The news most fans were waiting for finally came as the Los Angeles Lakers named Darvin Ham as their new head coach.
Vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka revealed that Ham was the Lakers’ unanimous choice and it was easy to see why as soon as Ham started talking. Throughout his presser, Ham touched on several notes that Laker Nation will surely appreciate and should give them confidence heading into the 2022-23 season.
Ham got his start as an assistant coach with Los Angeles over a decade ago where he worked closely with Kobe Bryant. Ham spoke at length about working with Bryant and how the Lakers icon helped him become the coach he is today.
“It was great. God rest his soul,” Ham said. “We spent a lot of time together on the practice floor, individual workouts, watching clips. And [I learned] if I can go back and forth with him, and have him disagree with me and then double back and tell me I was right, we all know how stubborn he was. It just gave me a wealth of confidence in myself as a coach. Just seeing him and him sharing different ways he saw the game.
“And even with Russ, Lebron, AD, all these guys, Giannis, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Al Horford, Paul Millsap, these guys I’ve been able to coach and be around and learn from them, it’s a two-way street. It’s not just this coach that thinks he knows it all and he’s just barking orders. You have to be able to collaborate, communicate and understand each other. Not your way or my way, but what’s the best way to go forward? What’s the best plan for all of us? Kobe was right at the forefront of that in my own development as a coach. The workouts we would do on the court, the type of film we would watch, dinners we’ve had offline just getting away from it all. He’s a big part of why I was able to grow the way I did as a coach.”
Bryant could be tough to coach given his competitive nature, but Ham was able to hold his ground and earn the Mamba’s respect during their time together. If Bryant was still around, he would surely approve of Ham’s hiring.
Darvin Ham and Kobe Bryant compete in 1997 Dunk Contest
During his playing days, Ham was a role player who enjoyed doing the dirty work but also had upper-tier athleticism. Shortly after his hiring, the Lakers released a highlight reel of Ham and Bryant competing against each other in the 1997 NBA Dunk Contest, which Bryant went on to win.
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