O.C. Register: Here’s how Phil Jackson put it recently when taking Kobe Bryant’s explosive offseason and trying to put the blasted pieces together for a coherent picture: “He has already been to the mountaintop. Anything besides that makes it very difficult. I know that frustration.”
The one thing laid-back Jackson long has been working with Bryant on is teaching him to loosen the white-knuckle grip on everything that is a control freak’s reflex. Bryant’s recent outbursts against the Lakers reflected his inability to deal with failures that were somewhat out of his control.
“Just had to put it aside, not think about it,” Bryant said Saturday. “I just wanted to move forward, not be distracted by it.”
That had been Bryant’s initial plan after huddling with Jackson two days after the Lakers’ season ended. Bryant said then he would not fret about the Lakers’ need to make roster upgrades as the summer played out, mentioning the USA Basketball opportunities that awaited him. He failed spectacularly trying to let go of that Lakers-related frustration, but now that he is at the U.S. team’s mini-camp this weekend, he is breezily succeeding.
“I’m in a better place … I’m here,” he said.