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Ryan Kelly

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Los Angeles Times

Back from injury, Steve Nash and Steve Blake will both return to the starting lineup tonight vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Nash will be on a minutes restriction according to coach Mike D’Antoni. The plan is for Nash to play 5-8 minutes in the first quarter then not play again until the third quarter where he will play another 5-8 minutes.

Nash will not play on the second of a back-to-back versus the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow night.

It is unclear whether Blake will be on a minutes restriction as well, but he will start alongside Nash. Jodie Meeks will be the third guard in the starting lineup tonight which gives the Lakers a small lineup as all three players are 6’4 and under. Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly get the start in the front court.

If you are wondering about Chris Kaman, D’Antoni says he “will play a lot of minutes” off the bench.

As for Jordan Farmar, D’Antoni says he will suit up and could play limited minutes.  The plan for Farmar is to get Nash’s minutes tomorrow night so they are hoping to save him for one more day.

The question now is what happens to Kendall Marshall? Averaging 10.5 points and 9.6 assists, the young point guard has definitely earned his minutes on the team but with Nash, Blake, and Farmar returning, will his minutes decrease dramatically?  We will have a good idea of that over the next few games.

Are you happy with the changes being made to the Lakers lineup?

 

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January 20, 2014 — 5:00 PM (PST)
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

The Lakers (16-25) now have a winning streak.

After beating the Toronto Raptors yesterday morning, the Lakers will play the Chicago Bulls (19-20) on the Bulls’ home court as they have their first winning streak since December 20th, when they had a 2 game winning streak.

G/F Nick Young came back from his 1 game suspension and played with excellent confidence, scoring a game-high 29 points, shooting 7-13 from the field and made 10-11 free throws. F Ryan Kelly thrived in his first career start, scoring 17 points and having confidence getting shots up. The Lakers now have to use these last 2 victories to fuel them in tonight’s game and play with confidence.

The Bulls have made a lot of roster turnovers and its management seems to be looking more into the future especially after superstar PG Derrick Rose tore a meniscus in his knee, ending his season. The Bulls traded all-star SF Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers a few weeks ago for 3 future draft picks and C Andrew Bynum‘s contract to free up their salary.

However, the Bulls have played well, going 5-2, since Deng’s trade. The Lakers cannot take them lightly and stay focused throughout the game. Without their best 2 players from the beginning of the season, the Bulls win a lot of their games on defense, allowing the 3rd lowest field goal percentage in the NBA at 43.0%. F Carlos Boozer leads the Bulls on the offensive end, averaging 15.0 PPG and 8.6 RPG. Boozer has played solidly despite the roster transactions in trying to keep the Bulls in a playoff position this season.

Boozer lines up next to All-Star C Joakin Noah to create a force on the front line. Noah, who averages 11.7 PPG, 11.0 RPG, and 1.3 BPG,  makes his name on the defensive end, being named on the NBA All-Defensive 1st team last season. Hopefully, C Pau Gasol can stay aggressively despite matching up with Noah at the Center position tonight to keep the Lakers in the game.

Projected Starters

PG - Kendall Marshall / Kirk Hinrich [Advantage: Bulls]
SG - Jodie Meeks / Jimmy Butler [Advantage: Bulls]
SF - Wesley Johnson / Mike Dunleavy [Advantage: Bulls]
PF - Ryan Kelly / Carlos Boozer [Advantage: Bulls]
C - Pau Gasol / Joakim Noah [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Bulls: G Tony SnellPG DJ Augustin, F Taj Gibson

Lakers: G Nick Young, G Manny Harris, F Jordan Hill

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Bulls: Out-G Derrick Rose

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-PG Steve Blake, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-PG Jordan Farmar

Keys for Lakers Victory

Rebounding: The Lakers absolutely have to limit the Bulls to one possession and not allow offensive rebounds in order to have a chance at winning this match up. The Bulls average the NBA’s 6th best 12.1 offensive rebounds per game, using their big man, Noah, Boozer, and 6th man F Taj Gibson to crash the offensive glass after every shot. This does not suit well at all for the Lakers, who allow the most offensive rebounds in the league by a wide margin at 13.1 offensive rebounds per game. Instead of having the guards leak out after every Bulls shot, all 5 Lakers have to find a Bulls player to box out and then crash the boards to not allow extra unnecessary possessions.

