At Sacramento, Kobe Bryant passed Wilt Chamberlain for No. 4 all-time on the NBA’s scoring list. Below is a transcription of his postgame interview touching on his relationship with Chamberlain, as well as Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol’s big nights in helping L.A. pull out a 103-98 victory.
Q: On his ankle:
Bryant: I aggravated it. The swelling went down on my ankle, but then I was playing through a bone spur, which just kept getting progressively worse. At the end of the last game, I couldn’t walk on it. Today it felt much, much better. I’ve been icing it nonstop trying not to aggravate it. That’s really the important thing.
Q: On the team growing with Steve Nash out:
Bryant: I think we’re tougher. You saw a very, very tough bunch out there that refused to go down. We just kept playing hard and never got discouraged. We just kept plugging away.
Q: On Dwight Howard’s growth:
Bryant: I think he’s figured the game out and he’s figured the rhythm out and how aggressive he can be. He’s just been extremely, extremely active, particularly tonight. They couldn’t’ stop him on the block and we went to him quite a bit. I thought his rebounding and his defense is really what keyed us.
Q: On Pau Gasol’s versatility and abilities:
Bryant: Everybody is a bunch of idiots. I don’t understand that. You don’t see a big with his skill set. You’d be hard-pressed to find a big with his skillset in the history of the game. We put him at the elbow for five straight minutes and he just tore them up – he tore them up. With his touch from the outside, posting up, passing the ball, you don’t see that skill set.
Q: On DeMarcus Cousins shooting those two 3-pointers late in the game:
Bryant: I’m not surprised. He’s a good shooter – a really good shooter.
Q: On extending his career past next year:
Bryant: It’s just about wanting to play. I can play. I can change my role completely and play point guard and average 12 assists. It’s just a matter if I want to play.
Q: On this possibly being his last game in Sacramento:
Bryant: No, it’s not. You guys have been saying that sh*t for three years. I’m tired of hearing that sh*t. You guys ain’t going nowhere. The cowbells are still in the building.
Q: On the memories playing in Sacramento:
Bryant: I think the Game 7 (in 2002) we had here was really the turning point for my career – dealing with that pressure in this environment against a great team. That was really a turning point for me individually and, really, for this franchise for us to go in and complete that 3-peat.
Q: On his relationship with Wilt Chamberlain:
Bryant: He knew me as Jellybean’s son. He took me up and showed me all the love in the world cause those Philly players all stick together. He knew my father, my uncle, my family and stuff. He and my grandma went to school together. We had a close relationship indirectly through my family and so forth.
Q: On passing Michael Jordan next on the scoring list:
Bryant: Honestly, the biggest thing I take out of it is the longevity. That’s the thing I’m most proud of. To be able to play for so many years and still be playing at a very, very high level, that’s the thing I’m most proud of.