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Amick: Kobe Q&A about Howard, Harden and more.

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Marteen, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. Marteen

    Marteen Member

    Jul 9, 2010
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    NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — Just hit record.

    On the eve of a Kobe Bryant interview that seemed destined to be difficult because of how much exposure he has received of late, that was the advice of a reporter friend who was more than willing to offer a relevant reminder: When it comes to athletes opening up, the Los Angeles Lakers star almost never disappoints.

    All these interviews leading up to the launch of his Showtime documentary that premieres on Saturday (GQ Magazine, Grantland's TV show, Jimmy Kimmel and the like) surely meant there was no new territory to cover. But true to form, Bryant showed yet again why he has such a knack for moving the proverbial needle.

    His passion for storytelling is the focus of our main piece, but there were plenty of other topics covered that are worth diving into here. In our 45-minute chat that took place inside the very bayside suite where most of the movie was made, Bryant explained everything from why he did the documentary to why he's still not ready to retire to the specific reasons why Dwight Howard was never the right fit as a co-star in Laker Land to the reasons why his philosophies are no different than so many other leaders of industry in other sectors.

    The following is the part of the interview that was not in the main story:

    A: The ones who understand me are the kids who grew up watching me, like I grew up watching Michael (Jordan) and Magic (Johnson). The ones who don't understand, don't understand what it's like to carry this organization to the next level. It comes with a lot of responsibility. You have to be able to be OK not pleasing everybody, so Kyrie Irving, James Harden, (Russell) Westbrook, that generation of players speak my exact same language. They grew up with that philosophy. So I don't look at this as, "This is going to help them better understand." They know who I am. It's very easy to deal in gossip or what other people say, but the fact of the matter is that everybody wants to play for this organization because this is just a great organization.

    But the facts are facts. The salary cap is the salary cap. Players aren't going to leave millions and millions of dollars on the table twice to come here and play. It's just not realistic. Wanting LeBron (James) to come here and take a massive pay cut again (last summer), after taking a big one to go to Miami, is not realistic. Melo (Carmelo Anthony) leaving $15-20 (million) on the table to come here is not realistic. So we have certain restrictions, but we'll figure it out.

    Q: In a lot of your interviews, I've heard you talk about DNA quite a bit. Are there fewer players in the league now with your kind of DNA than when you first came in?

    A: Absolutely.

    Q: Why?

    A: I can only guess, but when I was growing up it was completely OK to be competitive and to want to be better than the other guy. It was completely understood that I was trying to be better than Tim Thomas coming out of high school, and he was trying to be better than me. That was OK, and now it seems like it's almost passive aggressive — no, I'm not really trying to be better than you, but you really are. As opposed to laying down the gauntlet, and saying, "No, we're going after each other, even though we're still friends." Magic and Isiah (Thomas) were great friends, but it was understood that, "I want what you have." So I think the AAU circuit might have a lot to do with that, because guys were just around each other all the time, they get to know each other a lot, and they lean on each other a lot for support, which is completely fine. But you wind up seeing so much of a camaraderie where it becomes uncomfortable to really compete.

    Kobe Bryant watched the Lakers' post game celebration and could barely contain his rage
    Q: You've talked about how that should even be the case at All-Star Games, where you'd still go after guys.

    A: Go back and watch the 1988 All-Star game, the '89 All Star game. Those guys competed. They were trying to win, man. And I always tried to do the same thing. ... You understand, when I'm matching up with Vince (Carter) in the All-Star Game, or matching up with Dwyane (Wade) in the All-Star Game, they know I'm coming. Hopefully All-Star Games will get back to that.

    Q: One guy who you clearly didn't think had the right DNA was Dwight Howard. You've opened up a bit about how all that went down, but I wanted to run something by you. I'd always heard that you told him in the free agency meeting (in July 2013) that he could be the guy in three or four years when you were done. Is that about right?

