Archive for the 'Kobe Bryant' Category

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Lakers’ Oldest Fan Passes Away

New Orleans Hornets v Los Angeles LakersIn the spring of 2012, Kobe Bryant relished the privilege of meeting the spunkiest of longtime Lakers fans, Allene Wynn, who passed away this week at the age of 106.

“I mean that’s unbelievable, 105 years old!” said Bryant at the time. “She was awesome, just like the female Tex Winter.”

Wynn used the occasion to inform Bryant that she’d appreciate a bit better of an effort from her favorite team, pulling no punches with the five-time champ. Bryant loved it.

She was celebrating her 105th birthday last March with the Lakers, who had struggled enough to fall 10 points behind New Orleans in the fourth quarter before Bryant nailed a go-ahead three-pointer with 20 seconds remaining. He’d been just 2 of 20 from the field up to that point, causing Wynn some stress that she shared with No. 24.

“I don’t think this game did anything to relax her,” he joked.

According to the Daily News, a viewing for Wynn will be held on Aug. 29 at Rucker’s Mortuary in Pacoima from 4-7:30 p.m., while the service will come at noon on Aug. 30.

Video Links: 1-on-1 with Kobe Bryant

kobe_blogLast week, we spent some extended time with Kobe Bryant in a 1-on-1 setting at the Lakers practice facility, shooting the interview in the D-Fenders locker room.

We broke the interview down into three parts (click on the links to watch):

Part I: His Achilles
- Bryant called his Achilles “really strong,” detailed his day-to-day rehabilitation process with Lakers head physical therapist Dr. Judy Seto, discussed why he’s confident he’ll come back as the same effective player and guessed at his return date.

Part II: Dwight Howard
- Bryant revealed the reasons why he hopes Howard chooses to return to the Lakers, the importance of letting Howard come to the decision on his own as opposed to “convincing” him and described what it’s meant to him playing for the Lakers for 17 seasons.

Part III: His Legacy
- In the final chapter, Bryant discusses how long he thinks he can continue to play at an elite level (three years at least, which is somewhat of a revelation as he’d as recently as last season discussed retirement after his contract is up in 2014), reveals his all-time starting five, explains to what degree rings tell the story for a player’s legacy, talks about how the game has developed in his 17 years in the league and more.

Kobe Bryant Radio Transcript

blog_130619_kobe_bryant_radio_transcriptKobe Bryant joined Lakers.com’s Mike Trudell and John Ireland on ESPNLA710 radio to discuss various topics, including his progress after surgery, Dwight Howard’s impending free agency decision, as well as the NBA Finals. Below is a transcription of the interview:

KOBE BRYANT
Q: On if he has started the rehabilitation process for his injury:
Bryant: I’ve been rehabbing now for about a month, almost about a month-and-a-half. The injury and the surgery happened about two months ago, but I’ve been at it for about a month-and-a-half.

Q: On what he’s allowed to do right now at this stage in the rehab process:
Bryant: At the beginning stages, it was just really boring stuff. Just trying to get out the inflammation, trying to break up the scar tissue, make sure your toes are working – that sort of stuff. Now I’m starting to do a little bit more things – walking on the Alter G (treadmill), doing a little bit of the elliptical, doing some strength work, like calf raises and things like that.

Q: On how he’s looking at the big picture with a injury as serious as his:
Bryant: I think it’s going to be fine, I think it’s going to be more than fine. I’m very pleased with where I’m at. I can get up in the morning, get up and walk to the bathroom like nothing was wrong. There was a point where you’d get up and it’s really stiff cause I’d been immobile all night and it was tough to walk a little bit. It feels better than it did before I got hurt.

Q: On if he watched Game 6 of the Heat-Spurs and what stands out as his fondest NBA Finals moment:
Bryant: I caught the really good part (of Game 6); I watched the last three minutes of the game and overtime. It was an exciting basketball game. For me, the most fun was Game 7 against Boston (in 2010). You’re looking a lion in the face in the fourth quarter of Game 7. That’s gut check time. That’s probably the best feeling.

