Kobe Bryant Interview
On January 31, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers visited Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks. The Lakers won big, 130-97. Bryant had 40 points, including 23-of-26 from the free throw line. After the game, he spoke with a giant room full of media that included InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner. Lots of reporters asked questions, but as usual, InsideHoops.com is the only place you'll see the full interview:
Question: January was a good month for you.
Kobe Bryant: It was a good month. We were able to win more ball-games than we lost. We gave ourselves a pretty good cushion going into the following one, and hopefully next month will be just as productive for us.
Question: Did any part of you say, this is The Garden, put on a bit of a show?
Kobe Bryant: No, I try to disseminate that to my teammates. Let them know where we're playing. We want to come out here and play good basketball, especially because the fans here, they know their basketball. They want to see good basketball. I try to let them know it's important to come out here and try to put on a good performance.
Question: Does it surprise you to come out here and hear fans chanting "MVP" for you?
Kobe Bryant: It feels good, because it lets me know that they appreciate what I do out there on the floor. That being said, they're still fans, they still boo and do all the things that hometown fans do. But at the same time, they showed their appreciation for what I do out there on the floor.
Question: Were you surprise there a little bit about the flagrant foul from Antonio Davis?
Kobe Bryant: Naw, it felt good. That's basketball. That's what it's about. It was nothing personal. It was something that needs to be done. That's what basketball was in the 80's. You see Isiah Thomas and Magic [Johnson] talking in the tunnell; I don't even think that would have been a flagrant foul in the 80's [laughs].
Question: Kobe what do think fans can appreciate from a game where you went to the foul line 26 times?
Kobe Bryant: I think as a whole they appreciate just good basketball. We came out there and played hard defensively, rebounded the ball, got out in transition, and personally I was just aggressive. I read the defense and saw how they were playing me, trying to get physical and I just went right at them with the intelligence of getting to the free throw line.
Question: What do you think about what's been going on in New York with Isiah and everything. Do you feel sorry for Isiah and what he's going through?
Kobe Bryant: Everybody's going to go through some type of adversity. I think this organization, it's just a matter of them being patient. They'll get there. They'll get back to the top. It starts with management, with hiring the right coach, and they have that, so now it's a matter of being patient, just waiting for that right time to get back to the top. But this period that they're going through right now, sucks. They just have to be patient. They'll get there.
Question: Was this a night you really showed your toughness?
Kobe Bryant: Um, yeah. Teams that try to play physical, it's important to just be smart. You have to step back and not try to get macho with the game. Just to think clearly. Go away from pressure when you need to, attack them in other situations, and you get to the free throw line.
Question: It's possible that some people walked out of here tonight saying, crap, Kobe only scored 40. What do you tell them?
Kobe Bryant: Actually, that's what a ballboy told me. "You were slacking tonight, they shut you down." [Laughs] He said, "What were you doing out there, I thought you were going to bring your A-game to New York." [Laughs]
Question: And how do you respond to that?
Kobe Bryant: I just laugh. And he just laughed with me.
Question: The buzz about you playing here was huge, with so many people coming to see you.
Kobe Bryant: I went shopping today, and everybody was saying, "Hey, you're going to score 90 tonight, you're going to score 100 tonight." I said, "You know how crazy that sounds?" So I just laugh... try to get the W. It's funny. It's funny. Just taking it in stride. It's all good.
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