Del Harris Rumors
So much so that Kobe Bryant initially outscored the entire Dallas Mavericks team. So much so that Bryant scored 62 points through three quarters, giving the Lakers enough cushion that he felt no need to play in the final period. So much so that Bryant became the sixth player in Lakers history to score at least 60 points in a regular-season game. And with the Lakers (9-37) facing the Dallas Mavericks (25-20) for the final time on Tuesday at Staples Center, Bryant narrowed in on one specific source that fueled his outburst. “Del Harris,” Bryant said, sparking laughter both from himself and reporters.
Harris worked as a Mavericks assistant from 2000 to 2007. But before that, Harris coached the Lakers from 1994-1999 through Bryant’s first two NBA seasons. The Lakers then fired Harris after a 6-6 start in the 1999 lockout-shortened season. Bryant became frustrated playing for Harris, who featured him off the bench in 15.5 minutes per game his rookie season. “When I was a rookie, I hated Del,” Bryant said. “I always said if I get a chance to get revenge, I’m going to get it.”
Texas Legends assistant general manager Del Harris will receive the John Wooden “Keys to Life” Award during ceremonies held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington next month at the NCAA Final Four. The award is given to a professional or college basketball coach or player who models the characteristics of Wooden, the late, legendary coach who led UCLA to 10 national titles from 1964-75.
“John Wooden was the guy that was the epitome of basketball for me and a lot of others when we were kids,” Harris said. “So when I started coaching, he was on top, and I went wherever I could to listen to his clinics. “I was a poor representation of John Wooden, I’m sure. But when I was in Los Angeles, I was able to spend time with him. I sat at the UCLA practices to watch his team practice. I took him to lunch; I sat in his apartment an entire afternoon just talking about basketball and life.”