This past offseason wasn’t exactly a vacation for Kobe Bryant.
There was the uncertainty of the NBA lockout to go with the on-again, off-again rumors that Bryant would head overseas.
There was the experimental knee surgery, a risky move that – if successful – could return Bryant to full strength, without the limitations he dealt with last season.
There were the allegations of assault after Bryant allegedly ripped a churchgoer’s cell phone away while the man was taking pictures of him during a Church service.
To complicate it all, the Lakers appear to have a significantly reduced roster heading into the season, thanks in part to Commissioner Stern’s unprecedented decision to veto a trade that would have given the Lakers Chris Paul in exchange for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.
Bryant addressed all of this (and more) in a recent sit-down with Yahoo! Sports. Here are some of the highlights:
Bryant on staying with the Lakers:
“Of course (I want to stay). No question. Why not? I’ve been here for 16 years. I’m going to up and leave now?”
Bryant on why the Lakers can win the title this season:
“We have a good roster here. People look at our roster and it doesn’t have the sexy names people want to see nowadays with the super teams. But I believe it’s good enough to get it done.”
Bryant on his conversation with Odom after the trade:
“I just wished him the best. I told him to just do your thing and make us proud, except when you are playing against us.”
You can check out the entire interview with Bryant here.