Q: On if he’s rooting for one particular team to win the Finals:
Bryant: I don’t really care. I’d be happy for either one. They’re both obviously very deserving of winning a championship. I have a close relationship with the guys from the Spurs and (Gregg) Popovich because we’ve played against each other for so many years. But Lebron (James) and (Dwyane) Wade, I’ve known those guys for awhile, too, so it doesn’t really matter to me.

Q: On if he fouls in a late-game situation up by three points or just plays defense straight up (referring to late moment in Game 6 where Chris Bosh grabbed offensive board and kicked it to Ray Allen for a game-tying three-pointer to send game into overtime):
Bryant: I wouldn’t foul right away. I would play defense. It’s really, really tough to get a good look off an initial action with that much time left. But if there’s an offensive rebound, I’d foul right away. The same thing happened with us with (Shawn) Marion getting the rebound and kicking it out to Tim Thomas. Those offensive rebounds are tough to get to the three-point line and get to shooters.

Q: On the legacy of players during in-game moments, how they perform and how it impacts a player in the future:
Bryant: Whoever wins the championship, they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Then everybody forgets about it and then whoever wins the championship that year, they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. It’s whatever that moment dictates. When we all retire eventually, hopefully everybody will be able to look back at all our careers and look at the positive things we’ve done for the game.

Q: On if he’s talked to Dwight Howard and what he thinks he’ll do this offseason:
Bryant: I spoke to him maybe a couple weeks ago to check in on him, see what he’s doing, see what he’s up to, see how his summer was going. But I haven’t spoke to him since. I know he has a big decision to make. He’ll take the visits and talk to the players from the teams that he’s considering. We’ll touch base a lot more.

Q: On what it’s like to go through free agency:
Bryant: You just really try to think with two hats on. You have to look at it from a business perspective as well as from your career’s point of view in terms what team do you believe you’ll have the most success with in winning championships. It’s hard because a lot of times, those two things don’t align, and that’s where you have to make split decisions and you end up splitting hairs some of the time. But you also have to put your business hat on. I know it’s not a very popular thing for athletes to do at times, but you have to.

Q: On why he chose to stay with the Lakers rather than go elsewhere:
Bryant: I bet on Dr. Buss being able to do what he said he could. Ultimately, that was it. The history of the franchise, the history of what he’s done and what he’s accomplished, I would have been a fool to go anywhere else.

Q: On why he thinks Dwight Howard is the right person to eventually take over the team in the future:
Bryant: It’s not like you have guys like Dwight Howard walking around every day. Those guys are hard to find. They don’t grow on trees. When you have somebody like that with his talent level, you have to be able to keep him and lock him in with this franchise. With the history this franchise has with great centers, this, in my opinion, would be the perfect spot for him.

Q: On if he thinks back or reflects on the series with San Antonio in the first round had he not gotten injured:
Bryant: I look at it as a missed opportunity. Had I not gotten hurt, we had been playing really well. We had settled into a nice rhythm in terms of who does what on the team, and how those roles are defined. Because of that, we really started playing well on both ends of the floor. It was unfortunate, but at the same time, I know we’re not far off. I really believe we would have given the Spurs a serious run for their money at the minimum. That makes me excited for next year.

Q: On how far the Lakers can go if everybody returns healthier:
Bryant: You saw what we were able to do in the second half of the season going 28-12 and how well we played. That being said, I still think we need a little bit more length on the perimeter defensively with guys that can cover ground. That was a really big issue for us shutting down penetration and then being able to close out on the shooters. That’s very, very tough for us to do. When you have guys that have that kind of length and those young legs to be able to do that, all of a sudden you wind up shrinking the floor and end up making things difficult for your opposition.

Q: On if the Clippers-Celtics had made a trade with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce coming to Los Angeles, and what that would have done for the Clippers:
Bryant: (laughs) It would have made them substantially better and substantially older. They would have been older than us. At least we would have been the fast-breaking team in the city.

Q: On if he sees any big-name free agents moving to other teams:
Bryant: Nah, you know how it is. There’s always so much talk going on, especially with big-name guys going here and there. That happens once in a blue moon. At the end of the day, I think everybody stays.

Q: On his all-time NBA starting lineup:
Bryant: (Magic) Johnson, (Michael) Jordan, (Larry) Bird, (Bill) Russell and (Kareem Abdul) Jabbar.

