Kobe Bryant Update at All-Star Weekend

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant isn’t participating in the All-Star Game, but he did address the media prior to the game on Sunday.

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It feels strange to have an NBA All-Star Game without Kobe Bryant participating, but that’s the scene in New Orleans at this year’s All-Star Weekend. Bryant fractured his leg earlier this season, shortly after returning from a torn Achilles, and now his only contributions to All-Star Weekend was a press conference held on Sunday night just before the game. Here’s a recap of what Bryant said:

  • Bryant admitted that he has wondered if his career will end this way: “To have those conversations with yourself and not be intimidated by that and not succumb to that is part of the challenge,” Bryant said. “It’s really the biggest challenge. Maybe this is the end, but then again, maybe it’s not. And it’s my responsibility to do all that I can to make sure that it’s not.”
  • When asked if he would return to the struggling Los Angeles Lakers this season, Bryant wouldn’t give a clear answer. Instead, he said, “[I’ll] stick to the script, just try to get better and then go from there. I just try to focus, keep my blinders on and just do what I have to do.”
  • Bryant has been frustrated with how long it’s taking him to recover: “It’s coming slowly. It’s coming slowly. I’m optimistic coming into out of the break that I will have some improvements once I get back to L.A. and do a couple follow-ups and then go from there. But it’s been a slow process.”
  • The Lakers have some flexibility going forward and Bryant is confident that the front office will return the team to contention: “What we have coming up this offseason, cap space and what we have ahead of ourselves seems to be right in the Lakers’ wheelhouse, in terms of turning things around pretty quickly. When we’ve had summers like this, they’ve never really faltered. They’ve normally made really sound and excellent decisions that put us right back in contention.”
  • When asked if his personality would hurt the Lakers’ chances of signing a marquee free agent, Bryant responded, “I’m a difficult person to deal with for people who don’t have the same kind of competitiveness or commitment to win. Then I become an absolute pain in the neck, because I’m going to drag you in the gym every single day and if you need to be drugged, that’s I’m going to do. And for players that have that level of commitment, it’s very, very easy. … But if you don’t have that commitment, I’ll absolutely going to be very, very tough to get along with. No question about it.”
  • What’s the secret to Bryant’s long, successful career? “I enjoy what I do; I love what I do. That’s the secret. When you love your job and you have a passion for it, you just want to continue to do it and do it and find new ways to do it. When you have that passion, then whatever challenge is thrown in front of you, the passion supersedes that and it just becomes more and more fun every year. That’s really the secret.”

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