“I prefer to not be with him” – Kobe Bryant gave Isiah Thomas COLD answer when Pistons legend claimed he doubted Lakers star would win without Shaquill O’Neal 

Kobe Bryant's icy response to Isiah Thomas and Gilbert Arenas' revelations shed light on the divisive Mamba Mentality and team dynamics.


“I prefer to not be with him” – Kobe Bryant gave Isiah Thomas COLD answer when Pistons legend claimed he doubted Lakers star would win without Shaquill O’Neal 

Kobe Bryant and Isiah Thomas have something in common despite their obvious champion status. They were both criticized by the media and other athletes. Reflecting on his counsel to the 18-time All-Star, Zeke advised Bryant to ignore the critics and focus on his goals.

Thomas had told Bryant that he should try to separate himself from Shaq to match up, and then surpass the career of Bryant’s idol, Michael Jordan. Unquestionably, Shaq was at the forefront of the Lakers’ tripe title success under coach Phil Jackson with each Finals MVP award going in his name. 

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During his appearance on “All The Smoke,” Zeke said he spoke to Bryant and stated,

I'm not sure if you can win without Shaq, though. That dude looked me straight in the eye, and he goes, 'Whether I'm with Shaq or not because I prefer to not be with him because I want to win it on my own.'

Kobe, eventually, was able to win two NBA titles without Shaq. Isiah could only point to Kobe’s justification for sticking with O’Neal, and Kobe persisted in pushing ahead despite this.

Intricacies unveiled: Gilbert Arenas discloses Kobe Bryant’s polarizing effect on teammates

In an episode of the ‘I Am Athlete’ podcast, Gilbert Arenas said controversial things. He revealed some interesting complexities in the relationships between Kobe Bryant and his teammates. Kobe Bryant was a renowned perfectionist and one of the most hard-working players in the history of the league. He has also been recognized by Arenas, for giving a certain insight regarding what their fellow peers think about the “Mamba Mentality”. This was not liked at all by most of their teammates who viewed him as an “arrogant person”.

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Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant (Image credits – Bleacher Report)

In a recent interview with ESPN, Arenas expressed that Kobe’s tenacious pursuit of his “Beatles Work Ethic” this often made the less talented players see him as intolerant or even insolent. With Kobe’s great reputation for hard work, the surprise makes sense.

However, Arenas suggests that not all had grasped the brutality of the Black Mamba. Funnily enough, he pointed out that the reality on the squad was somewhat different from the well-accepted credo of adopting Mamba Mentality: This tells a different story on the complexities of team building in professional basketball, as well Kobe Bryant’s leadership style.

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