Kobe Bryant walked over to the far side of the court and initiated the conversation with Jerry Buss today after practice. What a difference a year makes.
Bryant and Buss spoke amiably for a few minutes before parting with a handshake on which Buss reached out gently with his left hand to squeeze Bryant’s elbow for a little extra. Buss had sat in on the first Lakers practice of the season — his car parked just outside the door with the license plate “9XWCHAMP” — and had the most fun watching Bryant and Pau Gasol play a fun game of one-on-one on a side basket while most of the other Lakers ran practice-ending sprints.
Buss smiled big and laughed loud when Bryant got on a roll, scoring time after time over Gasol on an array of short pull-up jumpers before breaking out a lovely up-and-under move after Sasha Vujacic had tried to advise Gasol to stand taller by repeatedly yelling over: “He can’t shoot over you!” Gasol finally surrendered with a playfully hard foul on the next Bryant attack.