Why Kobe Bryant’s Leadership Is Biggest Key to Building Successful Lakers Future

In a day and age where everyone's saying all the right things, Kobe Bryant couldn't be happier to go against the grain. Sometimes that's what it takes to speak the truth.

It's the kind of truth that sets locker rooms free, even if it doesn't feel that way at the time. The kind of truth that turns star athletes into icons of a different kind. The kind that's long made Kobe Bryant the NBA's quintessential fearless leader—fearless, but no stranger to being feared.

Dwight Howard wanted to be loved, but Bryant's always known it's better to be feared.

Machiavelli spoiled how this one ends a long time ago. And Grantland's Bill Simmons wasn't far behind him. He saw the writing on the wall back in December, speculating that "[Bryant] might be turning on Dwight Howard already" thanks to a critical mass of emergent, thinly veiled clues.

Even before the Howard experiment, we already knew a few things about Bryant's leadership style. In the same piece, Simmons describes it aptly:  

It's just a different way to lead a basketball team: through fear, through conflict, through bullying, through the media. He leads by example, and if you don't like that example, he reminds you how many rings he has (with the implication being, "Shut up"). When Jackson and Derek Fisher were around, Kobe's leadership was actually effective — something of a good cop/bad cop dynamic developed, with Kobe pushing the team competitively and the other two guys handling everything else. Now it's just him.

The idea was for Bryant to share that responsibility with Steve Nash, or at least that's how ESPN's Henry Abbott saw it coming into the season. While allowing for the possibility their mixed messaging could cause confusion, Abbott was at least partially sold on Amin Elhassan's point that Nash and Bryant would yield "the perfect marriage of good cop, bad cop."

And guess which one's Kobe.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers