Kobe Bryant’s Celtics Spy

by June 22, 2010

I suppose we shouldn’t be too shocked to discover that Kobe had a mole of sorts — a man who used to be within the Celtics’ organization — working to give him specialized info on their defense during the NBA Finals. The NY Times reports: “Mike Procopio grew up near the old Boston Garden, close enough to view the iconic building from his living-room window along the city’s West End. With basketball in his heart, but not in his genes, he lived the dream of many Boston children by working his way up to become part of the Celtics eight years ago. Procopio, who joined the Celtics as a scout, still ingests more Celtics basketball than nearly anyone, although his loyalty can be debated. He spent the postseason watching, editing and analyzing game footage with Kobe Bryant. Throughout the postseason and particularly in the finals, Procopio delivered Bryant scouting reports through meetings, late-night e-mail messages and phone calls. ‘I sort of felt like Matt Damon in ‘The Departed’ a little bit,’ Procopio said, referring to Martin Scorsese’s film of undercover agents and informants that was set in Boston. ‘I don’t think half my family is talking to me at this point of time.’ Bryant compared Procopio to the fictional special agent of ’24.’ ‘He’s my Jack Bauer,’ he said after clinching his fifth title in the Lakers’ Game 7 victory over Boston. ‘He gave me all the edits and scouting reports and wrote defensive rotations of the Celtics. He was my eyes and ears, so when I played the game, I’d use all the scouting reports and all the information, and it was huge for me.’ Their relationship is an N.B.A. version of the odd couple. Bryant, one of the league’s premier players, has a select inner circle. Procopio, who is shorter than some of the ball boys and never played more than a few minutes in high school, is in the middle of it.”