New York Times: The Los Angeles Lakers’ forward Kobe Bryant talked to Jonathan Abrams of The Times. Here is a transcript of the interview.
Q. Does a player have to evolve his game to remain relevant and what has the process been like for you?
A. KOBE BRYANT: They’re all one in the same. It’s just working, enjoying what I do. I think I’m really fortunate because I really love what I do. They’re players who do it because they’re good at it or use it as a means just to provide or accolades or adoration. That’s a different kind of motivation. When you do something that you truly, truly love doing, you find yourself wanting to do it all the time.
Q. Why did you start using Tim Grover, Michael Jordan’s former trainer?
A. I was just having some issues that I felt I could get better at, areas that I felt were weak that my previous training program wasn’t hitting on, so I wanted to get better. I had kind of plataued doing the other stuff. So I wanted to get better and improve, so I sought him out.
Q. What areas?
A. All kinds of areas. I won’t go into specific, but I just wanted to get better.
Q. Do you feel like you still have room to grow as a player?
A. I do. I do. I think there’s so much more to understand. A lot of it just has to do with winning. It has nothing to do with me as an individual. Just more so, how can I lead these guys? That’s kind of been the evolution as a basketball player. When you first come into the league, you’re trying to prove yourself as an individual, do things to assert yourself and establish yourself. But then once you’ve done that, there’s another level to the game that’s more complex than figuring out how to put up big numbers as an individual. That’s easy to do.
Q. Do you think your game has evolved since even two, three years ago?
A. Oh, without a doubt. A lot of that has to do with the team that I have because they allow me to explore those other areas of my game because they’re better basketball players, so that enables me to sit back and say, ‘OK, I don’t have to score 40 points a game to keep us competitive.’ I can start thinking the game more and thinking how can I use the pieces that I have here as opposed to thinking, ‘Damn, I’ve got to put my head down and go out there and try to beat two or three guys just to keep us in the game.’ So, I think they help me get to another level of understanding the game.”