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Only moments prior to the Lakers' 2001 championship parade, Tex Winter approached Kobe Bryant and a number of his teammates.
He made no small talk about the upcoming festivities, gave zero praise for individual performances and offered no congratulations for securing a back-to-back title. Instead he fixated on something so minutely detailed, it left plenty of the Lakers wondering why Winter would bring this up just as they were about to celebrate securing a title.
"We're all sitting around and he's talking about us not making fundamentally correct chess passes," Bryant recalled, drawing a few laughs from reporters. "He was serious. We all started laughing. He couldn't understand why we were laughing. That's just Tex."
Bryant shared that anecdote out of admiration for Winter's tendency "not going to sugarcoat anything," as Bryant put it, neither showing a hesitancy to criticize a player's performance or even Phil Jackson. Everyone ranging from Jackson, Bryant and to assistant coach Jim Cleamons argued Winter's induction this year to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame was long overdue mainly because his role in teaching the triangle offense proved instrumental in all of their development. And Winter did so with his unrestrained honesty.