It's no secret that Kobe Bryant was a brash player who always pushed the boundaries. Whether that be with the opposition, his teammates or even his coaches.
Having recently retired, he leaves an incredible legacy and will go down as one of the greatest to ever step foot on the hardwood. He is a Laker through and through and represented the franchise with every fibre of his being.
However, in the latest edition of the Phil Jackson Chronicles, the New York Knicks president, who oversaw all five of Kobe's titles in L.A., told a story of how the Mamba almost got himself traded before his career had really taken off.
We'll let Phil explain: "When Kobe was healed and ready to return, I was a bit reluctant to make a major alteration in our winning combination. So I suggested that Kobe come off the bench. ‘I don’t see myself not starting,’ was his response. ‘I don’t want to be known as a bench player.’ Here was a 20-year-old already concerned about his legacy. So we had a little pushback, an indication of what might lie ahead.
"A couple of weeks later, we’re still winning and Shaq is completely motivated. But Kobe was only averaging about 19 points per game. So Kobe called Jerry West and wanted to know how Jerry and Elgin Baylor both averaged 30 points. Kobe also said that he wanted to be traded. Of course, Jerry told me about the conversation. And, for a few minutes I thought about taking the Pistons up on an offer they made to trade Kobe for Grant Hill. Make that a few seconds.
"The thing was that Kobe already saw himself as being one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA. I thought that, in time, he would indeed reach that goal."