Mike Trudell has been the beat reporter for Lakers.com, since the 2008-09 season, and is the team’s sideline reporter for Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Trudell recalls a favorite Kobe memory involving Thanksgiving dinner and a Ping-Pong table.
“Thanksgiving 2013, and the team was in Detroit. None of us had plans. We thought we were going to have Thanksgiving alone. So, Kobe basically made sure that one of the ballrooms was open and had a fully catered Thanksgiving meal for everybody. Inside this room there’s a Ping-Pong table and some of us are playing, and I grew up with a Ping-Pong table, so I’m pretty good. At some point, Kobe makes a comment about one of the players I had just beaten. So I said, ‘Kobe if you want to, I’m happy to give some to you next.’ So, we play the first game and you can tell he can play, but he’s not a super experienced Ping-Pong player, so I sense a couple weaknesses and beat him rather handedly the first game. He is talking a bit of shit, mostly just calling me a MF-er. But, the reason I’m telling this story is not as a humble brag but because during the entire game, he was literally watching every point and learning as the game is going on. So, we get done with the game, and he wants to go again. Now, I beat him again the second time, but he got much closer. Within 5 minutes, he was taking the Ping-Pong game so seriously, and I thought, this is why he’s so great at basketball. I’ve never competed against anybody in anything, and I played a D1 sport, that felt as intense as that Ping-Pong game.”
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