2010 Exit Interviews: DJ Mbenga

mbengaDJ Mbenga appeared in 49 regular season games, starting two, and three playoff games, offering relief duty particularly during the points of 2009-10 in which Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol missed time with respective injuries.

In 355 total regular season minutes (7.2 per game), Mbenga blocked 29 shots (.59 per game), adding 2.1 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.

Mbenga, an unrestricted free agent, addressed media members on Tuesday morning; below are some of the finer points:

- (On his meeting with Phil Jackson and Mitch Kupchak): “It was great. Really interesting. They definitely want me back, so we’ll see where it goes.”
- Mbenga said that like any other player, of course he’d like to play more than he did this past season.
- (On beating Boston): “It was not easy. It was tough. That’s why it makes this ring maybe more special. Last year we knew pretty much what we wanted to do, but this year we had to ask ourselves what we’re doing. Every series, we had a meeting, had to get together in the locker room and talk. That’s how D-Fish did a great job. ‘Man, what are we doing? We’ve been here before?’”
- (On heading back to his native Democratic Republic of Congo this summer): “It’s going to be great. Actually I’m going this weekend because it’s the anniversary of independence from Belgium. I’m trying to make him come this summer, but it’s going to be hard.
- (On the Kobe Bryant Court he’s building in the Congo): “(The court) is doing great. I’m hoping it will be done by next summer. Hopefully he can come
- (On politics): “When I’m President, you’re going to work for me. That’s my dream. I always dreamed to be President. (Lakers Spokesman/PR Chief) John (Black’s) going to be my special secretary. Education (would be my platform). I want the citizens to be educated, that’s most important. When you have a good education, you can save the world.”
- Mbenga says the Lakers need not change to (three-peat: “This team has everything we want. We have spirit, we are strong.”
- (On Bynum playing through pain and growing mentally): “It was a tough year for Andrew. I can tell you it was tough … he really has a strong mind. To ply with an injury like that, because the knee sometimes after the game, I couldn’t believe it. Practice was good for us. I make him better, he makes me better. If you don’t have a ring after you struggle all season, you would feel bad. When you accomplish something like get a ring, you can’t complain.”