The fan base basketball fan base had an idea of how lebron career was supposed to go and it was supposed to go like michael jordan’s career he’s supposed to stay in cleveland, his entire time and win six to seven rings right and he had other ideas for His career and people at the time didn’t understand. Why would he do that right? They looked at it as a weak move, it’s a weak move that he go team up with another all star and another all star um. So, yes, that was a big part of it. I think at the same time as well, they wasn’t used to playing at that time it wasn’t used to players having control. You know, i mean organizations made trades that’s. What happened you really free agency before? That was not really that sexy, like that, you know, and even though it was some guys who you know like the the. I think it was orlando magic who had an opportunity to do some sexy stuff, with with tim duncan, possibly and and grant hill and tmac like that, would have been sexy, but that didn’t happen and it just wasn’t something that was really the sexy thing to do. And at that moment, when we made a decision as players and and kind of put the control in the player’s hand and change the dynamics of what people are used to you always going to get hate. You know it’s, like alan iverson came in with with braids and tattoos and sleeves and everybody’s like this is not how the best player in the game looks.
They look like michael jordan. They don’t have tattoos they don’t and that wasn’t alarmist. So you get hate when you’re the first ones to do it in the way we did it um, and so we understand it. You know. Eventually, we understood it because we we kind of opened up this, this path for players to do it for a period of time and it became the wave um and i’m glad we did i’m glad. We took the hate, but i seen some real hatred out there. Jj i’m, talking about, i see some ugliness and i i from fans that i didn’t know that i didn’t know existed and i come from the inner city of chicago and i didn’t know some of this ugliness existed in the world and when we talk about racism, When we talk about the things that people said to us, it was on display night after night. This is at the arena. This is not just people trolling on social media, you’re saying this is at the arena. You’Re hearing stuff being said yeah. This is, this is at the arenas. This is in our everyday life. Right of us traveling going places i mean people i mean at that time. We had to have so much security around us, because the hate was real. You know, and people would say some of the the things that you would just look at them and say, like you, don’t even know me like how how you speak of me and this.
How can you speak of me in this way, but i would never forget the cleveland game. The first time we went back to cleveland, i would never forget being in the locker room, and that was the time when i looked at lebron. I was like hey this guy’s, not he’s, not normal he’s, really, not known i’ve, always said it, but i really felt it, but the hatred that i heard in the locker room i’ve never heard hate before you know what i mean like you can hear someone say Something, but if you ever heard the sound of hate, it is the most like uncomfortable thing to experience and, like i remember walking out of the tunnel and it wasn’t just booze and it wasn’t just i hate yous. It was the look on people’s faces. It was the things that was coming out of their mouths and like how raged they were like in anger that i said i will never forget this moment a day in my life about you know how someone can really hate you for making a basketball decision that You felt was best for yourself and your family is crazy to me. I don’t wan na i’m, not gon na plug myself here, but please plug yourself. No, i so i i went on uh taylor, rook’s show on bleacher report. She did a whole series on race in america um for some reason she asked me to come on the show and one of the things that i said on the show and one of the things that i said on my podcast with yahoo back in 2016, when Kevin durant made his decision is that the the reaction to lebron leaving and kevin leaving is because there is a group of sports fans that are and will always be uncomfortable with powerful black men, making decisions for themselves, taking empowerment and taking control of their careers.
Now i, of course the the you know, the blogs or whatever said that i said that it was racist i’m not going to go that far, but what i will say is i will stand by those words. I think, of course, an element of kevin getting backlash. Was because he went and joined the team that just beat him in the conference finals. Of course, part of the backlash with lebron was because he wasn’t following the same route as jordan, that that’s supposed to be the definition of greatness, but the other component to that is what i just said, and i and i firmly believe that all right, listen you You hit the nail on the head and, if you think about it, no one gives backlash to any championships that larry bird won that magic johnson won. That michael jordan won. Michael jordan played with other hall of famers. You know i mean like guys, you don’t win championships without playing with other guys. That are great first of all, but it wasn’t done in the way that lebron did it and the way that we did it. It was done from organizations. The organizations made sure that larry bird had mikhail robert parish dennis johnson. You know what i mean like all these hall of famers, and it was you know, so it was different and – and i agree with you, man and we we – i didn’t, say that i’m glad. You said that, but we felt that way.
We knew that some of the hate was because of our skin color because of being black man and deciding to control the fate of our careers, because because organizations will do it quickly, they will trade a dwyane way in a heartbeat if you’re not getting. If you’re not getting it, if you’re not accomplishing what they want to do to accomplish, so when we had the power, when we had the moment, we took it, but some of the hate came because of we were three black guys who decided and we changed the Way that the nba probably would ever be right great that i had to get on the level of kobe bryant. What, however, i did that i knew i had to get on his level or be respected by him in some way where he looked at me as equal. So it pushed me – and he pushed me and we didn’t talk a lot early on, but i feel like when we got to around 08 in the olympics is when we got close, you know um and it all it all started from training like. I think once you get around guys, you really see who they are and what they’re built of, because you’re around them for what two three months and kobe saw the that my grind was very similar to his grind, and that me and him did a lot of Things where it was just me and him and it wasn’t, no one else around you know, and so he started respecting me in a way that i already had respect for him in um and then he just became like a big brother.
