New LA Lakers assistant coach Ettore Messina is a legend in Europe, specifically Italy, for his basketball mind. But you have to imagine its heavily weighing on his thoughts about how he will be able to quickly establish a relationship with Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest players of all-time, this season (if there is one). BallinEurope.com had these quotes from Messina about moving to L.A. and coaching Kobe…
“The other day I was on the phone with the Lakers staff, asking advice on where I should get a house,” said Messina. “I was told some people prefer living close to the practice facilities; others, like Kobe, live further away. Sometimes, in order not to challenge the incredible L.A. traffic, Kobe even comes to practice by helicopter.
“At that point I thought: ‘This guy makes $25 million and comes to practice by helicopter – What am I supposed to say to him? “Down with that ass, bend your knees”?’”
Considering everything we’ve heard from Messina or about him thus far, he seems like a pretty affable and down to earth guy for a man in his position. That said, he probably shouldn’t be focusing on how much money Kobe has. There are lots of rich athletes in the NBA that will be earning more money than he is as the assistant coach. If anything he should be concerned with Kobe’s basketball IQ and skill set being far greater than anyone he’s ever coached to date.
But at the end of the day, if Messina wants Kobe’s respect and attention he needs to just be confident about his basketball knowledge and leadership abilities. Hopefully if the lockout ends soon we can see how their relationship develops.