Since returning to the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant has spoken with a decidedly patient tone. He’s done so regarding his teammates and regarding his slow return to form.
After a grossly sub-par return to the floor on Sunday, Bryant was quick to point out that his errors were more physical than mental. By Tuesday, he had made mental adjustments, and flashes of Mamba moments were spread across all four quarters.
“It’s a process. You just continue to figure out what you can and can’t do,” Bryant said after Tuesday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns. “Every game, you try to step out and do a little bit more and do a little bit more and just go from there.”
On Bryant’s first basket, he was able to get a quick step and put down his first dunk of the season.
“I didn’t know if I was going to make it above the rim or not, but I figured I’d just try it,” Bryant described his thoughts during the play.
Bryant talked about physically getting lighter, and revealed he had dropped weight rather quickly.
“I was 225 (pounds) going into the first game and that night after the game, I was 220 (pounds), so Vanessa [expletive] hates me,” Kobe joked Tuesday night.
After a loss like Tuesday, Bryant would be a bit shorter with responses in the past. However, he understood that his team required patience and time to learn to play during crunch time—and not just with him.
“It’s a learning experience,” Bryant explained. “We have a young team. We have to remember—constantly remember—that it’s a marathon not a sprint. And you have to allow them to play and to make mistakes. And then, you have to be there to kind of watch the film with them, go over certain things that maybe could have been done differently.”
Bryant and company will have one more practice on Thursday before hopping a flight to Oklahoma City and starting a depressingly difficult road trip. The Lakers play four games in four different cities in five nights. Two of those games are back-to-backs.
When asked if he was going to play on back-to-backs, Bryant provided the media with a funny look.
“It’s my job. My [expletive] is going to show up and play. This is what I do.”