Q: On how he handled sitting around post-surgery to rest and recover:
Bryant: I handled it well. I don’t have to sit still anymore. I’m fully mobile. I can get up and do whatever it is I want to do in terms of walking. I can’t run, obviously. For that week-and-a-half (after surgery), I was literally sitting in the bed the entire time. We were on Modern Family and we watched every episode of “Modern Family.”

Q: On what his daughters watch on television:
Bryant: They dominate it. They have some great programs and Disney Channel – there’s nothing else on outside Disney Channel. When they go to sleep, then I can actually watch what I want to watch. I watch “Da Vinci’s Demons”, “Game of Thrones” … I haven’t been able to stay up on “Mad Men.”

Q: On who gets more attention walking into a restaurant: Jack Nicholson or himself:
Bryant: Depends where you go. Out of the danger of sounding too egotistical, I’m going to go with myself just because I can’t blend in. You don’t see too many 6-foot-6 black dudes walking into a very upscale restaurant. He’ll do his shades, he’ll do his hat and he’ll blend right in. If we go to China, it’s a wrap for him.

Q: On when he thinks he’ll be able to return to the court:
Bryant: I’m shooting for November, December at the latest. That’s the goal in my head and that’s what I’m shooting for. I’m really, really determined about getting there. As soon as they take the governor off, when they think the tendon is strong enough for me to progress to really heavy weights, more conditioning, running and things like that, then it’s on me. I won’t have any fear or any worry of having the tendon rupturing again. There’s nothing I can do about it. If it goes again, it goes again. Once I’m ready to go, it’s going to be on.

Q: On his summer basketball camp in Santa Barbara at UCSB:
Bryant: I’m there every day. I know what it feels like to be a part of a camp and the person actually hosting the camp is never there. That feeling sucks. I wanted to make sure I was there every day for the kids, ages 8-18. What we do is pretty cool because each age group plays in a structure. The youngest age group, they play in the flex offense; the mid-tier group, they run the Princeton offense; and the oldest group runs the Triangle offense. They actually get a chance to play the game and play the game right way.

Q: On what he appreciates most about kids looking up to him and listening to him at these camps:
Bryant: I enjoy it. Most of the kids have been doing it for so long, we have a really good relationship. It’s not like: ‘Oh wow, there’s Kobe Bryant.’ It’s more like: ‘Can you help me out with this move?’ or ‘What do you think of this particular strategy?’ It’s really become a family atmosphere.

Q: On who wins Game 7 between Heat-Spurs:
Bryant: The biggest thing that San Antonio has to be careful for is Wade exploding and going off. He’s been struggling a bit, laying in the weeds a bit and the game hasn’t been flowing his way. This is the game telling me for him to erupt. If they can monitor that, I think they’ll give themselves a good chance to win down the stretch.

Q: On having the right mental mindset each and every game, especially for a team that has been to three straight NBA Finals appearances (i.e. Lakers teams from 2008-2010):
Bryant: It’s tough. That’s why it’s tough repeating. It’s mentally draining; it’s physically draining. You just try to put yourself in a position to have the team win, and that’s what championship teams are supposed to do. Case in point for Game 6: It was a tough go for them all night, but they found a way to keep it close, and steal it at the end. To be a champion, that’s what you have to do.

Q: On what they (Mike Trudell and John Ireland) should look forward to when the Lakers go to China for preseason games in October:
Bryant: The passion they have for the game. That’s a beautiful thing to be a part of. You’re going to see so much energy and love they have for the game, and the Lakers organization, in particular. It’s going to be a blast. The passion they have for the game is incredible.

Bryant’s Second-Half Hot Streak

Atlanta Hawks v Los Angeles LakersEven in his 17th season in the league, Kobe Bryant experienced one of his most efficient and productive years to date. A large part of that was Bryant’s ability in getting to the rim and finishing.

As Lakers.com’s Mike Trudell noted last week, his success rate at the rim was his highest since 2007. Even his overall shooting percentage was at its highest since the 2008-09 season.

For a stretch out of the All-Star break, Bryant continued to perform at an extremely high offensive level, most notably in the second halves of games. He led the Lakers to five wins in six contests, the victory against Atlanta in early March putting the club at the .500 mark for the first time since Nov. 18, 2012.

