tells the story of how when they arrived at the Olympics, Kobe came to see him, all friendly like, and how excited his teammates were to meet the superstar.
But before the two teams faced off, Kobe told the rest of the American side just how this was going to go down. They all knew Spain was good and that Pau was Kobe’s teammate. But this was the competition, and this was for the Gold medal.
As Lebron James remembers it, Kobe said, “I’m running through Pau’s f***-ing chest.”
Talk about setting the tone.
Even after he said it, the US team figured he was just talking. Pau and Kobe were teammates and friends. He was just trying to hype them up.
But Kobe kept going. He said he knew what play they’d run to open the game, and that Pau would be the last screen. And he added again, “I’m running through that motherf***er.”
What did Kobe do on the first play of the game? Watch.
The whole US team’s eyes collectively bugged. Kobe wasn’t there to be friends. He was there to win.
I haven’t watched The Redeem Team yet, but if this doesn’t get you amped up…
h/t John Clark