Kobe Bryant put the fact that Pau Gasol was his teammate at Lakers in the 2008 Olympics and went intentionally hard at him, the Redeem Team members reveal.

Credit: imago sportfotodienst, REUTERS - Scanpix
Credit imago sportfotodienst, REUTERS - Scanpix

After placing third in the 2004 Olympic Games, the US national team came to the 2008 Olympic Games with a vengeance, hoping to take back the long-lost dominance. The newest Netflix documentary The Redeem Team, which focuses on that journey, has now revealed an interesting story from the tournament about Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe  Bryant
Position: SG
Height: 198 cm
Weight: 93 kg
Birth place: Philadelphia, United States of America

The two teams, USA and Spain, were set to meet in the group stage after both going 3-0 in the previous matches. Led by Gasol, the Spanish were the World Cup winners and EuroBasket 2007 runner-ups, and were viewed as one of the few teams capable to compete against a stacked US roster.

Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol were teammates in the Los Angeles Lakers at the time, coming off of an NBA Finals loss against the Boston Celtics. Before their game in the Olympics, Kobe revealed to his teammates he wasn't going to slack off against his friend.

"Kobe said he was gonna set the tone to start the game and he said, 'I'm running through Pau's chest'," LeBron James revealed in the documentary.

"First play of the game I'm running through Pau Gasol.' And we was like, 'What?'" Dwyane Wade added. "He said, 'First play of the game, I know what they're gonna run.' And he knew Pau was gonna be the last screen and he said 'I'm running through him.'"

As predicted, Bryant intentionally ran right through Gasol hard on Spain's first possession and received a defensive foul. The entire US team started believing Kobe's words instantly, James recalls.

Gasol himself revealed that Kobe visited the Spanish national team in the Olympic Village before the game. The big man believes it was a part of the plan to soften both Pau and the entire Spanish squad.

The USA dominated in the match and came away with an easy 119-82 victory. The two teams met in the final once again later in the tournament, where the US was victorious again and captured the gold after missing out on it 4 years ago at the Athens Olympics.

The Redeem Team documentary about the 2008 US national team comes out on October 7th.

Full segment about Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol:

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