Below are short recaps and shot charts of Bryant’s production in the second halves of games:

2/22 vs. POR: Bryant scores 29 of his 40 points in the second half (10 for 14 field goals), guiding the Lakers to a 111-107 win.
Kobe_Bryant_Second_Half_Portland

2/24 @DAL: Bryant scores 22 of his 38 points in the second half (9 for 11 field goals), including 14 in the fourth quarter (5 for 5 field goals) to lead the Lakers to a 103-99 victory – their third straight win out of the break.
Kobe_Bryant_Second_Half_Dallas

2/25 @DEN: Bryant records 18 points in the second half (7 for 10 field goals), to finish with 29 points, but the Lakers fall short in Denver, losing 119-108.
Kobe_Bryant_Second_Half_Denver

2/28 vs. MIN: Bryant sits out the entire fourth, but notches 11 points in the third quarter (4 for 7 field goals, 3 for 5 three-pointers) to bring his total to 33 points on the evening, as the Lakers move to within one game of the .500 mark with a 116-94 victory over the Timberwolves.
Kobe_Bryant_Second_Half_Minnestota

3/3 vs. ATL: Bryant scores 20 of his 34 points in the second half (7 for 16 field goals), and the Lakers survive a late rally by the Hawks to win 99-98.
Kobe_Bryant_Second_Half_Atlanta

Over this five-game stretch, Bryant shot a combined 37 of 58 from the floor (63.8 percent), including 5 of 9 three-pointers (55.6 percent). Below is a further breakdown:

- Restricted area: 12 of 16 (75 percent)
- In the Paint (non-restricted area): 8 of 12 (66.7 percent)
- Mid-range: 12 of 21 (57.1 percent)
- Right corner three-pointer: 0 of 1 (0 percent)
- Left corner three-pointer: N/A
- Above the break three-pointer: 5 of 8 (62.5 percent)
Kobe_Bryant_Second_Half
*All information used is courtesy of NBA.com/stats.

Kobe Named All-NBA First Team … Again

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles LakersThe abundant accomplishments in Kobe Bryant’s career continued to mount in 2012-13, with yet another All-Star berth (his 15th) topped by his 15th overall selection to an All-NBA team when he was named to the All-NBA First Team for the 11th time.

This 11th appearance matches Karl Malone’s all-time record for First Team accolades, and the 15th overall matches Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record. In other words, no player in NBA history has more appearances than Bryant, with only two players left to match his consistent greatness over his 17-year career.

Bryant amassed one of his better statistical all-around years in 2012-13, averaging 27.3 points (third in the NBA), 6.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds on 46.3 percent shooting. He started 78 games, missing two because of a severely sprained ankle and the final two of the regular season, plus the playoffs, after tearing his Achilles tendon against Golden State on April 12.

Kobe also moved past Wilt Chamberlain for 4th on the all-time scoring list and became the youngest player to score 30,000 points.

With his 11th First Team selection, Bryant surpassed Hall of Famers Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy, Michael Jordan, Bob Pettit, and Jerry West, who have 10 nods apiece. His 15th overall selection pushed him past Shaquille O’Neal and Malone (14 each).

Bryant’s first appearance on an All-NBA team was in his third season, 1999, when he earned a Third Team nod, as he did in 2005. He was on the Second Team in 2000 and 2001, and the First Team from 2002-13, minus 2005.

To be chosen as an All-NBA honoree, a player is selected by media members that vote for two guards, two forwards and one center for each of the three teams, with Bryant having been named one of the NBA’s top two guards in 64.7 percent of his seasons (11 of 17), and a top six guard in 88.2 percent (15 of 17) of his campaigns.

Bryant’s teammate Dwight Howard was named as the All-NBA Third team center, breaking a streak of five consecutive years on the All-NBA First team. He now has two Third Team selections to give him seven overall appearances.

ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM
G: Chris Paul
G: Kobe Bryant
F: LeBron James
F: Kevin Durant
C: Tim Duncan

ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM
G: Tony Parker
G: Russell Westbrook
F: Carmelo Anthony
F: Blake Griffin
C: Marc Gasol

ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM
G: James Harden
G: Dwyane Wade
F: Paul George
F: David Lee
C: Dwight Howard

Kobe Bryant: 2013 Exit Interview

13exits_KobeKobe Bryant put together one of his better statistical all-around years in his 17th season, averaging 27.3 points (third in the NBA), 6.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds on 46.3 percent shooting. He appeared in 78 games, missing two because of a sprained ankle and the final two of the regular season, plus the playoffs, after tearing his Achilles tendon against Golden State on April 12.

