One of my early Christmas gifts this year is a book called “Laker Glory,” a collection of quotes from and about the Lakers, compiled by freelance author Alan Ross. Itâ€™s not going to be confused with â€œThe Showâ€ anytime soon, but there are some interesting quotes Iâ€™ve found already, so I thought Iâ€™d pass them along.
Weâ€™ll start with two from Elizabeth Kaye, author of â€œAinâ€™t No Tomorrow: Kobe, Shaq, and the Making of a Lakers Dynasty,â€ talking about Kobe:
As a kid he played until he vomited, then he kept playing until he hit a wall. Still he played. And it taught him that you can push yourself beyond the point where your body shuts down, and from that he deduced that the tame was mental, that mind could win out over matter. Too much of the time the game was too easy for himâ€¦. For Kobe, there were no obstacles, only challenges.
â€œI was like a computer,â€ he told Sports Illustratedâ€™s Ian Thomsen early on. â€œI retrieved information to benefit my game. He didnâ€™t play on a team or learn street moves like the crossover dribble until he came back to the United States for high school. This meant his path to the NBA was devoid of the usual gyms and playgrounds â€” even for the most part, teammates. Thomsen came to thing of Kobe as the NBAâ€™s first test tube player.
Chick Hearn on Elgin Baylor:
He might just be the best player I ever saw. He was doing things that Dr. J. made famous 20 years later.
Nate Thurmond on Wilt Chamberlain:
Wilt liked records, so during the (record 33-game win) streak he played the best defense of his career.
Author Bill Libby on Wilt:
He always wore a rubber band around his right wrist to remind him of the days when he was too poor to replace his sagging sweat socks and had to hold them up with elastic.