Redeem Team doc reveals how Kobe Bryant played mind games with opponents at the 2008 Olympics


off the field, Kobe Bryant and his Lakers teammate Pau Gasol were like brothers – but when the two faced off at the 2008 Olympics, the Black Mamba wasted no time in taking the gloves off.

In an overview of netflixthe next documentary The Redeem Team – revealed on Saturday as part of the TUDUM fan event — Gasol recalls how their relationship was tested during the gold medal game between his native Spain and the United States in Beijing.

In the clip, Gasol recalls his “big brother” visiting him and his Spanish teammates before the big game at their apartment in the Olympic Village. Gasol and Bryant were already close to playing together in Los Angeles, but the Spaniard recalls his Olympic teammates being stunned by the presence of the affable NBA superstar. At the time, the visit seemed innocent enough, but looking back now, Gasol wonders if Bryant wasn’t intentionally trying to “soften” him and his teammates with the friendly encounter.

Kobe Bryant Pau Gasol <a class=Olympics” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/–~B/aD0xMzMzO3c9MjAwMDthcHBpZD15dGFjaHlvbg–/”/>

Kobe Bryant Pau Gasol Olympics

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol at the 2008 Olympics.

Any illusions the Spanish team had that Bryant was their new friend quickly evaporated early in the game. In a clip from the doc, which features interviews with former Team USA players like james lebron, Dwyane Wadeand Chris Bosh, James recalls Bryant telling him his plan to shock their opponents.

“Kob said he was going to set the tone to start the game, and he said, ‘I’m running into Pau’s chest,'” the current Lakers superstar recalled.

James says he initially doubted Bryant would get so physical with his best friend and NBA teammate, but sure enough, on the first play of the game, Bryant launched himself into Gasol’s chest and punched him hard on field.

“He just went right to the middle of my chest to try to get through me, to send a message, not just to me but to his teammates to say, ‘Hey, maybe that’s my brother, I’m playing with him, we’re close, but I don’t care about anything but winning,” says Gasol.

The American team ended up winning the match and winning the gold medal, beating the Spanish team 118-107. It was a major statement for Bryant and the United States men’s basketball program, which had settled for disappointing bronze medals at the 2004 Summer Olympics and the 2006 FIBA ​​World Championship. The Redeem Team chronicles Team USA‘s return to form at the 2008 Olympics.

With Bryant’s tragic passing in 2020, the film is also a way for his former NBA colleagues to honor his legacy. At a special screening in LA, Dwyane Wade would have addressed the crowd, saying, “One of the things that was really important to me was how we told the story of Kobe Bryant throughout this, in the middle of the story of the team. For me, it was a very sensitive moment in that moment, but a great arc, a great story.”

The Redeem Team premieres on Netflix on October 7. Watch the clip above.

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