Antawn Jamison on the Kobe Bryant teammate experience

March, 20, 2013
3/20/13
7:54
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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Antawn Jamison is pretty much the definition of an NBA veteran.

The Los Angeles Lakers are the fifth team the 37-year-old has played for in his 15-season career, meaning he literally has had hundreds of teammates during his time in the league.

None of them have been quite like Kobe Bryant.

"This guy's a different dude," Jamison said of Bryant while a guest on the "Max & Marcellus Show" on ESPNLA 710 radio on Wednesday.

Jamison said Bryant has helped create a contentious atmosphere with him and his teammates, but the conflict has helped the team congeal.

"Kobe will tell you," Jamison said. "He's like, 'Look, you guys as my teammates, yell at me. Let me know that you're open because I'm so programmed,' and this guy has told me this, 'I see nothing but that basket. You could be open, there could be three guys on me, but the only thing I see is that basket so you have to tell me, Look, I was open. Or yell at me mid-play. That doesn't affect me at all and I respect that.' "

Jamison said the veteran-laden roster has adapted to Bryant's style and the players have no problem with confronting the five-time champion.

"I think the thing we've seen in the past was most teammates might have been afraid to come to him or express, 'Kob' I was open,' or, 'That's not what we drew up,' " Jamison said. "The thing I like about this team, Steve Nash -- who is a Hall of Famer -- and Dwight [Howard] as well, Dwight and Kobe have gotten into shouting matches on the bench because Dwight will be like, 'Kob', that's your rotation. Get there.' And after the game he'll be like, 'Appreciate it, big fella. I needed that.' "

Jamison said he doesn't even have to speak to express his concerns with Bryant, and can just let his big eyebrows do the talking.

"I come in there and I look at him a certain way, he'll be like, 'OK, Jamison, you're right. My bad.' "

Through it all, Bryant has grown comfortable with his new crop of teammates.

"It takes a certain time for him to be able to trust us," Jamison said. "I think the thing that he has learned now is that he can trust us."

How does that trust manifest itself?

"With 24 seconds on the clock, we're down one, instead of him, 'I got to do this, I got to do this,' he trusts Steve Nash to run the play," Jamison said. "Or, he trusts us to throw the ball into Dwight. Or, 'You know what, the double team is coming, normally I might try to force this, but Antawn is open in the corner. I trust him that he'll make that shot.' "

Jamison called Bryant a "legend," ranking him right up there with the most impressive teammates he has ever had in LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal and Gilbert Arenas in his prime, and said that despite Bryant's past accomplishments, he only wants more.

"You can't even tell he has five [rings]," Jamison said. "This guy would get rid of his kids to win that championship."

Jamison was being extreme, of course, but Bryant certainly will and does get rid of postgame entertainment indulgences in his pursuit to excellence.

"It's great to be with him," Jamison said. "I love a guy who expects so much from his teammates. He pushes his teammates. After games, we're traveling, guys are on their laptops, their iPads, watching movies, listening to music, this guy is watching film. He's breaking down situations. I'll be watching a movie, he'll tap me like, 'Come here.' He'll dissect plays like, 'This is what we got to do, me and you got to get this going.' I mean, this guy eats, sleeps basketball and the only thing he wants to do is to win another championship and I've never seen anybody as focused, as dedicated as Kobe."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
22.3 5.6 1.3 34.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.1
AssistsK. Bryant 5.6
StealsR. Price 1.5
BlocksE. Davis 1.1