It’s what Kobe Bryant does. He is an assassin on the court. Hyper-focused, able to block everything out. And when that happens, nothing gets in his way.
Like the night he dropped 61 points on Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks to set a Madison Square Garden scoring record earlier this season.
D'Antoni passed Bryant near center court, walking onto the floor minutes before the house lights were dimmed for pregame introductions, and said, "Hey, Kobe, what's going on?"….
"And he won't even look at me," D'Antoni says, raising both eyebrows….
"I knew right then we were f---ed."
You have to remember, when Kobe was growing up in Italy (where his father played professional basketball) D’Antoni was the biggest star in the Italian league. Kobe idolized him. And after three straight summers working together on Team USA — and winning gold together in Beijing — they are good friends.
But not when the lights go down and the basketball is brought out on the court. Then D’Antoni and everyone on the other team is the sworn enemy. There are no niceties, no polite small talk.
He’s an assassin.