Byron Scott’s Return to Lakers Has Taken Time but Seems Right on Schedule

LOS ANGELES — The eldest child is the one you assume to be the first one coached by the father.   

Thomas Scott says no. He remembers when the notion of his father, Byron, being a coach gained its real toehold.   

And Thomas remembers the kid who was the first to be coached by Byron Scott.   

"My dad's last year here playing with the Lakers [was] Kobe Bryant's first year," Thomas said. "There was a relationship there. There was an understanding. I think my dad saw a lot of himself in Kobe—not necessarily the basketball part, just the mentality, the attitude, the focus he had at 18. It was really intriguing to my dad.

"Kobe saw somebody that he could look to as a role model in the NBA: How are you supposed to work here? How are you supposed to lift? Just somebody he could watch and see, someone leading by example at 35 years old and going harder than the guys at 22. That's what Kobe got.

"I noticed Kobe would ask him questions here and there, and he always had something. And Kobe would apply it. I saw that early on."

Now in the coaching business himself, Thomas serves as the Lakers' and his father's assistant coach for player development. During Kobe's rookie season, Thomas was just a young teenager. But he still noticed the connection between Byron and Kobe.

And in that relationship from 1996-97, the son saw a glimpse of the father's future.

"There was something there," Thomas recalled. "He has a way of communicating his experience—and knowledge."

Byron Scott had by then already been told by mentors Pat Riley with the Lakers and Larry Brown with the Pacers that his communication skills could translate to coaching. Before Bryant came along, Scott had been willing to help other teammates or kids, too.

Some even joined Scott for his offseason workouts. Elden Campbell didn't last a week....

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