Kobe Bryant Benched Himself at Crunch Time

Byron Scott certainly wouldn’t dream of doing it, so Kobe Bryant made the call himself: the 37-year-old legend told the Los Angeles Lakers head coach to leave him on the bench late in the second half Wednesday night, with an exciting game against the Minnesota Timberwolves hanging in the balance.

The Black Mamba decided to let the youngsters take the Lakers home, and lo and behold, D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle damn near did it.

Despite the heartbreaking 123-122 overtime loss, Kobe was extremely pleased with the kids’ play down the stretch.

Per the LA Times:

Fans clamored for Kobe Bryant in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, chanting his name authoritatively at Target Center, but Coach Byron Scott did not put the ever-aging star back into the game. […] In the latest twist to a season filled with them, Bryant supported letting the young players finish the game.


“He said, ‘Coach, let ’em go. Let’s see what they do,’” Scott said.


It was a loss, like everything else this season, 123-122 in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but D’Angelo Russell had 23 points and Julius Randle had 20 points and 12 rebounds two days after they lost their starting jobs. […] “I know the fans wanted to see [Bryant] even more,” Scott said. “But it was great to have a guy like that say, ‘Hey coach, let them go.'”