Yardbarker- As some have suspected, there was a lot more to it than that. Apparently the Lakers used to play a game where each player would put $100 in a pot and take turns trying to make half-court shots. The first guy who made it took home the pot, and there was one day where Bryant won and Walker didn’t have his $100. In an interview with the “Brown and Scoop Show” on Tuesday, Walker claimed Kobe “sucker punched” him over the money when Walker assumed he had a couple days to hand it over.
“It wasn’t even 48 hours, Kobe comes to me on the bus, asking me where his $100 is, believe it or not,” Walker explained, as transcribed by Tom Ley of Deadspin. “Out of all the people, he chose me, which is still to this day puzzling. I told him, ‘Man, I don’t have no $100 on me right now. First of all, why are you coming at me for $100?’ With that being said, I put my earphones back on, and once I put my earphones back on, the most amazing thing happened. Kobe, he sucker punched me.”
Could Kobe Bryant have let Samaki Walker slide for a few days? I suppose he could. It's not like he was hurting for money at the time, or ever, for that matter. However, this is Kobe Bryant we are talking about. Does Kobe seem like the "whenever you get the chance type"? This is the guy that has never passed up the opportunity to tell everyone he has five championships. It's not just about winning for him, it's about the spoils that come with winning. It's about having some tangible form of victory he can grasp onto, whether that be a Larry O'Brien Trophy or a cool crisp hundred dollar bill. There's not a single accomplishment in Kobe's career that doesn't have a corresponding keepsake in his trophy case. I bet you he didn't even use all that money he won from his teammates. It's all just stacked neatly in a glass box so he that he can get a deranged amount of happiness from fondly staring at it once his career is over.
Kobe has always held his teammates responsible to an absurd degree. Did Samaki Walker think he wasn't going to do the same when he owed him money? You never enter a bet with Kobe unless you have the cash to pay it off. I am actually impressed that he gave him 48 hours before he bludgeoned his eye. Walker shouldn't have went more than 15 minutes without finding an ATM. Kobe might be an overbearing, overreactionary teammate, but that reputation was already well established by the time he was 24 years old. It wasn't about the $100. It was about a bench player testing an All Star's level of authority in the locker room. Kobe reinforced his dominance with the use of physical violence. That's really the only way that is appropriate when someone -who is clearly in the wrong- ignores you and puts their headphones back in.