Kobe Bryant took questions from assembled media members on Friday afternoon from All-Star festivities in Houston. Here’s a transcription of what he had to say:
Q: On Michael Jordan’s impact on the game:
Bryant: The imprint he’s had on the league, he’s an immortal. Everything that he’s done from the business aspect to his professionalism to his work ethic to the global (build) of the game has been something that carries on for generations and generations.
Q: On what the 76ers get in Andrew Bynum:
Bryant: A phenomenal player. He’s extremely, extremely skilled.
Q: On playing with Dirk Nowitzki in past All-Star games and not having him this year:
Bryant: I miss having Dirk (Nowitzki) around. That’s for sure. A lot of the younger players here, it’s their first time, and they get an opportunity to step up and play in these All-Star games, which is great. I don’t think Dirk minds.
Q: On his thoughts to all his fans overseas who support him on China’s micro-blogging site Sina Weibo:
Bryant: Thank you very much for all your support. I’m really enjoying it. I get a chance to communicate with them and give them an inside look at some of the things going on in my life, so thank you.
Q: On his experience with Twitter thus far:
Bryant: It’s been fun. I enjoy the dialogue back and forth and the bantering. I enjoy it all.
Q: On how he will decide when it’s time to walk away from the game:
Bryant: I think you just know. For me, it’s pretty simple. If I just want to walk away, I’ll walk away. I think it’s just something you feel and decide.
Q: On the panic level in Los Angeles:
Bryant: The panic level has been there since the start of the preseason. Everybody has been on edge all year. We’ve been playing well lately, so that kind of eased the pain a little bit. Last night doesn’t help, but we’ll come back after the All-Star break ready to go.
Q: On if this All-Star weekend is a retreat for him:
Bryant: I don’t know if it’s a retreat. It’s just more of an opportunity to get some rest, regroup, put the first half of the season behind us and move on.
Q: On his All-Star experiences thus far and if the routine gets boring:
Bryant: I brought my daughter to work today and she gets to see how exciting this is, to sit here and answer these questions. At this stage, it’s really just about enjoying it as much as you can with your family and enjoying the experience.
Q: On LeBron James’ year:
Bryant: He’s playing phenomenal basketball. You have that moment where your physical talent, the mental part of the game, all of it comes together. What you’re seeing down in Miami is something that’s truly special.
Q: On the rivalry between the Eastern and Western Conferences:
Bryant: I think it’s great. It’s great for sports. Everybody picks their sides and off we go. That’s the beautiful thing about sports in general.
Q: On Michael Jordan’s comments about taking Kobe over LeBron:
Bryant: It’s something we all know. In terms of winning championships, it’s the most important thing. That’s what it all comes down to. That’s why we all make sacrifices. That’s what I knew coming into the league. You have to win titles to sit at that same lunch table as Magic (Johnson) and Michael (Jordan) and so forth. LeBron (James) knows that and it’s a challenge he’s willing to accept.
Q: On his thoughts about Derrick Rose not coming back this year:
Bryant: I think if he’s not healthy enough to come back, that’s the absolute right decision. There’s no reason to rush. He has a long career ahead of himself and he’s dealing with a very serious injury. Hopefully he’s using Adrian Peterson as an inspiration to see what he’s been able to do coming back from a knee injury. If he doesn’t come back this season, I’m sure he’ll be ready to go next year.
Q: On if it’s more mental or physical coming back from a serious injury like that:
Bryant: I think it’s a little bit of both. Once you get past the physical limitations, then it becomes mental because you get concerned about a tweak here and there and reinjuring it. But he’ll be fine.
Bryant took questions from assembled media members on Saturday prior to practice. Here’s a transcription of what he had to say:
Q: On his excitement level to play in Brazil in next season:
Bryant: Yeah, it’s a hot spot for basketball. I grew up in Italy and I enjoyed watching Oscar Schmidt play. He’s always kind of been an idol of mine. I think it’s great for Brazil to start having (games).
Q: On if he’s spoken to Schmidt before:
Bryant: Yeah, quite a bit. I speak to him during the summer when he comes out for the Olympics and he does interviews. I had a chance to catch up with him. I really, really watched him a lot when I was a kid.
Q: On Michael Jordan turning 50 years old:
Bryant: Time absolutely flies. Him turning 50 on Sunday and this being my 17th year and my 15th All-Star game … where did the time go?
Q: On Sacramento Kings guard Isaiah Thomas’ game:
Bryant: He has fantastic potential. He’s extremely quick, crafty and an outside game. He can get to the rim as well, so I think he has tremendous upside.
Q: On if he has any advice for him:
Bryant: Just keep working and try to perfect your craft as much as you can. Perfect your strengths and try to match them.