Bottom Line

The Lakers do not match up well vs. the Bulls at all. The Bulls play very physical on both ends of the floor under Head Coach Tom Thibodeau‘s leadership, especially since they do not possess as much talent compared to previous years. Shooting very well like they did vs. Raptors will keep the Lakers in the game, but they need to maintain their energy for a full 48 minutes without allowing any lengthy

Prediction

Bulls: 98-89

 

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Image Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein | Getty Images

January 19, 2014 — 10:00 AM (PST)
Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Canada
TV: TWC SportsNet / NBATV
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

The Lakers (15-25) got a much needed win vs. their arch-rival Boston Celtics  Friday, snapping a very dismal 6-game losing streak. Despite G/F Nick Young‘s absence due to his 1-game suspension, the rest of the Lakers found a way go gut out an impressive victory. F Ryan Kelly had a breakout game, scoring a career high 20 points, while F/C Pau Gasol has been playing like the Gasol of old, contributing 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists. Now, the Lakers have to carry their momentum across the border to play the Raptors in an early-morning game.

The Raptors come to today’s game as the 3rd place team in the Eastern Conference. Yes, you did not misread my statement. Since the SF Rudy Gay blockbuster trade that occurred between the Raptors and the Sacramento Kings, the Raptors have completely turned their fortune around, going 14-6 since the trade occurred. The Raptors will be led by G Demar Derozan and PG Kyle Lowry. Derozan, a local product out of USC and Compton High School, has seemed to finally use his raw athleticism efficiently, leading the Raptors in scoring at a career high 21.2 PPG. Lowry has become very crucial in the Raptors recent success, averaging 16.2 PPG and 7.2 APG. Lowry seems to have eliminated himself from the trade block due to the Raptors recent success.

Projected Starters

PG - Kendall Marshall / Kyle Lowry [Advantage: Raptors]
SG - Jodie Meeks / Terrence Ross[Advantage: Even]
SF - Wesley Johnson / Demar Derozan[Advantage: Raptors]
PF - Ryan Kelly / Jonas Valanciunas [Advantage: Raptors]
C - Pau Gasol / Amir Johnson [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Raptors: F Patrick Patterson, F Chuck Hayes, PG Greivis Vasquez, F John Salmons

Lakers: G Nick Young, C Robert Sacre, F Ryan Kelly, C Chris Kaman

Bench Advantage: Even

Injury List

Raptors: Questionable-F Tyler Hansborough, Questionable-F John Salmons

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-PG Steve Blake, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-PG Jordan Farmar

Keys for Lakers Victory

Defense: Despite their victory vs. Celtics, the Lakers still have major problems on the defensive end, allowing 104 points. They should have easily defeated the Celtics especially since they shot 60% from behind the 3-pt line. If the Lakers cannot shoot as well today, they will be in a lot of trouble from the start, especially since the Raptors have been playing with a lot of confidence. By the way, lets hope C/F Amir Johnson does look like the second coming of Hall of Fame C Hakeem Olajuwon again vs. the Lakers after he torched them, scoring a career high 32 points.

Bottom Line

The rosters for both the Lakers and the Raptors have make a complete overhaul since their last matchup on December 7th. The Raptors have skyrocketed through the Eastern Conference into the 3rd seed, while the Lakers have crashed into the cellar of the Western Conference. With a victory to make the Lakers feel good, lets hope they use that victory to play inspired basketball instead of playing lethargically especially on the defensive end. However, the Raptors look like a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference, so heart and effort might not even be enough for these Lakers today.

Prediction

Raptors: 110-98

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Jesse Buss
Photo: Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images

By Alex Lambeth, with contributions from Jory Dreher

Jesse Buss
Photo: Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images

Jesse Buss, Lakers’ Scouting Coordinator and L.A. D-Fenders’ Director of Scouting, joined LakerNation.com for an exclusive interview this past week.

Buss, the youngest descendant of the late, great Dr. Jerry Buss, is a vital member of the Lakers’ scouting staff. He joined us to describe his role for the Lakers, detail the intricate scouting process he oversees, speak on his father’s legacy, as well as a plethora of other topics.

Take a listen above, as Buss joined our inaugural Laker Nation Podcast, or read below to learn more about the youngest Buss sibling, and his close relationship with his father:

Alex Lambeth: What exactly is your role with the Lakers?

