The list of Lakers teammates challenged in one way or another by Kobe Bryant over the years is longer than the Christmas wish list of the most spoiled kid in Beverly Hills.

Aside from the epic feud with Shaquille O'Neal, you know all about Bryant's ongoing venom toward Smush Parker and head-shaking disdain for Kwame Brown. Even trusted longtime teammates such as Pau Gasol still get their buttons pushed every other day.

The guys who get tested the most, though, because they get uniquely scrutinized about not doing what he would be doing, are Bryant's backups.

Maybe it dates back in some way to how O'Neal would delineate the roster clearly along size lines – the bigs belonging to him and the smalls left to Bryant. A lot of guys also are tentative when joining a team on which Bryant is expected by the whole world to take all the shots, so Bryant's backups especially need to prove their hunger if he's going to cede some of his turf.

Much like his predecessor, Shannon Brown, Jodie Meeks needed initial encouragement from Bryant to let loose and do what he does best.

Bryant said he saw Meeks "being a little timid and passing up shots" early on. So Bryant asked him a question – interestingly putting it in first-person terms instead of using the accusatory, second-person "you" and "your." (Derek Fisher would be so proud.)

Bryant: "What's our position?"

Meeks: "Shooting guard?"

Bryant: "Yeah, we shoot and we guard."

Bryant's recollection of it is that he reinforced the point about needing to shoot by saying the position is not "passing guard" or "facilitating guard." But the bit of advice didn't stop Bryant from challenging Meeks in scrimmages – just the way Bryant has done to all his backups over the years who have to absorb all his elbows in the post and all his trash talk in their face.

Flash back to Lakers training camp in 2005, when Bryant is at the height of his individual powers and is physically fit enough to produce his 81-point game that season: A rookie puppy dog named Von Wafer with incredible tools but questionable mental wherewithal has been brought in before Bryant.