Many things went wrong for the Los Angeles Lakers last season, culminating in a humiliating sweep at the hands of the eventual NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. It’s hard to pinpoint precisely one thing that doomed the team, but a lot of blame can safely be placed on Kobe Bryant’s health. Or lack thereof.
In a wide-ranging Q&A with Yahoo! Sports, Kobe addresses a number of subjects surrounding Laker-land, including his health, new coach Mike Brown, trades and near-trades, and what he expects from the team in 2012:
Q: Do you see yourself retiring with the Lakers? There’s been speculation you might want a change. Bryant: “I don’t know where that comes from. I don’t have any feeling about [leaving] whatsoever.”
Q: So you definitely want to stay a Laker? Bryant: “Of course. No question. Why not? I’ve been here for 16 years. I’m going to up and leave now?” Q: Do you want to be one of those rare stars that played in only one place during a long NBA career? Bryant: “Oh yeah. That would be special. It’s rare to see that nowadays. It’s almost nearly impossible.”
Q: Can you talk about the surgical procedure you underwent on your right knee in Germany this summer and why you had it there? Bryant: “I’m not a big medicine, techie guy. But I know my knee feels 90 percent better. My understanding was that the guy who invented it … [Germany] is where he’s from and where his home base is. So I didn’t want to go someplace else where he had to move his equipment. If I am going to do it, I want to do it right and do it in the place where he is most comfortable doing it.” Q: What can you do physically with that knee that you couldn’t do at the end of last season? Bryant: “Anything I want. I can run. I can jump. I can run the track. I can lift weights the way I want to lift weights. I can practice every day. Those are things I couldn’t do last year.”
You should take time and read the entire thing.
Most people don’t consider the Lakers true title contenders going into this season — too old, disjointed, etc. — but Kobe Bryant’s belief in himself and the team (as presently constructed) seems unwaivering. That has to count for something, right?