“Kobe Bryant was like a little bro to me, man,” Garnett said. “I got to see Kob. He was very young and not as polished as everybody got to see him. He was very vulnerable. We were both vulnerable. We were both young. And we used to always interact with each other with that youthfulness, with that kid. That kid persona. “We always talked the game, cracked a lot of jokes on each other, but at the end, it was two very fierce competitors. And there was our parallel. As much as he wanted to win, I want to win at the same time. As much as he thought he was the best, I thought I was the best. So I would always crack on him and tell him he was too small to play. He used to always crack on me and tell me I was too slow to guard him. It was great conversation, great back and forth and great competition.”
June 23, 2021 | 8:34 pm EDT Update
June 23, 2021 | 7:44 pm EDT Update
Spoelstra has accepted an invitation to join the USA Basketball coaching staff for its Olympic preparations in Las Vegas next month. The Miami Heat coach, who went head-to-head against Popovich and San Antonio in the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals, will be involved coaching the U.S. select team — a group of players that will be brought in to practice and scrimmage against the Olympic roster.
“I really just want to be a part of the program,” Spoelstra said. “I’m always pushing myself to get better in the offseasons; I go visit people and all that stuff. This is going to be a basketball immersion. I mean, the dinners, the team meetings … for where I am right now in my career, I think this is the perfect thing for a summer of development.”