Jesse Buss: My job as the Director of Scouting basically consists of scheduling our scouting staff to see college games for the upcoming season, helping organize meetings with all of our scouts, and scouting prospects on a regular basis. I’m in constant contact with our staff. We’re constantly bouncing ideas off of each other of what players we need to spend most of our time focusing on, important events we need to attend, and just talking about what we’ve seen throughout the entire scouting year. I share an office in El Segundo with Ryan West, and him and I talk almost everyday—about everything that goes into scouting. Basically the day after the draft and during the off-season it’s more about preparation for the upcoming season and the following draft.

AL: How does scouting for the D-Fenders differ from the Lakers?

Buss: It differs in the fact that in the NBA draft, you know the players that you’re scouting on a year-to-year basis are going to be in the draft eventually—whether it’s in the same year that you scout them or in the future. For the NBDL players that are drafted, they come from leagues all around the world. They could have been in the NBA at some point and played overseas for a couple years, then want to get back into the NBA system and on the radar. They could be rookies from college who didn’t get drafted into the NBA, or they could be veterans of the developmental league. The draft pool consists of players that the league signs to a contract and then they participate in the draft, if another D-League team does not already hold their rights.

AL: What specifically do you look for in prospects?

Buss: There are a number of factors that I use when evaluating prospects. I think it’s important to not focus too much on one thing specifically, but to focus more so on the overall picture. There are obvious things on the court that involve physical gifts and talent levels, but there are also off the court characteristics that we look at. We have staff rank each player individually that will make the most positive impact on our franchise.

AL: The Lakers as an organization seems to always carry a “win now” mentality, does that put additional pressure on your staff to find guys who can fit in quickly?

Buss: I would say it’s the same pressure when we’re suggesting drafting any player for the Lakers. It’s important to have a player who can come in and make a difference right away, but I would say the factor we really look at is who we believe is going to be the best player for the Lakers overall. The goal I personally have in my mind is that I want us to draft a player who will contribute to the Lakers winning for the longevity of his career.

AL: Give us your thoughts on rookie forward Ryan Kelly out of Duke University.

Buss: He’s a fundamental player with a good amount of skill and a high basketball IQ. I believe he fits well with this system that we have, because he can add another dimension to our team. We don’t have a guy like him right now. There aren’t many guys with his size, he’s a legit 6’11”, that have the ability to shoot the ball from the range that he does. He’s a hard worker and has a good character, and I’m excited to watch him play.

AL: What kind of impact do you think rookie Elias Harris will have with the Lakers this season?

Buss: He brings certain things like his energy, toughness and athleticism that we can definitely use. It’s important to have guys who will work hard day in and day out, and always bring a level of competitiveness to raise the levels of others. It’s important to get younger players on the roster that our staff can continue to develop and eventually make an impact on the court.

Jory Dreher: What was it like growing up in a “basketball family”? Especially when your father, the late, great Dr. Jerry Buss, was one of the most iconic sports owners in history?

Buss: It definitely added to all of our competitive natures. As a family, we love to win and we’re very dedicated in doing so. My dad was able to instill that in all of us at a young age. For me personally, it was great to be able to share a deep passion amongst loved ones and often find common ground through it.

JD: If you could sum up the ‘Buss legacy’ in one sentence, how would you describe it?

Buss: That’s tough. I would say he was very successful in whatever he put his hands on, but the most important thing is that he had a strong presence and it proved to be the right way to run the franchise.

JD: Out of the sixteen championships that the Lakers have won, do any of them stand out to you personally? Do you have a favorite?

Buss: I remember five of them, which were the first three with Kobe and Shaq and then our most recent two in 2009 and 2010. I’d probably say the 2000 championship, because the first one you get to experience is always the sweetest, and that was really the first one for me. I was born late ’87 so the last one we won before that I wouldn’t remember. But yeah, that was definitely the most memorable one for me.

JD: How sweet was it to finally get past Boston in the 2010 Finals?

Buss: The last time we beat Boston I wasn’t even alive yet, but I do know how much it meant to my dad. He said on many occasions that he hated Boston—there’s nothing better than beating Boston when we were able to. After the ’08 Finals, it was especially sweet to beat them in 2010 and do it on our home floor. That was a wonderful experience.

