Tony Gaffney RumorsAll NBA Players
Prior to that, Gaffney describes his first run into Bryant. “The Lakers had just come off winning an NBA title and the first guy Kobe sees in the gym is myself. He said, ‘who the hell is this?’” Former Lakers mate Lamar Odom followed up by telling Gaffney, “Kobe doesn’t like motherfuckers like you.” From that point on, Gaffney had to carry Bryant’s bags, “but we had a unique relationship,” he recalled.
The Lakers had checked in at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas where Gaffney had his rookie initiation party. “L.A. made it clear that I made the team. I was the last player cut at morning shootaround on opening night against the Clippers,” he explained. “I walked into the high-stakes room but I didn’t have any money. I then saw Kobe, he was watching some guys throw some money around before he turns to me and says, ‘what are you doing here rook?’ Next thing I know,” Gaffney recalled, “Kobe throws his black card on the table and hands me 10 stacks ($10,000). What I really wanted to do at the time was just put it in my pocket and run. Sure enough, an hour later it was all gone.”
“There was no difference with Lakers except no matter how early I showed up for practice — it wasn’t early enough. Kobe was on the court with three trainers doused in sweat.” If the Lakers had a 10:30 morning practice, Bryant would be in the gym at 06:00, take his daughters Natalia and Gianna to school at 08:00, then come back around 09:00 to shoot some more. “No one would have any idea that he’s been in the gym working for 3-4 hours,” Gaffney exposed.
Roughly one week into training camp Bryant called Gaffney down to the Lakers training facilities in El Segundo. “We’re gonna start playing one-on-one. I heard you’re a defensive lockdown player. So, lock me down,” he told the youngster. “Obviously easier said than done,” Gaffney chuckled, “but for about three weeks in a row I was forced to show up hours before practice to play one-on-one against Kobe.” Bryant would invent various sets of rules where he could only dribble and score with his weak hand; some days he could only score inside the paint, others only from outside. Oh, “and I never got to play offense,” said Gaffney.
The Memphis Grizzlies waived Andre Barrett, Melvin Ely, Tony Gaffney and Willie Reed, the team announced. Barrett (5-10, 172) logged two minutes in his lone preseason appearance on Oct. 20 at Atlanta. The 31-year-old, who signed with Memphis on Oct. 10, holds career averages of 3.3 points, 1.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 12.2 minutes in 67 games (one start) in four seasons for the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers.
Memphis Grizzlies players Jon Leuer, Nick Calathes, Jamaal Franklin, Willie Reed, Melvin Ely and Tony Gaffney will make a special appearance at the Grizzlies Block Party at Olive Branch City Park (8267 Goodman Rd.) as part of the Grizzlies’ 2013 Round Town Tour on Thursday, October 9 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. The tour will continue throughout Memphis and the Mid-South during the entire month of October at block parties and festivals to get Grizz Nation excited about the upcoming season.