A great piece on Caron Butler and Kobe.
Mavericks Blog: Caron Butler spent a year in Los Angeles as Kobe Bryant’s Laker teammate thanks to the Shaquille O’Neal trade that sent the big fella to Miami.
“I say that’s the best thing that ever could have happened for me personally for my career,” Butler said. “To play alongside a guy like that, see his preparation, see what it takes to get to that level, that’s why I was able to be so good in Washington because I took everything I learned from him under his wing.”
Butler played in 77 games in 2004-05 with the Lakers. He averaged a then career-high (by a tick) 15.5 points and then career-high 5.8 rebounds. His free throw shooting improved, too.
“Work ethic,” Butler said. “He comes to the gym 6:30, 7 in the morning, gets shots every day, a rhythm. Afterward hits the weight room, works out in the summer, studying film, critiquing guys, watching their tendencies, picking things up … Just studying the game with him taught me a lot.”
Butler and Bryant talk every couple of weeks and when Butler was traded to Dallas Bryant was quick with a call.
“He told me he was happy for me and happy to see me in a situation to be able to legitimately compete for a title,” Butler said.
But Wednesday will be a different conversation.
“You always hear that he’s ready to compete,” Butler said. “He’s happy but at the same time once we get on the court all bets are off with Kobe. He’s going to bring it, then hug me afterwards. That’s how it is. It’s business.”