Kobe drive impacts Sydney Kings
Photo Source: AP
It is the lasting legacy of basketball icon Kobe Bryant on one of his former teammates that could now define the Sydney's NBL campaign this season.
New Kings recruit Josh Powell, who won two NBA championships in his two seasons alongside the Los Angeles Lakers legend between 2008-10, arrived in Sydney on Tuesday.
And now experiences that come with sharing the court with arguably the best shooting guard in NBA history could now be the Kings' driving force to an elusive spot in this summer's finals.
"Anything is possible," Powell said when asked about his biggest lesson from Bryant.
"The types of games that we were win and certain situations, we just had a never give up attitude and we felt like any given night we could beat anybody no matter the situation.
"Just understanding that we are in control of that, we're not worried about outside energies or sources. We just do what we have to do and everything else will take care of itself."
Those words will be music to the ears of struggling Kings fans, who haven't watched their team compete in the NBL finals since their return from exile in 2010-11.
And already the purple-and-gold are off to a disappointing start this season, going down to returning franchise Brisbane Bullets in their opener on Saturday.
Combined with the quad injury setback to star power forward Julian Khazzouh', rookie coach Andrew Gaze immediately looked to fill his third and final import spot.
Enter power forward Powell, who averaged 26 points and 18 rebounds in his last stop in China earlier this year, and is expected to suit up against Illawarra on Thursday.
Gaze revealed the 33-year-old arrived with some glowing recommendations from team captain Kevin Lisch, as well as legendary three-peat coach Brian Goorjian in China.
"I spoke to Kevin, who played against him in Puerto Rico, and he spoke very positively about him. And then I spoke to Brian Goorjian, and he said to me, 'If he's available, you should get him," Gaze said.
"That was enough from me. I'd seen the tape, I'd seen the highlights. But with those recommendations coming, I didn't need too much more because Brian, his reputation speaks for itself and he saw him on a regular basis in China."
Powell, who will now be playing in his eighth country in a journeyman career, also spoke of life under legendary coach Phil Jackson at the Lakers.
"The one thing I did notice was how he allowed players to be in control of their destiny. We in a sense coached ourselves with the guys that have the knowledge of the game that they had," he said.