He underwent surgery the following day, the expected timetable recovery being six to nine months. The plan, according to Lakers trainer Gary Vitti, is for Bryant to be ready by the beginning of next season.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

- On why he’s so confident he can be healthy and fully recovered from his Achilles injury in time for the beginning of next season: “The staff we have here, the technology we have available and the understanding of this injury.” Bryant was recommended to have surgery the next day to eliminate the possibility of scar tissue developing and for less swelling. “For me, I’m willing to work and be patient. Those things together and I’m confident I can be ready for next season.” It’s definitely Kobe’s plan to be ready for the start of next season, but he acknowledged that he’ll simply have to see how rehabilitation goes.

- On how he’s feeling right now: “I’m moving a lot faster than I was. It’s a sneaky injury in the sense I don’t feel any pain, no stiffness or any of that. It’s one of those injuries where you keep it in the front of your mind at all times.”

- On if he can look at this season and take any positives away, despite all the adversity the club faced: “If we can gain something positive from this season, it’s (getting) most of the guys back. When you go from a year like this – five games out of the playoffs and then making the No. 7 seed – it does something for the group. It builds character. To allow that to dissipate and do that again with another group, it’s a headache.” Bryant believes the team as currently constructed, providing everybody is healthy next season, can win a championship. He stated the team understood how tough it would be to gain an understanding for one another, but injuries wouldn’t allow for their core group to be on the floor together. “We understood, but we didn’t have a chance to develop it because of injury after injury after injury. It was crazy. It was a constant process for us, but we finally figured it out. It’s great to bring the group back because we know what to do, and we know how lethal we can be.”

- Bryant recognizes that the team needs to add length and speed. “Some athleticism that can offset some of the deficiencies we have. If we can figure out a way to bring some of that length and athleticism, things will be (good).”

- On all the support from the fans during this time, what it means personally to him: “It drives me. It gives me more fuel and more focus to have that support. They believe in me. I take that and I wear that as a badge of honor not to disappoint them.”

- On how long he will continue to play in the league: “I don’t know. The Achilles (injury) kind of threw me a curveball, so I have to think about this.”

- On how he feels about Pau Gasol and whether or not Gasol will be a Laker next season: “I was pretty clear when I met with Mitch (Kupchak). I want him here. He gives us the best chance to win titles. You bring Dwight (Howard) back, then we’re off and running. You saw how well they played together (at the end of the season). That puzzle finally got solved.” Bryant acknowledged that coach Mike D’Antoni made a lot of adjustments during the season to better utilize Gasol, placing him near the elbow and in the post to make plays for his teammates.

- On playing with Steve Nash this year and what, if anything, he learned from him: “It was great to see him work every day, to go through his progressions, how he thinks the game from behind the scenes. (I thought), ‘Oh damn, if I knew that, maybe we could have beaten (Phoenix in the playoffs).’ But you get a chance to see his greatness because he’s extremely intelligent. His work ethic is unbelievable.” For Bryant to praise someone ELSE’S work ethic is definitely something to take seriously. They’re two peas in a pod along those lines.

- On Dwight Howard’s injury situation last year and the current circumstances he is in now trying to recover from surgery: “He went through a situation with back surgery where he was all by himself. He sees that and he doesn’t want me to experience the same thing he experienced. Our bond grew a lot.” Bryant appreciated that Howard visited him at his Orange County home after surgery: “It shows through adversity your bond can become stronger. The support for each other really shined through. That’s why I would love for this group to come back and get another crack at it.”

- With Howard set to be a free agent, Bryant stated he “hopes” the big man returns to L.A next season: “It’s just a matter of what he feels in his heart what and he wants to do. He’s reached a crossroads at his career and I think L.A. is the perfect spot for him to assert himself and have his career take off.” With Howard trying to play his way back into game shape after offseason back surgery, Bryant stated his play in the second half of the year was “impressive.”

