There weren’t any tears shed when Mike D’Antoni’s disastrous coaching stint in Los Angeles came to an end last season, but despite a rocky relationship with Kobe Bryant, D’Antoni developed an appreciation for the superstar guard.
D’Antoni went 67-87 in two seasons with the Lakers, and says that even though things didn’t work out, he’s glad to have gone through it.
Per the LA Daily News (via SiriusXM NBA Radio):
“His ability to have a volume of work that he does. I didn’t have any doubt he would come back from the two injuries other than age. If it’s humanly possible, he’s going to do it,” D’Antoni said about Bryant. “He’ll keep it going as long as it’s humanly possible. He’ll try to be the best that has ever played the game. Being around him every day and watching him every day work that hard is incredible.”
“The tough part about coaching him is that he has that determination and near sightedness that he doesn’t see the fringes too much,” D’Antoni said. “He’s going to go over you, under you, but he gets right to where he wants to go. Sometimes that makes it tough to coach him.”
“You want to coach a certain way and have a certain style and you hope everybody would be on the same page,” D’Antoni said. “We weren’t always. It’s a tough situation to hit and miss. If you’re not on the same page from the top of management down to the water boy, then you’re going to have some problems. In a public place like, la, it wasn’t easy sledding. But I wouldn’t change the experience. It was great. I got to work with some of the greatest players in the game. Although it wasn’t pleasant all the time, I think I’m a richer person for having done it.”