JD: How do you expect Dr. Buss’s legacy to live on?

Buss: He’ll always be known as a person who cared deeply about the Lakers and the fans, even if he didn’t personally know all of them. He did everything he could to constantly bring a winner to Los Angeles and helped build the NBA to where it is today. He was a mentor and an inspiration to many people, including myself. He was very well known for his generosity. He was just a really cool guy and I couldn’t have asked for a better father.

JD: What is the biggest lesson about the business that you’ve learned from your father?

Buss: To always have the right people around you and let them do their jobs.

JD: I know that your father was your best friend, could you just speak on the bond that you two shared?

Buss: He was just somebody I could talk to about pretty much anything. He just understood all aspects of life—whether it was talking about a movie we had just seen, the latest hip-hop song that came out, basketball, or anything personal. He just really knew how to relate to anyone he talked to. He let me grow and develop as a person without trying to force me to do something. He was the type of person that would help you with something if you needed it and asked for it, but would prefer to let you figure it out yourself. Personally, I believe that was very empowering for me as an individual. I can’t thank him enough for everything that he has done for me. It is definitely a huge void in my life not having him here; I really miss talking to him.

JD: I recall a past interview that you had given to Lakers’ beat reporter Mike Trudell, in which you said your brother, Jim Buss, took you under his wing. What are some of the things that you picked up from him?

Buss: The first couple of scouting trips I did years ago were with him. He kind of just showed me the ropes in the sense of what the job entails. I would probably say the most important impact that he’s had on me is just the trust he’s put in me, and also at the same time just telling me to trust and believe in myself, as well.

AL: How often do you collaborate with your brother and General Manager Mitch Kupchak?

Buss: We often talk about everything that’s going on with anything that’s basketball related: anything that’s current, any game we saw, what’s going on with our team. But mainly we collaborate with college scouting and anything involved with that. I like to think that I’m constantly an information source for anything that’s going on scouting-wise for them. During the entire draft process, which is basically the whole year once the college season starts and even a little bit before that with the tournament, camps, and workouts, we collaborate almost everyday in preparation for the draft.

AL: Is that probably the most grueling part of the season for you, right up until the draft?

Buss: I would say probably during the last month, because you have all the information that you need. You’ve seen all the players you need to see and now it’s just about putting that to use. We watch a ton of tape, especially the last month when we’re all rooted and we’re able to be in the office everyday, as opposed to having to be on the road constantly. So, we’re really able to grind out everything that we need to. It’s more excitement than I would say grueling. We all love to do it and we all work very well together and we have a blast when we’re doing it.

AL: You started out as an assistant to Glenn Carraro, may you elaborate on the transitional period from then to now?

Buss: I started working as a basketball operations assistant under Glenn about eight years ago. I would do different things like statistical projects, filing scouting reports, organizing tape for our staff to watch, amongst other things. During that time I was scouting local college games for the first couple of years. Probably three or four years after that process, I started traveling around a lot more often and going to different places around the country and watching more college games. That essentially became the priority of my job. I did that for a couple of years and then I became more involved with the managerial type role in the scouting department.

AL: What is the most challenging part about scouting?

Buss: Well, in terms of scouting prospects there are certain factors that go beyond what a player can bring a team that you can’t really predict: injuries, misfortunes, etc. In terms of the actual job, the travel is difficult at times, but I enjoy it. I would say I’m probably out of town close to 100 days out of the year; I probably take 60 or so flights a year. So the travel can wear on you physically.

JD: With scouting being a year-round job, how many Lakers games are you able to catch per year?

Buss: I watch every Laker game one way or another, whether it’s live or recorded on TV, computer, cell phone, or when I’m actually in the stands. I would say I’m physically there for about half of the regular season games, whether we’re at home or on the road. I’m not present for as many home games because I’m constantly on the road. But at times I can catch the team when they’re playing in the city close to where I’m scouting.

JD: With all the traveling, what do you think is the most exciting part of your job?

Buss: I would say the most exciting part is being able to watch hundreds of new prospects every year. It’s definitely fun to watch players when they’re younger to see their progression and development throughout the years.

AL: Do you have any good scouting stories you can share with us?

