Kobe Bryant didn’t join his teammates in Las Vegas last night, but he was back with them today in El Segundo… well at least in the same building.
Bryant received more treatment on his still sore sprained right wrist as the rest of the squad took to the practice floor in preparations for Tuesday’s opener against the Houston Rockets. The 14 guys that practiced today also seemed to be having a lot of fun last night and it was apparent to Phil Jackson, “I think they’re enjoying their time together right now. I think they liked the game. I think they had a good time together last night, and it was good for them.”
Jackson also seemed to have be more concerned about Bryant’s mental state than his physical state and what bearing that could have on the team’s younger players, noting that most of them haven’t been through something like this before.
Phil’s role as moderator in this whole saga has been a five month odyssey that hasn’t come anywhere near a resolution. “It was my feeling that in my conversation with Kobe, that he was going to work at this thing and put his full being into this. Right now he’s having a hard time doing that.”
While there’s no reason that this team can’t be better than last year’s version (Phil’s words) it’s only going to happen with a healthy Lamar Odom and at the very least a complacent #24.
Bryant has always been conscious of his place in history and Jackson spoke to this in saying, “`This is Kobe’s legacy, the Lakers. This is where he’s grown up and gotten married and had kids, the whole bit.”
Kobe spoke with the media as well, but wasn’t up for addressing any situation outside of things on the court, even going as far as to say “What situation?”
Draw your own conclusions from the full videos. You can check out both interviews on the Lakers.com Video page. Phil’s interview is first with Kobe’s starting at the 12:15 mark.