Watch every exit interview on our Exit Interview Central

Kobe Postgame Quotes

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento KingsAt 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.

KOBE BRYANT
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.

Bryant and Nash Injury Update

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles LakersLakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemFrom Lakers PR:

Kobe Bryant received treatment on his foot and ankle today and his status for tomorrow is probable. Steve Nash also received treatment today and his status for tomorrow is questionable.

Kobe Pregame Quotes

Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles LakersIn an interview with Time Warner SportsNet before the game, here’s what Kobe Bryant had to say about the left ankle that’s kept him out of the last 11 quarters of Lakers basketball and more:

Q: On how the ankle is feeling:
Bryant: It’s much better. Obviously I can move around freely (without stiffness). In (Thursday’s) practice I felt like I could do everything I wanted to do. As practice went on I started to think about it a little bit, went in the back and iced it down. But today I should be OK.

Q: On the team getting Pau Gasol back as well, and what that can do for the team:
Bryant: We all know what he means to this team and the significance he adds – we have a little more stability to be able to add a weapon to what we do, to feature him, play to his strengths. (He) can make us all better.

Q: On Dwight Howard’s emergence since the All-Star break:
Bryant: I think he’s comfortable with the pressure that we have in terms of winning the championship – he understands that challenge and seems all for it.

Q: On developing some cohesion after a year littered with injuries, with most everybody back now:
Bryant: I think we just have to find that rhythm again – we’ve been able to find it in patches with guys being out, guys being shuffled in and out of the line up.

Q: On having no excuses for the ankle now that he’s on the floor:
Bryant: I draw a quote from the Oz movie that just came out: “Show up, keep up, Shut up.” If I’m here, it’s game time.

Injury Update: Kobe’s Ankle

Lakers Injury Report sponsored by UCLA Health SystemWith two seconds left in L.A.’s 96-92 Wednesday night loss at Atlanta, Kobe Bryant rose for one of his patented shots, a fadeaway jumper from the baseline, attempting to tie a game he’d brought within reach with a turnaround three on the previous possession.

Bryant not only missed, but landed on the foot of Dahntay Jones and severely sprained his left ankle. Bryant was upset about the play, not just because no foul was called when Jones slid underneath him, but because of the way Jones defended him:

“It’s just a very, very dangerous play,” Bryant said. “Especially if I’m fading away, there’s no rhyme or reason why I should come down anywhere near somebody’s foot.”

Bryant said Jones “Jalen Rose’d” him, referring to the 2000 NBA Finals against Indiana, when Bryant landed on Rose’s foot and severely sprained his ankle, forcing him to miss a game. Kobe allowed that this is the worst he’s sprained an ankle since the Rose incident, which the ESPN analyst later admitted on his Grantland.com podcast was intentional.

On his @dahntay1 Twitter account, Jones argued otherwise: “Tape doesn’t lie. Ankle was turned on the floor after the leg kick out that knocked him off balance. I would never try to hurt the man.”

When Jones played for Denver, he had two incidents while defending Bryant in the 2009 Western finals, tripping Kobe on one play and pushing him in the back on another. He was hit with flagrant fouls for both. A reporter asked Bryant if Jones did it on purpose.

“I don’t ever want to put that on somebody,” he responded. “I really don’t. I just think players need to be made conscious of it. I think officials need to protect shooters. Period.”

The NBA agreed with Bryant, stating on Thursday that the play should have been whistled a foul, since Jones moved in and did not allow Bryant space to land. A foul would have granted Kobe two foul shots, and a chance to tie the game at 94.

Bryant’s focus is on the literally constant rehabilitation he’s been doing with head athletic trainer Gary Vitti and his training staff (these are Vitti’s hands around Bryant’s very swollen ankle). Team physical therapist Dr. Judy Seto – who alongside Vitti has helped keep Bryant on the court throughout much of his career – is among those working on Kobe at the team’s hotel in Indianapolis.

Bryant also appears ready to move on from the incident, after acknowledging that he’s happy to share his opinion:

Bryant is officially listed as “out indefinitely,” and thus not necessarily out for any specific number of games, including Friday’s at Indiana. We’ll see where things stand after the team’s shootaround on Friday morning for the only Laker yet to miss a game this season.