mark madsen

New Los Angeles Lakers player development coach Mark Madsen speaks with

Mike Trudell: How do you reflect back on your time with Bryant?

Mark Madsen: I’m grateful to have had Kobe as a teammate, because he helped me grow. There were times when he put his arm around me after a tough loss, and other times where he pushed me to be the best I could be. I think he has a nice combination of knowing when to pat somebody on the back, and when to get after somebody. I was a better player because of Kobe. His talent speaks for itself as one of the best to ever play basketball, but I think his leadership is extremely strong. You don’t win the five championships he’s won without being a great leader. He leads vocally and by example. You’re going to find very few players out there as great as Kobe is who also study film, who study opponents, who study other team’s sets. When he’s on the court, he has scripted ways he can take advantage of other team’s sets.

MT: Kobe has taken some criticism for how he was with his teammates particularly early in his career, when you played with him, but what you just said implies you didn’t see it that way?

Madsen: No matter who you are when you’re at the top of your profession like Kobe is and has been, there are going to be people who will put forth their opinions about you. But as a teammate, I’m grateful for Kobe’s influence on my game and how he helped me. He really helped me a lot on and off the court.

MT: A dedicated, hard worker is a teammate he’ll always like. Now, if a player isn’t willing to give it his all…

Madsen: Kobe has a goal to win an NBA championship every year. One thing I like about Kobe is that’s not an individual goal — that’s a team goal towards which he puts forward his best, and expects everyone on the team, coaching staff and in the organization to give their best.

Reported by Mike Trudell of