When Byron Scott went back to the city and team that made him a name, he was elated that he will be coaching one of the best players in the history of the game. Further that he knew, that this was going to be Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour.
Surprised with the news, Scott was thinking that Kobe would still stay with the organization for a couple more years.
“I thought he probably had at least had another year in him,” Scott said.
“I know his purpose is to finish out this season and play. I don’t know what he’s thinking as far as playing well or getting back somewhere near to the level that he’s accustomed to getting. I think when you decide this is it, you also come to grips that you’re not the same player that you used to be.”
Scott further detailed that Bryant never really told him the exact reasons on why he is retiring but he can only assume.
“It was so matter of fact and it was so at peace, which, after I thought about it, I felt better about that. It wasn’t like he was agonizing over it or anything. He was just like, ‘Yeah, I’m announcing I’m retiring.’ He just kind of went on from there.”
With everything said for Kobe, Scott shares that he will always treasure every moment with the “Black Mamba” from the time he met him to the present day.
“Everything. I can go all the way back to when he was this young guy out there just shooting in the dark at the Forum before the lights came on, before practice was 2-3 hours away, to this point where he’s still at the practice facility 2-3 hours before everybody else getting shots up. I’ll have great memories of spending a lot of time with him as a rookie and then getting a chance to spend his last years as a basketball player.”
“I witnessed an 18-year-old that came into this league that told me two months after we started the season, when I asked him what he wanted to be in this league, he told me the best. And I saw that come to light for a long period of time. So, yeah, it’s hard to just kind of see guys, especially somebody that you care about.”
Now that the Scott will be steering Bryant’s farewell party, he stressed that he will not change what is the role for Kobe for this team.
“I still want him to go out on a very positive note. And I think there’s a part of me that feels that he’s still going to have those glimmers of having some of the games that I know he’s capable of having. I don’t know how many that may be or how few it may be. But I think that’s still the hope that I have.”
In addition to that, Scott hopes that Bryant will mentor the young Lakers and carry on his legacy.
“I just want him to mentor these guys a little bit more, on the court and off the court, because these are still a bunch of puppies,” Scott said. “I just hope they understand who they’ve been around for the last couple months and try to spend as much time with him as possible these next six months, seven months or whatever the case may be and try to pick his brain as much as possible.”