    A: It's very simple. It's not about three or four years, and I've told management this. For me, it's about making sure the Lakers have the right person in place who's going to carry this franchise. I tried teaching Dwight. I tried showing him. But the reality is that when you have a perception of what it is to win a championship — and most perceptions of what it's like to win are a very outgoing, very gregarious locker room where you pick each other up and you're friends all the time. That's the perception. And I think that's what his perception was of what the idea is. But when he saw the reality of it, it made him uncomfortable. And it's very tough to be able to fight through that, to deal with that challenge. And I don't think he was willing to deal with that uncomfortable and combative nature.

    Dwight Howard hits Kobe Bryant with an elbow, then jaws at him
    Q: But was there part of you that was worried about getting forced into that partnership?

    A: No. I always told the organization, "I can only give my opinion, but I will follow whatever direction you guys want to go down because of everything that they've done for me in my career." So I will work with whatever pieces they give me.

    Link to FULL article
  2. XxTCNxX

    XxTCNxX Member

    Nov 29, 2014
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    So Kobe and Dwight are cool now? ... to an extent?
  3. RESINator

    RESINator Member

    Nov 20, 2014
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    "Soft" by Kobe.

    "p***y" by Durant.

    "Unrealistic to see the old Dwight" by McHale.

    Harden for the ONE and ONLY cornerstone of this franchise! He's got the championship mentality.
  4. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

    May 16, 2000
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    The championship mentality espoused by Kobe isn't shown to be more or less effective than any other mentalities, imo.

    Yes, ALL champions are ultra-competitive and want to win.

    But there are extreme variations on that ultra-competitiveness.

    I'm not privvy to daily locker room details, but the Spurs and Lakers championship teams seem night and day. The Rockets championship teams were different. I wouldn't put Tom Brady's mindset as on the same page as Kobe's, etc.

    This extends to just the world in general, btw. There are all kinds of different leaders.
  5. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

    Sep 19, 1999
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    Kobe clearly thinks there's one way to do it. History shows he's wrong.
  6. Patience

    Patience Contributing Member

    Apr 25, 2002
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    I guess it is a good interview. But the degree of post-rationalization and historical revisionism in some of those quotes is comical.

    Bull****. When things got bad in the mid-2000s, he definitely was thinking about bolting to the Clippers, while taking no responsibility for running Shaq out of town.

    History is written by the victors, I suppose.
    1 person likes this.
  7. HeyDude

    HeyDude Contributing Member

    Apr 27, 2001
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    You wouldn't have dared say that after just last years playoff series. It's not like Dwight lost his game all of a sudden. He's hurt.
    1 person likes this.
  8. dobro1229

    dobro1229 Contributing Member

    Feb 16, 2010
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    I agree 100%, and it sounds like Kobe kind of gets it now too based on what he just said, and his understanding of himself. Few stars seem to be as self aware as Kobe is for better or worse.

    Kobe only knows his way of having a championship team, locker room, and chemistry/relationships as a leader. That doesn't mean its the only way to win a championship.

    All that being said... The fact is though, at the end of the day, Dwight actually made the right basketball choice because Houston presented the better talent around him, and much better co-superstar in James Harden.

    Kobe can talk about championship locker rooms and culture all he wants, but at the end of the day he's glossing over the fact that Dwight went to the more talented team as priority over anything else.
  9. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Member

    Jul 6, 2009
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    I'm seeing the growth Kobe's talking about in Harden, but Dwight? Not so much
  10. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

    Jul 7, 2005
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    The Seahawks won the NFL title the year before last with a loose, fun loving head coach and a playful team first attitude.

    The Spurs are professional on the court but bond off it and brag about how they think going to dinner with each other makes them better.

    The Heat talked about being a college atmosphere, though that clearly wore out over time.

    There is no "right way" to be. In the NBA it seems like you have to be a killer to win because for the 90s and early 2000s the best player in the NBA was either Michael or Kobe and they won 12 titles in like 20 years. So yeah, that mentality seemed like it was the only way to win. It wasn't though, it was just that the two best guards on the best teams for two decades happened to be that way.

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