HoopsHype Kobe Bryant rumors

September 2, 2014 Updates

How he stays motivated. What moves he works on during the offseason. How he keeps his confidence. And, of course, how will he play in the 2013-14 season after appearing in only six games last year because of injuries to his left Achilles and left knee. “I can say I want to be able to jump as high as I used to. I want to be as fast as I used to. But no; I don’t jump as high as I used to,” Bryant said. “That’s okay. I’m not as fast as I used to be. That’s okay, too. I’ll figure out another way to do it.” Los Angeles Daily News

New Detroit Pistons shooting guard Jodie Meeks was asked about his favorite Kobe Bryant moment. He didn’t need much time. It was his first day of training camp as a Los Angeles Laker. “Practice was at 11, we had to be there at 10. Well, I wanted to get there at 10,” Meeks said. “He was already there fully dressed and sweating. I got to the locker room at 9:30, got on the court at 10, and he had been there an hour and a half working on stuff. “I was like, ‘Man, it is true.’ This guy is working like this and at the time he was 34 years old. He felt like he still had a lot to prove, and he was still trying to prove people wrong. I was like, ‘Man, great player.’ ” Detroit Free Press

August 30, 2014 Updates

James Harden said he knows Kobe has been putting in the work… but we all knew Kobe would put in the work. That was never the question, it is how his body will respond. Harden thinks well. “We talk and he’s ready. He’s 20-year-old Kobe. It’s going to be a crazy environment.” NBCSports.com

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“There are certain things that my body can’t do that I used to be able to do,” Bryant admits. “And you have to be able to deal with those. First you have to be able to figure out what those are. Last year when I came back, I was trying to figure out what changed. And that’s a very hard conversation to have.” Bryant pauses. “So when I hear the pundits and people talk, saying, ‘Well, he won’t be what he was.’ Know what? You’re right! I won’t be. But just because something evolves, it doesn’t make it any less better than it was before.” Sports Illustrated

Kobe’s focus these days is on efficiency. Over the summer he’s trained nearly every day, either at the Lakers’ facility or at a gym near his house in Orange County. Sometimes he’ll have a partner join him for drills– often 27-year-old Lakers small forward Wesley Johnson. In these instances Bryant takes on a mentoring role, pointing out Johnson’s wasted steps and where he can be more effective. Other times Bryant works out by himself, except for two ball boys, shooting and sweating for up to two hours, never talking. His goal is to regain his conditioning—after adding some body fat earlier in the year, he now looks almost frail with his shirt off. The end goal, of course, is to evolve. “I’ll be sharper,” he says. “Much sharper. Much more efficient in areas. I’ll be limited in terms of what you see me do, versus a couple years ago. But very, very methodical, very, very purposeful.” Sports Illustrated

Bryant's body hasn't withstood a full 82-game schedule since the 2010-11 season. He missed eight games during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, the final four games of the 2012-13 season and 76 games last season while recovering from a torn left Achilles' tendon and a fractured left knee he sustained six games into his comeback. Of course, there is an upside to playing less basketball over the last 17 months than at any point since he was a tyke. "Quite honestly, I think we're going to see a better Kobe Bryant than we've seen in the last couple of years because he's had time to rest and rehabilitate," said Dr. Alan Beyer, executive director of the Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Irvine. Los Angeles Times

Bryant sits back, letting the thoughts sit in the air for a moment. Then he continues. “It’s never easy, man. This s--- is hard. So when players look in the distance and see us winning championships and see us celebrating and having a good time, they think, ‘Oh, this is what leadership is, this is how you win, everyone gets along, we’re all buddy-buddy, we all hang out, blah, blah.’ ” Bryant shifts in his seat, leans forward. “No it’s not like that. You talk to Lamar [Odom], Adam Morrison. We were at each other’s throats every day. Challenging each other, confronting each other. That’s how it gets done. But that’s hard, because it’s uncomfortable, right? It’s uncomfortable.” Sports Illustrated

This approach—Bryant likens it to the unpleasant task of telling a teammate he has “s--- in his teeth”—does not go over well all the time. Like with Dwight Howard, for example. Others appreciate it. During filming, Chopra interviewed a number of Bryant’s teammates, current and former, and he asked them to describe Bryant in three words. After each interview Kobe would text Chopra, eager to hear what people said. Most answered with some variation of “the ultimate competitor” or “killer instinct.” But when Chopra asked Steve Nash, he said something different. After thinking for a moment, Nash answered, slowly, in three beats: “Mother . . . f------ . . . a------.” Kobe thought this was awesome. Sports Illustrated

So Kobe found his drive in being different, in being alone. That’s why he studies the iconoclasts. It’s why he’s close to so few people in the NBA. And it’s why, while some like Phil Jackson think he will prosper upon leaving the game, others aren’t so sure. “You know how it’s been hard for Jordan in retirement?” says one GM. “It’s going to be way worse to be Kobe. He has fewer friends and the same competitive drive. At least MJ likes to golf and play cards.” Sports Illustrated

August 21, 2014 Updates

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