'Fix that mother*****r Kobe Bryant': REAL story behind LeBron's epic rant at Mike Krzyzewski
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James once told US Olympic basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski to “fix that motherf****r” Kobe Bryant after the legend played a rather selfish game in the lead up to the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. The incident was detailed in Sports Illustrated excerpt from the new book on the Duke coach by Ian O’Connor, a New York Posts sports columnist. Bryant had taken a few low-percentage shots in the skirmish over Australia and the players had noticed, James being one of them.
The exhibition game against Australia may have ended in a victory, but the players weren't happy with the shots that went against the team culture. "Everyone knew it,” a Team USA staffer said in the book. "They know when another player is being selfish. Players can police themselves, but in this instance, as LeBron was coming out of the game, he said to Mike, ‘Yo, Coach, you’d better fix that motherf*****r,’ as he walked by. He was talking about Kobe.” This was followed by a conversation between Krzyzewski and Bryant the following morning.
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Bryant's decorated career meant that the coach was nervous, but one of the staffers said it had to be done. It also meant a wrong outcome would strain the relationship between the two, especially the coach who had grown close to Bryant. When they did meet up, the Lakers legend was shown clips of his shots, and the poor judgment he displayed. Not only were some called "bulls***t stops, but he also emphasized that there had to be more movement.
“Bryant just looked right at him and said, ‘I got it, Coach. I got it. Don’t worry about it. Sorry about that,’” a source told O’Connor. The aftermath of the event saw the US go on to win its first of the three golds in the Olympics. The book also had instances of the strained relationship between James and Krzyzewski. When the player once complained that a shootaround wasn't necessary, he was pulled up and set right politely.
According to one of the staffers, the coach said, "Look, you have to trust that I’ll never ask you to do something I don’t feel is important. I’m not going to wear you guys out or put you in a bad situation. You have to trust that we’re doing this for the right reasons." The staffer also shared his thoughts: "Along the way I always thought to myself, ‘That’s probably the first time LeBron James has been talked to that way,’” they said.