Buss: Throughout the years I’ve had the pleasure to attend many exciting basketball games. I think the most interesting experience I’ve had is seeing two games in two different states in one day, and then the next day we’re in a different state seeing a different game. So all that type of travel and how it’s very condensed is interesting and at times, you’re driving through three states in two days.

AL: How about your favorite venue to watch college games?

Buss: I do have a couple. If I had to narrow it down to one actually, I really enjoy going to San Diego State and watching games there. Over the last couple years where they’ve been nationally ranked and they’ve had a couple kids come out there, the crowds have been very energetic and it’s just a great atmosphere. I definitely enjoy watching games there. Besides that, I’ve been to Kansas and that’s always electric. North Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville, those are all really great schools to watch a game, and Michigan as well. Those are probably my top schools where I like to watch a game.

AL: Finally, your top Lakers players of all-time, in no particular order?

Buss: Well at my office I’m just looking outside and I see all the retired jerseys, so of course I have to mention quite a few of them. In no particular order though, I would say Kobe Bryant, Magic [Johnson], Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal, Pau Gasol, and Kareem Abdul-Jabar.

Continuing on Pau Gasol:

Buss: It was during a very crucial time when he came to our team and he proved to be the missing piece. He contributed to two more titles for us. He’s been a great Laker.

AL: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us Mr. Buss. It was an honor and we really enjoyed it. We hope you did too!

Buss: Yes I did, my pleasure. Thank you very much.

There you have it Laker Nation! Our exclusive interview with Jesse Buss, Lakers’ Scouting Coordinator and L.A. D-Fenders’ Director of Scouting. We hope to catch up with him again later in the year.

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Lost in yesterday’s Michael Beasley hoopla, ESPN LA’s Dave McMenamin mentioned a small piece of bad news for the Lakers pertaining to their 2013 second round pick, Ryan Kelly:

“The Lakers drafted Ryan Kelly in the second round primarily for his ability to stretch the floor with his long-range accuracy, but the team has been discouraged by the rookie’s progress during the summer, according to multiple league sources. The Lakers doubt that Kelly, who missed summer league while recovering from multiple foot procedures, will be ready for the start of training camp.”

With this news coming out about Kelly, it makes sense as to why the Lakers went out and signed forward Shawne Williams, another player that can spread the floor in Mike D’Antoni’s offense.

It’s certainly disappointing news about the 6’11 power forward out of Duke.  There was a sense of hope that Kelly could play a crucial role off the bench as a stretch four but with concerns about his foot, it’s tough to see him missing his first camp and still being on the roster come opening night.  A D-League stint is a realistic possibility to start the season, which could certainly extend to the entire year.

Excluding Kelly from the mix, the Lakers will have two spots open heading into camp if they decide to go with a 15 man roster.  Some sources close to the Lakers have indicated they could go with a 14 man roster instead.

 

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Image: Nokia Theatre
Image: Nokia Theatre
Image: Nokia Theatre

August 15th, 2013 The Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation partnered with the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to host Kobe Up Close.

All proceeds from the event went towards eliminating homelessness in Los Angeles.

The event was a unique opportunity for Lakers fans to access the unfiltered mind of their beloved superstar, Kobe Bryant.

In attendance at the event were current Lakers Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly and Wesley Johnson, new assistant coach Mark Madsen, former Lakers coach Bill Sharman, Lakers executives Jeanie Buss and Jim Buss, former NFL player Terrell Owens, among others.

The event began with CBS sportscaster Jim Hill speaking on Bryant.

Hill on his first impression of Bryant back when he was drafted by the Lakers:

“I remember Jerry West talking about Kobe Bryant and saying he was going to be very, very special. He was going to be one of the true great ones. And Jerry doesn’t say that about a lot of people, especially young people.”

“The first time I met Kobe, I knew then he was going to be not only a great one, but a very special one.”

On just how special Bryant really is:

“We will never see the likes of Kobe Bryant again, he is truly a gifted basketball player.”

“He doesn’t look at basketball as a job. For him it’s a passion. He’s spoiled us with his excellence.”

“What drives Kobe the most is when people doubt him. You will see a devoted Kobe this season like you’ve never seen before.”

Former Laker Robert Horry also spoke on Bryant before the main event started.

Horry on Bryant’s mental edge:

“Kobe’s mindset is amazing. When you see someone in the locker room as focused as he was, it really lifts everyone else up.”

