The ’03-’04 Los Angeles Lakers were loaded with individual talent. Knowing that team chemistry is often absent on teams with multiple high-profile players, head coach Phil Jackson set aside some time for team building activities to prevent potential ego clashes.
One day, instead of hitting the court, Jackson had Kobe, Shaq and the rest of the Lakers meet at a paintball field on Oahu Air Force Base. The team bonded while dodging flying balls and, more importantly, devising battle strategies and tactics to capture the opposing side’s flag. Not having the fleetest of feet, team big man Shaq Diesel spent most of the time standing in the back playing a so-called “sniper” role.
At the end of the day, the players deemed the event a success. Recently acquired strong forward Karl Malone made his claim as the event’s top shooter, and, to no one’s surprise, Gary Peyton was labeled the trash talker of the day. With their team chemistry temporarily renewed, the Lakers tore through the season, winning the Western Conference Championship before falling to Detroit’s mighty defense in the NBA Finals.