Rare footage leaks of Russell Westbrook trash-talking Kobe Bryant during Team USA practice

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

Footage from a Team USA practice shows former Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook trash-talking Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Exactly when the footage was shot is unclear. However, Westbrook, Bryant and the rest of Team USA ultimately captured the gold medal in the London Olympics held in 2012.

Over the next five seasons, Westbrook would twice win the NBA scoring title and averaged a triple-double over an entire season four times.

Westbrook’s then-teammmate Kevin Durant eventually left the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016, and Westbrook was then dealt to the Houston Rockets three years later. The following year, Westbrook was traded to the Washington Wizards and spent the 2020-21 season with that franchise.

In reality, trash-talking of this nature is nothing new and is something that Bryant thrived on during his 20-year career with the Lakers. Even before his tragic death in January 2020, he had achieved icon status with the franchise by leading the Lakers to five NBA titles.

In contrast, Westbrook’s relatively brief tenure as a member of the Lakers was a disaster that began not long after he was acquired in the blockbuster 2021 deal.

Early on, Westbrook’s addition to the Lakers’ roster was seen as a key building block toward another NBA championship. Instead, the combination of injuries and chemistry issues with regard to Westbrook resulted in the team not even reaching the 2022 postseason.

Westbrook’s struggles were subject to severe criticism from Lakers fans, including verbal social media attacks on his family. Last season, he was finally traded away and eventually found a new home with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Had Bryant been alive during Westbrook’s tenure with the Lakers, it’s entirely possible that he would have again tried to motivate the talented guard. Whether anything could have changed the disastrous trajectory of Westbrook’s time with the team will ultimately be left to conjecture.

Just as Lakers fans would like to forget that Westbrook ever played for the team, their memories of Bryant will no doubt again be stoked by the emergence of this video.

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Brad is a freelance writer for LakersDaily.com, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.