After stopping Brandon Jennings in the Lakers’ victory last night, Kobe Bryant dropped by the Loose Cannons Show today to chat with Pat O’Brien and Mike North. He addressed the slow start, potential rifts in the locker room, playing with a sense of urgency, and his future. After Pat ribbed Kobe for not getting him some new Kobe VIII shoes, Kobe promised to get him a pair. Even though Steve Hartman wasn’t on the show, he managed to record a couple of questions for the Black Mamba, and may have gotten a little personal…
Here’s what Kobe had to say to the guys earlier this afternoon.
Pat: Are fans getting their money’s worth so far this season at Laker games?
Kobe: “So far…no.”
Bryant acknowledged that Lakers fans have not been getting enough in terms of the quality of product on the floor this season. He also mentioned that if the Lakers can keep improving and “get where we think this team can go” (presumably, a title), then the season will be a memorable journey, despite the early season struggles.
Pat: It should take 48 wins or so to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. Can you win two of your next three games the rest of the year?
Kobe: “Well that’s the goal…but for us we have to concentrate on the game in front of us.”
Pat: Are the Lakers on the same page? Some players have said they are, but are they REALLY playing together?
Kobe: “Right now we are…we had to go through a period when it feels like we were on the same page, but we really were not. And it is ok to say that…if you have something going on with Metta, or with Steve or myself, we gotta confront each other about that.”
Kobe addressed these issues with the team, urging that it is important to confront each other and help each other out, instead of being “passive aggressive” or “sweeping things under the rug.” Bryant assured the hosts that the Lakers are righting the ship by being open with each other, and confronting each other when necessary, while understanding that they are trying to help each other reach a common goal.
Steve Hartman, out for the day to take a stress test (which he attributes to the Lakers’ woeful record), recorded a question for Kobe:
Steve: Will Number 24 sign a long-term contract extension with the Lakers when his current deal is up?
Kobe: “I Don’t know.” After wishing Steve well, Kobe explained that he has been playing for a long time (17 years to date), and would have to evaluate where he was at the end of next season. He said he would not sign a long-term extension unless he can be sure that he will give “absolutely every ounce” of himself to the Lakers.
Pat: Do there need to be front office changes?
Kobe: No. “Jimmy (Buss) gets a lot of flak that is undeserved.” Kobe praised Jim Buss for bringing in Dwight, Steve Nash, and the supporting cast. This team just had difficulties with the firing of a head coach, and a bad rash of injuries, Kobe said. The front office is fine, the team just needs to get healthy and go through their “growing pains.”
Pat: Dwight Howard said, “let’s pretend we like each other on the court,” while Steve Nash remarked that it might take the summer to develop chemistry from the purple and gold. Is this team trying to win now?
Kobe: “I’ve had to address that…we like each other. Do we go out all the time together? No, but we spend a quite a bit of time together, so to me that was an overreaction.”
More Kobe: “My message is: By any means necessary, it gets done. And it gets done now. I don’t care what injuries you’re dealing with…emotional, personal…whatever is going on, I don’t care. This thing has to get done, and it needs to get done now.”
Pat: What’s going on with Pau?
Kobe: “He had a concussion…it rattles your brain.”
Pat: For fun, who is the greatest active champion on in sports? Tiger Woods, Tom Brady, Derek Jeter and Kobe Bryant. The hosts implore Kobe to pick himself, and Mike informs Kobe that he picked Brady over the Mamba.
Kobe: “I can’t pick myself…you can’t go wrong (with any of them)…I will say that I think I have more than any of them!” Kobe admires watching Tom Brady do his thing, along with the other champions, who have the same drive and passion that he does for their sports.
Pat puts a stop to Hartman’s last question for Kobe – does the Mamba like long walks on the beach? I guess only Vanessa knows for sure…