Ahead of Monday’s Los Angeles Lakers at Chicago Bulls game, Kobe Bryant spared some of his time to talk to media. Bryant speaks once a week, give or take a couple days, while out with injury.
After speaking in Boston on Friday, the Black Mamba took the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the house that Michael Jordan built to have a few words with the microphones and tape recorders.
In his pregame interview, Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau talked about convincing Bryant to play in the 2016 Olympics. When Bryant was asked about playing in 2016, he shot down the thought with a sharp comment.
"I’ll go and spectate,” Bryant said before taking a friendly jab at his foreign teammate. “I think I’d rather watch Pau (Gasol) win another silver (medal)."
Bryant did say, however, that he would welcome a conversation with Thibodeau on the topic.
Talk eventually turned to the changes in the NBA since Bryant entered the league 18 seasons ago.
“Some of the flagrant fouls I see called nowadays just make me nauseous,” Bryant grumbled. “You can’t touch a guy.”
If Bryant sounds like the old man complaining about the good old days, it’s probably wise to keep in mind that the Black Mamba is approaching two decades with the Lakers. The 1996 NBA Draft was some time ago.
To this point, Bryant spoke out against the rule that prevents high school graduates from directly joining the NBA. Bryant, notably, was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets from Lower Marion High School.
“The system really isn’t teaching players anything when you go to college,” Bryant spoke from his own experience. Kevin Garnett and LeBron James are two other notable stars that jumped straight into the professional ranks without any time on the college level.
One other point on the grizzled veteran’s tongue related to the NBA’s All-Star Game. Bryant, again, urged fans to vote for “some of the younger guys.” If voted in, Bryant’s current timeline makes for a potential return to the court weeks or days prior to the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. Earlier this season, Bryant told fans to vote for Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.