Kobe Bryant has always been an aggressive guy, but apparently way back in 2002 he had an especially short fuse.
On Tuesday, former teammate Samaki Walker joined the Brown and Scoop podcast and discussed an incident in 2002 during which Bryant sucker punched him over a $100 bet.
“We got into it. I’m still figuring it out to this day actually. Now, real talk, it was a situation, it was probably one of the craziest, most immature situations. The situation from what I understand was over, what, 100 bucks?”
Walker claims that Kobe won a half-court shot contest after practice one day and the custom was that everyone had 48 hours to pay him $100. Before that time was up, Bryant approached Walker on the team bus wondering where his money was. Walker said he didn’t have it and put his headphones back on. Kobe immediately sucker punched him and then according to Walker “all hell broke loose.”
Walker immediately told Phil Jackson to stop the bus as the team was about to enter the tunnel at a visiting arena. Jackson stopped the bus and Walker asked Bryant to step outside, “unfortunately he didn’t step off the bus because he knew what was gonna happen next.”
Walker says he never made it to the team’s practice as he was separated from Bryant for everyone’s safety. He then waited for Kobe because he wanted his revenge, but Bryant managed to avoid him. Later that night before the team’s game, Shaq’s bodyguard approached Walker claiming that Kobe wanted to talk. The two apparently talked it out and it was squashed. Walker says he knew Bryant was going through some things in his personal life and that clearly had something to do with the incident.
Throughout the interview, Walker was complimentary of Bryant’s career and ability. Though he did recount the story, he wasn’t bad-mouthing Kobe really. Walker was retelling it like it was something stupid that happened between two kids a long time ago. It was a great interview, give it a listen.