After losing in the 2008 NBA Finals and then to Team USA in the 2008 Olympics, Pau Gasol came back to an unpleasant surprise from his teammate Kobe Bryant.
Once again, Bryant told one of Gasol’s least favorite stories when he recently spoke to Lewis Howes about how he motivated the big man before the 2008-09 season (via YouTube):
“We lost to the Celtics in ’08 and it was a physical series. I mean, they beat the crap out of us. We go into the Olympic year, that year, we wind up playing Spain for the gold-medal match and we beat them. So now we come back to start training camp and Pau shows up first day of training camp, I have my gold medal hanging in his locker.”
The five-time NBA champion spoke about how this was part of his infamous Mamba Mentality. He explained that these were ways to create a mental edge and he was confident it would work on Gasol because he knew that the big man loved nothing more than his country.
He pointed to this as a primary example of motivation because it got a rise out of Gasol, who now plays for the San Antonio Spurs. Bryant said that it drove Gasol crazy, but helped inspire him to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to back-to-back championships. Gasol reportedly laughed when he recalled the story in 2016, so it was all in good fun.
When asked how important that kind of psychology is to dominance in pro sports, Bryant described it as “probably” the most important thing. He said that it’s essential to help a player reach their full potential. To watch the full interview, check out the embed below.