Over the past two decades, we have all learned just how fierce of a competitor Kobe Bryant is. Whether it is on or off the court, the Lakers legend never accepts losing. Samaki Walker found that out the hard way.
Walker was a member of the Lakers from 2001 to 2003, winning a championship with the team in 2002. You may remember him hitting a three-point shot — that should not have counted — at the end of the first half of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Sacramento Kings, the same game that Robert Horry tied the series up with one of the biggest shots in franchise history.
Walker opened up on the Brown and Scoop podcast about a time that Bryant punched him over $100 that he owed him. Apparently, after practice the team would have a half-court shot competition, with everyone putting in $100 into the pot. Obviously, Kobe won:
[Kobe] won the half-court contest, and the rule is you get 48 hours to pay the $100. There wasn’t even 48 hours. Kobe comes to me on the bus and asked me where his 100 bucks are. Believe it or not, out of all the people, he chose me, which is still, to this day, puzzling.
I told him—listen, we were going to shootaround at the time—”Man, I don’t have no 100 bucks on me right now.” … I put my earphones back on, and once I put my earphones back on, the most amazing thing happened. Kobe, he sucker-punched me.
The Lakers of course downplayed the incident at the time, and could do so because of the lack of social media that we all have today. He has always had plenty of bite on the court, but it appears that the Black Mamba had plenty off of it as well, even during his younger days.
Kobe has apologized since then, and this seemed to merely be Walker reminiscing on old times, not a bitter teammate lashing out. It just goes to show just how fiery Bryant is, which is certainly a component of his greatness, even though it caused some trouble along the way.