When Jerry Sloan Referred to Kobe Bryant as 'Miss America' While Describing the Pressure of Facing the Former NBA Star

Kobe Bryant was a competitor like few the NBA has ever seen, and he was frequently discussed by competitors and rival team coaches.

Published on Jul 10, 2024  |  01:01 AM IST |  73.6K
Kobe Bryant

In 2010, with the Utah Jazz trailing 0-3 against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan attempted to maintain optimism going into Game 4. It should come as no surprise that Kobe Bryant was doing the most damage to the Utah team during the series, and Sloan was unable to stop "Black Mamba."

When asked for his thoughts, the legendary Jazz coach compared Kobe's seemingly constant ability to get the results he wanted during games to the benefits that come with being a Miss America winner.

Kobe Bryant vs Utah Jazz

What did Sloan say and how did Kobe and Phil react to it?

Sloan said, "He draws so much. You give too much help; somebody else is open. If you don't give enough help, he's got what he wants, kind of like Miss America. She gets what she wants." Sloan made some unusual and unexpected comments that Bryant and the Lakers heard. The comparison to Miss America, according to a report, "raised Bryant's eyebrows."

However, Phil Jackson, the tough-minded head coach of the Lakers, thought that Sloan's Miss America remark had a deeper significance. Jerry may have been hinting at something for Jackson, something that might have to do with Game 4 or how he was handling the Jazz's three straight series losses.


Jackson said, "I think Jerry calling Kobe Miss America and comparing him to that is a message. That is something we will look at."

Kobe Bryant

Utah was swept by the Lakers

In that series, Bryant and Pau Gasol played well right away. Even though the first three games were fairly close, the two lifelong All-Stars made sure Utah wouldn't steal a victory from them. It was clear by Game 4 that Kobe was unfazed by Sloan's remark.

Gasol went on a scoring spree with 33 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks, while the Lakers shooting guard did what he does best with 32 points. Finally, the moment of excitement arrived as the Lakers defeated the Jazz 111-96 in a commanding sweep.

After that, Kobe and the Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns in six games in the conference finals. They survived a tough seven-game series against the elite Boston Celtics to emerge as the eventual NBA champions that year. Regarding Sloan, he most likely realized that drawing a daring comparison to Kobe would not harm the Lakers star but fire him up to take his team to the NBA title.


ALSO READ: Kobe Bryant Waited to Talk with MJ After Every Game, Prompting Lakers Team Bus to Leave Him Behind; Former Trainer Reveals

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