OKLAHOMA CITY — I wrote a little bit about Kobe Bryant’s leadership for the Lakers this season in my column about LeBron James still having the edge over Bryant for the NBA MVP (I think it’s close, but I don’t think the vast majority of other voters are leaning heavily James way).
Phil Jackson said before the game here in Oklahoma City that the key to Bryant’s development as a leader was softening his tone at times.
“When I was asked to come back and help the ballclub get back into playoff contention (in 2005), his desire to be a leader was quite obvious,” Jackson said. “We talked a lot about that and communicated about leadership. And I think he started seeing that mentoring or befriending or talking with players is really important for relationships.”