Here’s a summary of Kobe Bryant’s postgame media session following his 31-point, 8-assist, 7-rebound game while wearing a mask to cover the broken nose he suffered, along with a concussion, at Sunday’s All-Star game:
On the last few days:
Bryant: It’s been an experience. I’ve never had (a concussion) before. I understand the severity of the situation. You have to go through those steps. It required me driving around a little bit, but I had to get it done.
On if he’s upset about getting hurt at an All-Star game:
Bryant: It happens. You just have to deal with it and try to heal as quickly as you possibly can.
Bryant: It was fine. You start sweating immediately inside it. I felt like I had a sauna on my face, like I was drinking my own sweat.” Bryant added that he didn’t take the mask off because his broken nose remains too tender.
On if there’s anything he won’t play through:
Bryant: Don’t jinx me, man.
On how he feels now:
Bryant: I’m fine. I have no headaches. Everything is kind of in the neck … (it) feels like a constant throbbing at the base of my head where the neck is. I didn’t know if it was a concussion or not, I have never had one before.
On the team’s decisive win:
Bryant: We looked really sharp, played with a lot of aggression and energy.
On Dwyane Wade, who fouled him from behind causing the injury:
Bryant: I’ve known Dwyane for years … it’s always entertaining for me to have people talk about our relationship as if they know what’s going on. It was very simple – he didn’t mean to do it, he’s not that type of person. We’ve been close friends for a long time. Me, him and (Carmelo Anthony). He’s a nicer guy than I am, to be honest with you, but since 2007, the Olympic team, we became close.
On if his teammates gave him any nicknames regarding the mask:
Bryant: I wasn’t really in a good mood, so everyone just sort of stayed away from me.
On if Bryant could tell something was wrong when he initially hurt himself in the game:
Bryant: Things just seemed a little weird.
- Bryant added that he played about 14 minutes AFTER being concussed in the All-Star game for this reason: “I was curious.”
- Bryant explained that it’s difficult having a concussion, because you’re at the mercy of passing a test given the NBA policy. It’s not something you can tough out or choose to play through: “you’re pretty helpless, you just have to be patient and hope for the best.” Bryant said he was simply thinking positively, that when he woke up, he’d feel better and be able to play.
- I asked him if he was aware of the impact he can have on his teammates by playing through injuries, even if he’s self-motivated to do so regardless. His answer: “The message that it carries with it is that ‘I’m not going to back down,’ (that) type of attitude. If you’re capable of playing, you should be out there and you should play. I think that’s the kind of competitive edge that I want my guys to play with.”
- Finally, here’s what Mike Brown had to say about Kobe: “Kobe’s a special human being. I don’t have answers for him, I don’t know what he’s made of. He just thinks different, his body reacts different. It could inspire his teammates — he played a very good basketball game for us.”