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Lakers’ trainer says “gentlemen’s agreement” let Kobe take free throws after injury

Sep 24, 2013, 3:11 PM EDT

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

For Kobe Bryant’s legions of fans, the fact he hobbled to the free throw line and drained two free shots after his Achilles tendon ruptured is just another testament to his toughness. And it was pretty impressive.

Now the details of how that came about are out.

Longtime Lakers trainer Gary Vitti explained it to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, starting with the fact Kobe didn’t want to come out at all.

“The warrior that he is, Kobe says maybe I can run on my heel,” Vitti recalls, laughing, in a recent interview with this newspaper. “I was like, ‘Come on. You have to go.’”

Vitti granted Bryant’s wish, however, to shoot his two free throws. In what he called a “gentleman’s agreement,” Vitti then alerted the officials and Golden State’s coaching staff the Lakers would then foul immediately so Bryant could leave the game…. All went according to script….

“I think it’s his gutsiest moment,” said Vitti.

The free throws tied the game against Golden State, a game the Lakers went on to win — a win they needed to get a playoff spot in the West.

It was gutsy and part of the Kobe legend now. We’ll see what he can add to it upon his return.

  1. nflcrimerankingscom - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Hope the potential damage to other tendons and first round sweep was worth it!

  2. antistratfordian - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    Kobe flopped on this play. Shouldn’t have been shooting FTs anyway.

    • asimonetti88 - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:45 PM

      He most definitely did not flop, that’s ridiculous. He pushed off to drive to the basket and it appears that’s where he tore it, then (understandably) he went to the ground in pain.

      Should a foul have been called? Maybe not, but that wouldn’t be because of a flop, it would be because of a bad call.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        Nah, he was definitely in the process of yelping and flailing like he was being poked with a cattle prod before his left foot came down and planted and “pop.” It was only after this last foot plant – after the flop effort – that we see his genuine pain face.

      • asimonetti88 - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        I would suggest watching the video of the injury again, but you’re subjecting yourself to a heavy confirmation bias so it’s not worth the time.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 24, 2013 at 4:11 PM

        I’ve just been watching the video over and over. My description is precise. He already initiated his flop right before his final left foot plant where he tears his achilles.

        So he has two faces you’ll see on his last drive, first is the flop face which we typically see in basketball right on the contact from Harrison Barnes (Ouch! This contact is excessive and really hurts, ref!), but right after that his foot comes down for the last time and we finally see that entire expression change to a grimace of real pain.

      • chicitybulls - Sep 24, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        That was not a flop. Now lebron james falling to the floor like Bruce Lee kicked him in the chest after Nazr Mohommed pushed him is a flop. Kobe’s was not.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 24, 2013 at 4:41 PM

        No, it was definitely a flop.

    • zelaya322 - Sep 24, 2013 at 7:43 PM

      You sir, are an idiot.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 24, 2013 at 8:05 PM

        You sir, are mad.

  3. pistol7pete - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Calm down. It’s not like he ran around and dunked the ball, he just shot ft’s

    • kjereld615 - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      He shot free throws on a ruptured ACL. If you can’t understand the difficulty of that then you shouldn’t be commenting. Some can’t even walk after an ACL injury (i.e Derrick Rose) yet he managed to shoot and make two free throws. Don’t belittle this moment. Hate him as much as you want, but respect must be given when actions like this is displayed. It was an impressive display of his dedication to the game and his team.

      • asimonetti88 - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        It was an Achilles injury, but your point does stand.

      • eugenesaxe1 - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:56 PM

        Or a lack of common sense and abundance of ego, risking increased damage like that.

      • antistratfordian - Sep 24, 2013 at 4:01 PM

        But Kobe said at the time he wasn’t fully convinced of the extent of the injury – wishful thinking – but he was hoping that he might be able to go back in the locker room, the trainer/doctor tell him that its not as bad as he thought, then be able to come back out. That’s why he shot the free throws. If he knew without a doubt that it was fully torn and had absolutely no chance of coming back in he wouldn’t have shot them.

  4. rjkilla - Sep 24, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Lebron cries and collapses from muscle cramps while Kobe gets buckets with his foot falling off

    • divan22 - Sep 24, 2013 at 7:11 PM

      LeBron’s better at basketball than Kobe is.

  5. money2long - Sep 24, 2013 at 7:50 PM


  6. lakerade - Sep 24, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Kobe still owns so many of your minds, fans and haters alike. Love it!

  7. whitdog23 - Sep 25, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    wow!! what a warrior? (eyes rolling and shaking my head) next the trainer will tell us kobe rocked a 100mph heater on ceremonial first pitch at dodgers game while jugs gun was down or he beat tiger woods in practice round but no one was keeping score

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