Kobe Bryant discussed the departure of Dwight Howard, his recovery from a torn Achilles, and the future of the Lakers at UC Santa Barbara on July 10, 2013.
Kobe Bryant was at the University of California at Santa Barbara Wednesday for his Nike basketball camp. Despite being about three months into his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon, the Lakers living legend made it a point to show up to the camp and talk to the kids.
Bryant’s recovery was far from complete, and he revealed that he was still about one month away from being able to run. However, he had previously posted a picture of himself shooting a basketball, so what was his level of mobility?
“I could shoot right now, but we just don’t trust that the tendons hold,” Bryant said. “Typically, it’s four months minimum until the tendon is holding, and it’s not going to overstretch. So we’ll just wait till that window.”
As such, he would not take part in any physical activities with the kids, but appearing at the camp was important to Bryant.
“Growing up as a kid, I used to go to camps that were sponsored by some top athletes,” Bryant started out. “They never ever show up. They would never be there. So, it was upsetting to me.”
Then, it was time to discuss the elephant in the room. To be more accurate, it was time to discuss the elephant no longer in the room: Dwight Howard.
Why did Howard leave?
“I don’t know,” Bryant said. "You look at me and really think once a guy decides to go someplace else; I'm going to waste my time trying to figure out why that happened?"
Was Howard mentally tough enough to be a Laker?
“I don’t really know about that,” Bryant started out diplomatically.
"Everybody is cut differently. He has his way of leading that he feels like can be most effective and can work for him, and obviously the way we've gone about it with this organization, the leaders we've had--myself, Magic, and Kareem--we've done it a different way."
Even though the press was instructed to talk about the camp, Bryant didn’t hide from question about Howard, his injury, or the future of the Lakers. After he was done, he went out and spoke to the kids.
“One thing’s for sure is that the Laker will always always will always [sic] be a contender.”