Kobe Bryant took questions from assembled media members after the All-Star game, where he talked about his defense on LeBron James, as well as his thoughts on the second half of the Lakers season. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: On his defense on LeBron James in the closing minutes:
Bryant: Just taking the challenge and defending a little bit. When the game gets close, it’s fun. I enjoy it.
Q: On what was said between him and James late in the game:
Bryant: I didn’t want him to score on me. Damn it. I gave him two free throws down there. It was a great, great post move.
Q: On the intensity in the beginning of the game compared to the final minutes:
Bryant: The last eight minutes is always more intense. I think the last eight minutes of the game is what fans really want to see. They want to see that competitive spirit. All in all, I think we gave them a pretty good show. It was competitive throughout.
Q: On if James said anything to him after his two blocks:
Bryant: He really didn’t say much. He said I fouled him. I told him I pretty much foul every play. I’m an ‘80’s baby. That’s what we do.
Q: On his favorite part in the game:
Bryant: Defending at the end. Just the challenge of doing what everybody deems impossible. That’s the fun part.
Q: On taking a leadership role in the All-Star game:
Bryant: I talk with the guys a lot. I’m more vocal now than I have been in the past. I do a lot of talking with the young fellas who like to pick my brain with some of the nuances of the game in different areas I’ve learned throughout my career. I enjoy that aspect of it.
Q: On Chris Paul closing the game:
Bryant: I love Chris. He’s intense and he’s a heck of a competitor. I enjoyed spending time with him this weekend even though they served us up pretty good before we got down here. He’s just a great competitor.
Q: On which player he’s enjoyed defending most over the years in All-Star games:
Bryant: Being in the league this long and playing in so many All-Star games, I’ve seen many generations. I’ve pretty much seen three generations. My first All-Star game having to guard Michael (Jordan) was like a dream come true for me. He took me to school several times, but I learned quite a bit. Then going on to Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter and Allen Iverson and that whole crew. Now to LeBron, Dwyane Wade and some of those other guys. I’ve seen three generations.
Q: On if he considers his defensive performance late in the game as a signature defensive moment for him:
Bryant: I don’t know if it was signature. I’m known for my defense and I can defend. I’m pretty smart about how I defend. I don’t know if it was signature or not.
Q: On how much he expects the Lakers to improve in the second half of the season:
Bryant: Well, I think we’ve been playing pretty well coming into the break. We laid a couple eggs there against the Celtics and Clippers. But all in all, we’ve been playing pretty well – much better than we have been. We just got to continue to improve and I think we’ll do much better in the second half.
Q: On if he’s adjusted his game in terms of him facilitating:
Bryant: I think you see a comfort level where I do both. As a team, we see that and understand that we still need my scoring, but we also need me to facilitate and do both. The passing and getting everybody involved takes precedence.
Q: On trying to refocus his attention on trying to get the Lakers to the playoffs after All-Star weekend:
Bryant: My switch never went off. It never went off. It was on all weekend. It was good to see the guys, but at the same time, there’s an undercurrent that happened in the first half of the season that I just won’t let go. Come Wednesday, we have to be ready to go.