Not that Kobe Bryant needed any reminders about the reach of the Internet, but he got one after his new Web site (www.kb24.com) launched on Oct. 31.
“One minute into the launch we had people on it from Germany, London, China,” Bryant said. “We didn’t do any advertising whatsoever. They just knew about it.”
Bryant is making a big push in trying to create a cyber community dedicated to all things 24. He announced he was playing in Friday’s game against Seattle on the site (with a little dramatic music) and had a crew of videographers in the locker room before the game.
The featured video on the site Thursday was a behind-the-scenes look at Bryant’s recent appearance on BET. He was accompanied by Ronny Turiaf and Devin Green, introduced some videos and got his hair trimmed. Talking about the site Thursday, Bryant said he filmed his entire training regiment from the summer for it.
“There’s footage you’re not going to see anywhere else,” Bryant said, adding that he had film from a game in which he scored 63 points as a grade-schooler.
Bryant has taken to posting comments on the Truth section of his site under the name “Mamba.” He can do it by sending text messages from his cell phone, sometimes from the team bus after road games and sometimes on the ride home from Staples Center.
The domain name is licensed to Kobe Family Entertainment Inc. in Newport Coast, which led to a couple of questions about just who is involved in the site. Bryant said it will serve as a platform for his business partners, which include Nike and Upper Deck.
He plans to make available sneaker and apparel lines that won’t be sold in stores. He also will sell memorabilia through the site, especially when it comes to his new No. 24 jersey. There’s a link on the site to a last-chance auction for signed No. 8 jerseys.
That’s the commercial side, but Bryant is hoping to connect to fans in new ways. He has forums dedicated both to “Kobe in the News” and “General Kobe Conversation.” He also talked Thursday about possibly giving the chance for a fan to win a trip to the Beijing Olympics, where Bryant is expected to play for USA Basketball.
Give Bryant credit for being at the forefront of what will probably become standard practice among superstar athletes in the next decade.
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Here was Lamar Odom’s summation of why the Lakers lost to Portland on Wednesday night: “We got outplayed tonight. Back to back. They played better. They won.”
Here was Odom’s summation of why the Lakers lost to Portland with a day’s worth of perspective: “We got beat. We didnt win a quarter of basketball and they were better. As simple as that.
Sometimes it comes down to just not playing well, for whatever reason. One big question Thursday was whether Odom needed to take more than nine shots against the Trail Blazers. There seems to be a direct correlation between Odom’s aggressiveness (reflected in the shots he takes) and the Lakers’ wins and losses.
Odom’s plan for Friday’s game against Detroit: “Try to catch the ball closer to the basket, not rely on the 3 and get back to the free-throw line.
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Bryant agreed with Lakers coach Phil Jackson’s assessment that he might be back at 90 or 95 percent by next week. The Lakers will have four days off after playing Memphis on Sunday night.
“These four days coming up, its perfect timing for us, because it gives me a chance to get stronger,” Bryant said. “This last week or so, Ive been kind of maintaining, getting through it. You have four days off, I get to strengthen (the knee) again. That should help us out a lot.
Talking after Wednesday’s game, Bryant said he wasn’t upset with sitting with the first six-plus minutes of the fourth quarter. Jackson wanted to play it safe with Bryant’s knee in back-to-back games.
“I know Phil. I’ve been with him long enough, I know what he’s thinking,” Bryant said. “And how we’re going to try to execute out there with the guys on the floor. I was completely on the same page. I knew what he was doing.”
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For the first time this season, the Lakers probably are going to have to put a healthy player on the inactive list for Friday’s game with Kwame Brown coming back from a shoulder injury. The most likely candiates would seem to be Sasha Vujacic or Shammond Williams.
Here’s the report from Thursday’s practice:
By Ross Siler
EL SEGUNDO–All Kwame Brown needed to see was Portlands Zach Randolph pounding the Lakers for 36 points and 10 rebounds in Wednesdays game to realize just how much the team needed him back, bad shoulder and all.
Andrew (Bynums) going to be great, Brown said, “but I still see spots like last night where Zach Randolph had his way with us in the post. So Im looking to come back and try to establish our post defense.
Brown will get that chance for the first time this season when he comes off the bench for the Lakers tonight against Detroit. He missed the last six games of the preseason and first six games of the regular season after injuring his right shoulder.
After returning to practice Thursday, Browns shoulder was able to withstand a couple of blows from Bynum and forward Brian Cook. His biggest concern has been using his right arm to fend off players in the post.
“Its just when it gets late in the game, Im going to probably have to just soldier through it because it gets fatigued and it starts to hurt, Brown said. “Its just something Im going to have to deal with.
Never exactly Bill Sharman or Rick Barry at the foul line, Brown also warned reporters that his free-throw shooting might be worse than expected.
“My free throws are going to be terrible, as if they wasnt already, said Brown, who was a career-worst 54.5 percent foul shooter last season.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson said: “He ended the season shooting real well from the foul line but right now hes all muscle bound and tense up there in the neck and shoulders and hes going to have to relax and play ball. Its going to be a while before the rhythm is there.
For the time being, Brown will back up the 19-year-old Bynum. Brown said he was fine with the role and that he would build his game off his play at the defensive end, as Jackson and the coaching staff so often have stressed.
“I cant go in thinking about scoring, especially when I havent been playing, Brown said. “Ive got to go in thinking about getting Kobe (Bryant) open, getting him some easy shots and try to feed off their energy and what theyve been doing, and just come out and play hard.
Mihm update: Lakers center Chris Mihm had a second opinion Thursday on his injured right ankle by Dr. Mark Meyerson at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Mihm will have a third opinion from another doctor at Hopkins today.
Although Jackson said Wednesday that Mihm would not have to undergo a second surgery on the ankle, the Lakers have not ruled out the possibility.
Home front: The Lakers will play 12 of their next 14 games at home, with one of their two road games coming against the Clippers. They have won nine consecutive home games dating to last season and know they have to capitalize on the upcoming stretch.
“We have to play well at home, Jackson said. “Last year, if you remember, we started out well on the road and had trouble winning at home.
“This year, it looks like a vice versa situation where weve really not been as aggressive on the road as I would like to have seen us against teams that I consider middling or average teams in the NBA. Hopefully, the home court will be an advantage.
Turn around: Through six games, the Lakers are averaging 19.5 turnovers as a team, nearly 5 1-2 per game more than last season. It was a worry during the preseason that has become a worry during the regular season.
“Ive laid the blame at the feet of Kobe and Lamar (Odom), Jackson said. “Theyre the two guys that have the responsibility and theyve got a high turnover ratio and theyve got to start cutting down on trying to do too much and not (being) ready to do it.