On his relentless work ethic:

“When you walk into practice and you see him in there working hard. He’s in there sweating before you get there and after you leave.”

After Horry’s short segment, the main event with Kobe Bryant and Jimmy Kimmel began.

Bryant on the number of minutes he played last season:

“I don’t think it was too many. The Achilles injury was just a freak injury.”

On whether he’ll play less minutes next season:

“That’s the goal … I could sit back until June, I just want that jewelry.”

On when he will play again:

“I don’t know if I’ll be ready opening night, but I am really ahead of schedule.”

On whether it was a personal decision to stop tweeting during games last season or a franchise decision:

“That was my decision. The Lakers know I’m a little too stubborn to ever be told anything.”

On his popularity in China:

“I really don’t know. I started going out there in 1998 and have gone every summer since.”

Kobe was a Lakers fan even before he came to the United States:

“While I was living in Italy, my grandpa used to send me tapes of Lakers games and I absolutely fell in love with them.”

On his decision to skip college and go straight to the NBA out of high school:

“I liked Duke and I absolutely love Coach K. If I had had to make a decision though, I would have gone to North Carolina. Mainly because of the competition and being able to play against Vince Carter every day to improve.”

“The first college letter I ever received was from West Point … I was just happy to get a letter.”

Would he tell others to skip college?

“I would just tell others to follow their dreams.”

On his pre-draft workout with the Clippers:

“The Clippers told me they wouldn’t draft me because they wanted to ‘turn things around.’ They said they wouldn’t be taken seriously if they drafted a 17-year-old kid out of high school.”

On the late Dr. Jerry Buss:

“He knew exactly what his vision was. He was very patient, understanding. He allowed me room to grow as a person.”

On his first time meeting Shaquille O’Neal:

“It was the coolest thing in the world that he had a huge cell phone.”

Which title was Bryant’s favorite during his time with Shaq?

“Number 2. We should have gone undefeated. It still bothers us to this day that we let that one game drop.”

What is Bryant’s relationship with Michael Jordan like?

“It’s like a big brother relationship. He gives me phenomenal advice on how to better elevate my teammates.”

On who are the toughest players he’s played against:

“Allen Iverson was a load to handle. Stephon Marbury dropped 50 on me once. Gilbert Arenas. Today, probably Carmelo Anthony because he’s so strong. Kevin Durant too. The guy who gave me the most trouble though was Tracy McGrady.”

When asked if he was certain he’d be a Laker for life, Bryant responded: “Yeah.”

Bryant on Dwight Howard and his exodus from Los Angeles:

“Dwight is a great kid. We have different perspectives on what it takes to win and what it takes to be successful.”

On trying to convince Howard to stay:

“It’s all about the organization and trying to set them up the best I can for when I retire.”

On his once volatile relationship with Shaq:

“It never bothered me when other people said, ‘You only won because of Shaq.’ It bothered me when Shaq said it.”

On his evolution as both a player and a person:

“I was so consumed with my craft in the beginning of my career. … I go into games now looking at what my guys are going through and who’s struggling, and how I can help. I look at my teammates now as partners.”

When asked if he could have one former teammate return, who would it be:

“I’d take Derek Fisher back … that’s my guy.”

On what he’s most proud of:

“Being a 17-year-old kid and challenging the system at the time.”

Is Bryant chasing Kareem Abdul-Jabar’s all-time scoring mark?

“I’m so obsessed with winning that those type of things don’t really matter to me.”

Which is Bryant’s favorite nickname right now?

“I like Vino right now. Black Mamba is my alter-ego.”

On the ESPN experts projecting the Lakers to finish 12th in the West this season:

“I use it as motivation, as fuel. We were the favorites last year and they were wrong about that.”

On who is the ‘next Kobe Bryant’:

“There’s several. Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. Even Nick Young. They all have that gene.”

The event ended with Terrell Owens asking Bryant a few questions. The two share a common neuro-muscular scientist consultant in Barrence Baytos. Both Bryant and Owens raved about Baytos and Bryant called him a “genius” who has helped prolong his career.

The Kobe Up Close event was a great opportunity to delve into the mind of Kobe Bryant.

This revealing ‘other side’ to the ever-intense Black Mamba was certainly riveting and quite interesting.

Bryant will continue what he called an “aggressive” rehabilitation process as he prepares to return from his Achilles tendon tear.

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