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Mamba Monday: Kobe Bryant's Olympic Pau Gasol Story Is The Most Kobe Story Ever

The Black Mamba was the fiercest competitor in the world.

"The Redeem Team" is a Netflix documentary that is slated to drop on October 7, 2022. The documentary is about the 2008 Men's USA Olympic basketball team who won the gold medal. It focuses on the 2004 USA men's team that took the bronze medal home while losing three times—the most games ever lost by a U.S. men's Olympic basketball team. I am counting down the days until October 7th. The 2008 Men's USA Olympic basketball team is one of my favorite teams in basketball history.

The Kobe Bryant/Pau Gasol Story

This was 2008. The Los Angeles Lakers had acquired Pau Gasol during the regular season and lost a heartbreaking series to the Boston Celtics. Gasol and Kobe Bryant became a full-fledged partnership, however. Their friendship was cemented almost immediately and their on-the-court chemistry was unmatched. As many know about Bryant's fierce competitive fire, this friendship and brotherhood went out the window the moment Spain and USA played each other in the Olympics. Check out this video.

Here are the things in this clip that remind us all that Kobe Bryant was an absolute monster killer.

1) Going to visit Gasol and by proxy Spain's team to see his friend was a trojan horse level of a Machiavellian maneuver. He did this to soften Gasol and his teammates. For one thing, having The Black Mamba come to see you is an experience some of those Spanish players will never forget. It made Bryant seem friendly. Bryant doing this so that the Spanish team (and Gasol) would be more shocked by his cutthroat play was masterful.

2) It speaks to Bryant's level of preparation that he knew exactly what the Spanish team was going to run on the first play of the game. He knew that Gasol (being the biggest guy on the Spanish team) was going to be the last screen, and he went through Gasol like a freight train. He did this at the expense of a personal foul, just to intimidate his friend.

Last Thoughts

Many fans out there miss Bryant so much. These kinds of stories never get old. Every time a new story about Bryant's legendary competitiveness comes out, it's a gift from an old friend we never knew.