While the Lakers were handed a last second loss to the Chicago Bulls late Monday night, Kobe Bryant made some noise of his own before tip off. By way of the LA Times’ Mike Bresnahan, Bryant expressed his dislike for the current state of the NBA and it’s “finesse” players.
“It’s more of a finesse game [now], it’s more small ball, which personally I don’t really care much for,” Bryant said Monday before the Lakers played the ChicagoBulls. “I like kind of smash-mouth, old-school basketball because that’s what I grew up watching.
“Some of the flagrant fouls that I see called nowadays just makes me nauseous. You can’t touch a guy without it being a flagrant foul.”
Being drafted into the NBA in 1996 Bryant entered a more physical league as driving the lane could land on you the free throw line or on your back. In today’s game some players, according to Bryant, can’t even be breathed upon hard otherwise a foul will be called.
“Nowadays, literally anybody can get out there and get to the basket because you can’t touch anybody,” he said. “Back then, guys put their hands on you, you had to have the skill to be able to go both ways, change directions and post up. You had to have midrange game because you didn’t want to go all the way to the basket because you’d get knocked [flat]. Playing the game back then required much more skill.”
Any way for the league to go back to those physical days?
“Kids might be a little too sensitive for that nowadays,” Bryant said.
Bryant did not stop there as he moved on to the NBA’s age limit restriction and stated he reservations. Kobe has always been a huge supporter of allowing high school seniors to declare for the draft as he did so and has since become very successful.
“If you do the numbers and look at the count, you’ll probably see players that come out of high school that were much more successful on average than players who went to college for a year or two years and left early,” Bryant said. “It seems like the system really isn’t teaching players anything when you go to college. You go to college, you play, you showcase and you come to the pros.”
“We kind of got sold on that [college] dream a little bit. Fortunately I didn’t really listen much to it,” Bryant said. “Neither did KG. Neither did LeBron. I think that worked out pretty well for all three of us.
“I’m always a firm believer in us being able to make our own decisions, especially as it pertains to going out and working and having a job.”
Finally, Bryant touched upon how he will fill the playing void once he retires. After playing basketball for over half of his life, he will need something to help him cope with not being able to put on a Laker uniform night in and night out.
“It’s in my blood so I’ll be involved in some capacity. It’s just who I am,” he said.
While it is always fun to analyze quotes from Bryant it would be much more appealing if he were on the court playing for the Lakers. Bryant believes that when he returns he will play with confidence and have no doubt that he will become the player he once was.
“There was [doubt] before I came back the first time because I didn’t know how my Achilles’ was going to respond to playing and change of directions,” he said. “The [last] game in Memphis, I had a pretty good feel for it. I was getting back to being able to do what I normally could do.
“So I feel pretty confident about it. I did play that second half on a fractured leg and a torn Achilles.”