On Tuesday afternoon, Kobe Bryant was in a speaking mood after Los Angeles Lakers practice, and he had plenty to say about a variety of topics.
On the topic of the day, the NBA’s experiment of reducing games to 44 minutes and cutting two time outs to make games shorter, Bryant was slightly taken aback by the idea.
“I don’t know. I’m kind of old school,” the 19-year veteran responded. “I’m used to the 48 minutes.”
That topic, however, only warmed up Bryant for the opinions he was about to share regarding the NBA’s new television deal and the next collective bargaining agreement.
“As players, you kind of have to hold your ground a little bit. Not be afraid of what the public perception is, but instead, educate the public a little bit,” Bryant attempted to educate his fellow players.
“It’s not about complaining about how much you’re making, because that’s ridiculous,” Bryant said with a breath of casual honesty that has become routine at this stage of his career. “We are overpaid. At the same time, so are the owners. You have to fight for what your market value is.”
Bryant urged the players to understand that the argument was business, not personal. Regarding his experiences with the Lakers, however, Bryant felt extremely fortunate.
“I’m the luckiest basketball player in the league because I got very fortunate with an organization that takes care of its players, rewards its players, and has a long history of doing that,” Bryant received a great deal of public scrutiny for his latest contract that many experts considered gross over payment.
“And I think it speaks volumes, not only to me and to the city but to other players around the league as well,” Bryant continued to praise the Lakers’ way of doing business. “You look around at some of the other owners who try to milk their players or get rid of them or discard them. This organization doesn’t do that.”