Kobe Bryant All-Star Friday 2008 interview
2008 NBA All-Star Weekend kicks off tonight. This afternoon, Los Angeles Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant spoke to the media about his finger injury, lakers competition, Andrew Bynum and more.
Q: Kobe, can you tell us how your finger is and your injury?
Kobe Bryant: It's sore. Just trying to rest it. Doing what we can to try to get it as healthy as we can for the second half of the season.
Q: So you were offered surgery as an option, and didn't like it?
Bryant: Well, no, that's bad timing. I've been playing with it, so it's kind of routine to do that. But we have a great medical staff and we'll stay on top of it.
Q: Can you protect it more than you did at Minnesota?
Bryant: You've just got to be careful. It's tough though. Especially when you're rebounding, offensive rebounds. It's always tough. But what more can I do? It's torn anyway.
Q: When they said surgery, did you give it any thought?
Bryant: No. I've been playing with it already, so the Western Conference is so competitive, we have a pretty good rhythm going here. So for me, personally, it didn't make any sense to go in there and do that. If things get worse, I'll be the cool grandfather that can stretch his finger all the way out to here. If that's the worst that can happen, I'm okay with that.
Q: How did you feel about playing in this game? Are you okay playing in it? I know the Lakers were pretty concerned about it.
Bryant: It just depends on the rules, really. I understand if you play the last game prior to the All Star break, if you don't, you're suspended for the next game. So we'll just do what we can here and follow the rules and get ready for Atlanta.
Q: Do you have any thoughts on Jason Kidd and what he's facing right now?
Bryant: No, not really. It's kind of tough. He's kind of in limbo. The deal looked like it was going through and then all of a sudden it got pulled. So it's tough.
Q: There are so many teams competing for the playoffs right now. A team with 49 wins and they might not make it.
Bryant: It's extremely competitive. It's as competitive as I've ever seen it. You know, makes the league more interesting and more fun for us. Every night in the Western Conference it's a huge battle.
Q: Right now who are the Lakers' biggest competition in the West?
Bryant: Everybody's our competition. We're playing well. We haven't proven anything yet, we still have a lot of work to do.
Q: Do you think that Phoenix and Dallas are all making these moves to counter what you guys do?
Bryant: Maybe it has a little bit to do with it. But Dallas won 67 games last year, I think the opportunity to get a player like Jason is too big to pass up. You know, Phoenix is bringing in one of the best players of all time. It changes their game a little bit. They'll have to adjust to it. All we can do is focus on our game and see how we play.
Q: Do you have any sense of how Andrew Bynum's coming along?
Bryant: He's doing good. I just saw him in there. He looks good. He's moving fine, doing well. The swelling in his knee looks down.
Q: Any idea how long it will be before he can start running?
Bryant: I'm not sure. He's doing some active movements already. Doesn't look like he's ready to start running full blast yet, but he's young, so he'll be back soon.
Q: As Andrew was out, did you ever sit down with him or go out to dinner with him and explain to him where you were coming from?
Bryant: No, he and I talked briefly right before the season started. He understood where I was coming from. We're frustrated. We haven't won for three years. You get an opportunity to get a player like Jason Kidd. Everybody thought I was knocking Andrew, but the truth of it is Jason Kidd is one of the greatest point guards of all time. Why would you not want to do that deal?