Daily News: Three times he had an opportunity to coach the player he believed to be the best in basketball. And three times, fate, circumstance or injury conspired to thwart those dreams. But when Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski finally did get his chance to coach Lakers star Kobe Bryant at the Olympics last summer, it lived up to all his expectations and more.
“In finally getting my opportunity to coach Kobe Bryant, I found that he is who I thought he was,” Krzyzewski writes in his new memoir, “The Gold Standard,” which is set for release Monday.
“One of the most talented basketball players in the history of the game and the unique kind of competitor that may come around only once in a leader’s lifetime.”
Krzyzewski writes he had previously missed out on opportunities to coach Bryant when Bryant jumped directly to the NBA out of high school instead of attending Duke, in 2004 when Krzyzewski passed on a chance to coach the Lakers, and in 2006 when Bryant had offseason surgery and could not compete for Team USA at the World Championships.
When he did get to coach Bryant, Krzyzewski was impressed with his take-charge attitude, preparation and competitiveness. In “The Gold Standard,” he recalls an e-mail Bryant sent him in 2007 entitled “Team.”