HOOPSWORLD.COM: When Travis Heath asked me if he should get with Kobe Bryant on a recent trip to cover Team USA in Las Vegas I told him just go and ask Kobe and see what he said. As it turned out, Kobe was very giving of his time and generous with his answers. Of course, Travis stuck to friendly territory. The one thing we noticed most on feedback related to the video was that people were trying to figure out what Kobe’s answers meant in relation to the Lakers. The truth is he had nothing to say about the Lakers in the video, which you can see on the main page if you scroll down through the video clips on the right side of the screen. Travis didn’t ask him anything about the Lakers. We were, after all, there to cover Team USA. Protocol dictates that you don’t hang a player out to dry when you want insightful answers.
When I turned off the camera Travis remarked that Kobe really was a good interview, which was consistent with my experience. We don’t see him that often, what with Travis being in Denver most of the time and me hanging out in the Texas Triangle. The few times I’ve interviewed Kobe he has been funny, insightful, and forthright. I’ve heard the stories about his dark side, of course, and everyone knows about his borderline schizophrenia when it comes to his future with the Lakers. But at the end of the day I have no reason to bash Kobe based on any personal experience.
I’m sure my perspective would be different if I covered him on a daily basis with the Lakers, as HOOPSWORLD’s Eric Pincus does. It must be frustrating not knowing which Kobe you’re going to get. Will it be the self-centered and self-serving Kobe, or the selfless teammate Kobe? It’s hard to imagine covering someone who can be two totally different people from game to game. Dirk Nowitzki, for instance, never blames his teammates or management when things don’t go well. Yao Ming always talks about what he could have done better when the Rockets lose and wouldn’t dream of making his teammates look bad. That’s not the case with Kobe. It seems when things are going well he’s all about taking credit, but when things sour he’s the first to point a finger.