Q&A: Kobe Bryant

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 with No comments
Courtesy of NBA.com

Q: On what his recovery process feels like this time.
Bryant:
 It’s different. This is much more encouraging than the Achilles, because I can move around a lot more. I can kind of go about my daily things. I don’t have to lay in a bed for a month, two months. I can move around and stuff, so my spirits are much higher. 
Q: On what he can and can’t do:
Bryant:
 Honestly, I can do pretty much anything. We can’t go off of how it feels.You can’t go off the pain because the fact of the matter is I could have kept playing with a big tear in it. So we can’t go off of that. You’ve just kind of got to go off of protocol and make sure those anchors are down there nice and tight. I’m sure we’ll get a checkup, get an MRI, get a chance to see if everything’s holding the way it should. But I feel fine.
Q: On whether there was ever a moment he was unsure that he wanted to go through the recovery process again:
Bryant:
 Yeah, as soon as the doctor told me, I was was like, “Jesus Christ, man. I don’t know if I can do another nine months. This is crazy.” 
Q: On if and when he decided he is returning for next season:
Bryant:
 Who said I was retiring? … It was never a question for me whether or not I was going to play next year. It’s discouraging. You have an injury and you have another one and you have another one — it’s discouraging. But I’ll respond to it the same way I always have: just sticking to the process.
Q: On what a realistic workload is for him next season:
Bryant:
 Honestly, I don’t know. This shoulder injury is really tough to tell, because it’s been there for a long time. It’s not like I was playing too many minutes or whatever the case may be, or played too much the year before. The shoulder injury’s been there a long, long time, so it’s tough to gauge. … I guess what I’m saying is after playing so many years, I could play 10 minutes and hurt some other (stuff). At this stage, all I can do is try to do whatever I can’t to try to be as healthy as possible. And the something’s gonna go that goes, and Father Time got me. There’s nothing else I can do about it.
Q: On how difficult it is knowing that he could hurt himself quickly after putting in so much work:
Bryant:
 That’s very difficult. You start trying to gauge the importance of a Monday workout or a Wednesday workout. Like, “How really important is it?” because I can do all this stuff, and then next year in one minute it’s all gone. Those are the challenges that I have to struggle with mentally and just try not to overthink that. Just go out there and just do it. Every single day just do it and control what you can control.
Q: On if he knows how long he has had the shoulder injury:
Bryant:
 Judging by the pain, I’ve had that same pain in my shoulder since 2001. … It’s been there for a while. I went in and had a procedure on my shoulder in 2002 or 2003 or something like that. I had a SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior-Posterior) lesion in my shoulder, but it’s been bothering me for a long, long time.
Q: On how soon it may be before he shoots a basketball again:
Bryant:
 I don’t know. I think I’m supposed to be allowed to run I think in a week and half, two weeks, something like that. As far as shooting, I don’t know. Probably a month or so.
Q: On his confidence in management’s ability to create a contending team for the rest of his career:
Bryant:
 As confident as they are in me that I’ll be healthy next year. You’ve got to trust each other. They’re gonna do their job, the best job that they can. I’m gonna do the best job I can. We’ll see how it goes.
Q: On whether he has given management a list of free agents that he would want to play with:
Bryant:
 No, I’m not involved like that, and I don’t want to be. You’ve got to give them space and let them do their jobs. They’ll come to me. (General Manager) Mitch (Kupchak and I) have had a great relationship, been talking. They’ll come to me when the time is right.
Q: On whether he can see himself playing beyond next season:
Bryant:
 Yeah, I could. As I sit here right now: Do I want to play next year? No. That could change.
Q: On what could make that change:
Bryant:
 No idea. I don’t know. It’s if I feel like playing and I feel like doing the process and if I feel like I enjoy getting up and training every single day and doing that sort of thing. After three years of dealing with this, you kind of understand why I don’t want to deal with that anymore.
Q: On whether he won’t know whether next year is his last until that season’s over:
Bryant:
 Probably.
Q: On how he can tell whether a player has what it takes to lead the Lakers when he’s gone:
Bryant:
 It’s win or nothing. Win championships or nothing. To lead this franchise, you’ve got to be that way. … You guys can tell. It almost makes no sense to think that way. So when a person says that, you kind of look (at him) like: “You’re weird.”
Q: On whether he thinks about how the next person who takes his role will have to field comparisons to him:
Bryant:
 Did Magic (Johnson)? No, but Magic was always there for me, though. He was always there if I needed advice. He was always there. … It won’t be difficult if they have it. They’ll look at you like it’s a silly question that you even asked it. There’s different ways to skin a cat. They probably won’t be as sarcastic as me or something like that. Magic was the same way, but he smiled a lot and was much, much nicer to (the media) than I was. There’s different ways to go about it.
Q: On his admiration for Russell Westbrook’s mentality and approach to the game:
Bryant:
 Man, you guys can’t handle another 15 years of that kind of personality. It wouldn’t be fair to you guys.
Q: On what motivates him to go through the recovery process again:
Bryant:
 The thrill of the challenge of trying to come back again. It gets tougher and tougher to try to get back up, but it’s still that excitement, that challenge of trying to do it that excites me.
Q: On if he feels comfortable retiring if there isn’t somebody to fill his role as the team’s leader:
Bryant:
 No, I’d much rather hand the keys over to somebody and let them take this organization right from the jump. I’d much rather do that. Hopefully we can. But if not, even when I retire that’s one of the things that I’ll be hellbent on Jeanie and Jimmy (Buss) to make sure this franchise is back to where it needs to be. 
Q: On his role now that he’ll be attending all of the remaining home games:
Bryant:
 A source of comfort for Byron (Scott) (laughs). … Everybody needs a shoulder now and then, man. He gave me a shoulder my first year, and I’ll give him a shoulder now.
Q: On how he thinks Scott is holding up:
Bryant:
 I joke about it, but he’s fine. He just continues to coach and preach execution. He’s fine.
Q: On whether he finds himself looking at potential draft picks:
Bryant:
 Nope.