Kobe Bryant reminisces about career at NBA All-Star weekend

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I’m looking around the room and seeing guys that I’m playing with that are tearing the league up that were 4 in my first All-Star game,” Bryant said. “How many players can say they played 20 years and actually have seen the game go through three or four generations?”Bryant can. Yet, he joked he will play only 10 minutes as a starter for the Western Conference, mindful that he has nursed soreness in recent weeks in his right shoulder. But even limited minutes will not diminish Bryant’s presence. Chicago forward and former Lakers teammate Pau Gasol said “it will be emotional for me to see him.” “We definitely want to send him off on a good note,” Thunder forward Kevin Durant said. “We know he’s going to be super competitive.”Yet, Bryant reiterated he has “zero” aspirations to set the record for most NBA All-Star MVPs after collecting four (2002, 2007, 2009, 2011) to tie Bob Pettit. “I’m enjoying this whole thing with being around these players and talking to them one more time,” Bryant said. “The competitiveness in terms of me trying to establish something and prove something, that’s gone.”Not completely. Bryant admitted he still laments the Lakers losing in the 2004 NBA Finals to Detroit and 2008 NBA Finals to Boston.“I wish I could have won the two that got away,” Bryant said. “Those are tangible things I felt I could have adjusted.”Bryant then argued he should have become “more nit-picky” on how the Lakers ran their offense during the 2003-04 season. Bryant also wished he had his teammates “play with a more physical nature” throughout the 2007-08 campaign.Still, Bryant expressed gratitude for recovering from season-ending injuries to his left Achilles tendon, left knee and right shoulder. Though he conceded “it would’ve been amazing” if he ended his 20th and final NBA season with a championship, Bryant argued he “can’t complain about that.“I’ve been very, very fortunate,” said Bryant, who has won five titles. “You got to be able to take the good with the bad.”Bryant shared that attitude during a press conference filled with non sequiturs. When a reporter asked if he could speak any Arabic, Bryant enthusiastically asked him to teach him some words. Bryant offered greetings to reporters stationed from Taiwan, China, India and the Philippines. When asked to name any Canadians not named Drake, Bryant answered with Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash, Andrew Wiggins and Rachel McAdams. Bryant also addressed various news topics. Bryant waxed nostalgia he will play in the same city that hosts the franchise he scored a career-high 81 points against nearly a decade ago. He predicted Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry will win the 3-point shooting contest. Bryant expressed gratitude former Lakers and Clippers Lamar Odom has traveled to New York after being hospitalized for most of the year after falling unconscious at a Nevada brothel. Bryant pleaded patience with the Lakers’ rebuilding process.“It’s tough. You can always plan to do a certain thing and then certain things happen,” Bryant said. “So now you have to adjust. They’re still adjusting. It’s going to take time. They’ll figure it out.”Soon enough, an NBA official ended the press conference. Bryant then offered something poetic to sum up his accomplished career.“A legend that had every passion,” Bryant said, “and poured it out into the game that he loved.”Bryant then walked away from the stage. The cameras furiously clicked and flashed with the same intensity that greeted Bryant when he first arrived. center_img TORONTO >> Every move Kobe Bryant made sparked hysteria. His presence caused several to chant his name. Usually the Lakers’ star creates this atmosphere after he scores a basket. This time, Bryant sparked a stir amid the estimated 150 journalists, both real and imagined, that surrounded him during media availability on Friday as part of NBA All-Star weekend.Bryant’s press conference started with alleged reporters clapping upon his arrival. Bryant answered questions in English, Spanish and Italian. A few international media members greeted Bryant with gifts. One Toronto-based reporter handed Bryant a personalized “Thank you” card. A Japanese reporter gave Bryant a piece of artwork that depicted Bryant as a samurai. Somewhere in between, Bryant talked the fans selecting him for his 18th and final All-Star game during his 20th NBA season on Sunday at Air Canada Centre.last_img read more