You know during olympics. You know his knowledge of the game, even though i was a great player. Kobe had knowledge of the game that i didn’t have, and so he became a person that i would go to and just hey. What should i do on this play? Hey. You know how i do this and he kind of like you know he came to me and said: listen when he heard that i wasn’t starting um and he knew that i’m sure he knew that man. You know, i know d. This is tough for d wade not to be starting on this team, but he came to me right away and he eased my mind. He was like listen when you cut when you get in the game and it’s me and you on the floor. This is what i’m going to do i’m, going to pick up 94 feet i’m, going to turn these guys, and once i turn them, you do what you do you coming. You know, and so i got so many steals – and so many dunks and so much because of the unselfishness of a star in our league, to tell me hey i’m, going to do these things and all you got to do. Is you know so we just we just built a relationship and that relationship went from respect as competitors to now where i felt like he was a friend and it eventually grew into just a brotherhood, and our relationship was something that i’m sure.
So many people have their own relationships with him, but my relationship with him for me was special, because this is a person who you know was michael jordan out of ireland and kobe bryant. These are my favorite players to ever play the game of basketball and i had a relationship, a real relationship with one of those three for sure um and you know he’ll reach out to me: hey man, how did you, how do you? How do you slice those pick and rolls like that and i’m, like, oh, my god, kobe reached it out to me like it was? It was incredible to be able to have that relationship with him and um. Obviously, when i retired, you know – and i you know you you just imagine like okay we’re gon na – be those two old guys that you know that go to games and when they heat play to l.a and we’re going to be on opposite sides. And you know it’s just going to be that kind of thing you just you see it coming and not to have that you know not to be retired and have somebody that i can chase out to steal because he was doing amazing things after the game of Basketball um, you know you feel a little lost and i said that when colby retired, i said you know what, when kobe retired from basketball, i didn’t have no one to chase anymore. I kind of actually i kind of lost a little bit of my something in me when kobe retired, because it was like well who am i chasing now? You know i mean who, who is that big matchup for me, because yeah it’s, just a younger guy, is coming up and you want to make sure, but i felt, like kobe, was the only one that was that.
That was on the level that i was on. Uh as as one of the top two guards, and even though i felt he was on a higher level than me, but i still was able to chase him, and i didn’t have anybody to chase no more, so it was kind of like. Ah okay, all right. We playing sacramento on a wednesday all right. Let me just go get this done. You know what man it was just different, so um you know i i definitely uh. I i’m thankful that i was able to have a friendship and that that we had a brotherhood and we shared something intimate that a lot of people didn’t know. You know from our conversations that we had in the moments we had together um. I just i feel thankful to that. I was worthy enough to have those with such an amazing human being we’re, all obviously on our own individual paths in our in our chase of greatness, and we have our inner circle that’s pushing us. We have our own standard of greatness, that we’re excelling towards but it’s amazing, to hear you talk about the importance of a measuring stick and how chasing after someone else improves your own greatness, it’s, actually really it’s remarkable and i think, for an entire generation of players. That’S, what kobe did he set a standard in in the same way that lebron set a standard in the same way that, for a lot of guys, you set a standard it’s part of every great player’s legacy, i think, is the impact it has on the next Generation, 100.
100, and you know what what story came. Let me share this story with you jay we were in olympics right, and this is when i knew kobe was a monster, though you hear about it, you hear about it, but you really. If you don’t see it, you really really don’t know, and so we get into a city uh one of the cities very late and immediately we all go to the gym. You know all my guys, it’s, you know it’s mellow it’s me it’s brian it’s kobe, like we all go to the gym. We all get our work in it’s, real late, and so after we get done getting our work in me and my guys, we say: hey, like let’s meet for breakfast in the morning like if you can’t sleep, whoever first one wake up hit us up: we’re gon Na go eat, and so we do that. We probably get like three hours of sleep. You can’t sleep much when you’re traveling across the world. You know like we were traveling and we get probably get like three hours of sleep and we we wake up. We go down to where the food is as we walk it down. You know slobbing with sleep in our eyes, kobe bryant is sitting there with ice on his knees already right, so we walk up to coal, be like cold what what’s up, and he was like. Oh yeah man, i just finished uh finish the workout and i’m about to go do another one, and at that moment i was like wait hold on.
We just worked out about three hours ago. You know what i mean and like you’ve done, another workout and you bout to go, do another one that’s. When i was like okay, i got to get my stuff together. I got ta get my together because this dude right here is on a whole different level. Uh than even i’m on and i’m supposed to be great right, so that’s the kind of person he was and that’s how he drove me. You know what i mean like this little stuff, like that. I went back and said. Okay, that mean i got to work hard and i got to do more uh, so yeah. I just wanted to share that little end of the screen. He’S, a beast man that’s great, i i have a somewhat similar story, but in in 07, when i got to do the training camp with you guys in vegas, i got there on a sunday. We were starting with practice on a monday, so i get there sunday afternoon. First thing i do is i hit up the duke assistant, coaches, coach, collins, coach, wojo, coach dawkins i’m. Like can y’all meet me at the gym? I just want to get some shots up. So i get to the gym and johnny dawkins look looks like he lost his dog like i’ve, never seen this guy look so just disheveled i’m, like jd, was jd what’s going on man and he’s, like man kobe this guy this guy.
This guy had me up at 6am this morning. He was in the gym for three hours and he said he was doing the same move for three hours he was it was. It was like a pick and roll on the left side. Jab pull up right for three straight hours. The guy was just maniacal about his work. It’S it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, incredible it is man. It is incredible and that’s not like people think those stories are like not real, like those stories are real, like i remember watching. One game we got, we were getting ready to play the lakers and i remember just you know: i’m well, i’m, a kobe fan i’m watching him warm up and he literally entire warm up. He did. He did one shot. He was in the mid post. He just kept turning over the left shoulder over and over and over. So i go into the game like okay, he bout to turn over the left shoulder over and over and i couldn’t stop it but like he. I just watched him by himself. They just kept giving the ball for the entire 15 20.