Kobe’s new sneaker

For all those interested, Kobe Bryant wore his new Nike sneakers at the Lakers’ practice Sunday. He’ll debut them in the Christmas game against the Heat. The most significant addition seemed to be a strap across the front that had KB24 on the front and “Carpe Diem” on the back. Bryant said they were the “lightest shoes Ive ever been in.”

Not sure how this will turn out, but here’s a camera-phone picture of the new shoes.


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Some quotes from today’s practice that I couldn’t get in my stories for Monday…

Kobe on his conditioning: “That probably wont get there until about February or so. Its just games. The more you play, you get into game shape. By February is when I hit my stride.

Kobe on getting up to play Dwyane Wade: “What gets me up is us playing well as a team, in all honesty. In other words, if we come out here tomorrow and Kwame Brown has a career night, Luke Walton has a career night, something like that, that gets me up.

“The individual matchups dont get me up. Not anymore. Ive been doing it for 10 years. Ive seen all of those matchups, from myself to (Michael) Jordan to Vince (Carter) to (Tracy) McGrady. That doesnt excite me anymore. What excites me is these guys stepping up and having a hell of a game.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson agreed with Bryant’s comments that the young players could carry the day against the Heat.

“I guess if youve seen a lot of big games over the course of your career like Kobe has, theres some things that could be said for that,” Jackson said. “That the younger players have an opportunity to shine on the national spotlight.

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Bryant said he felt better after battling a respiratory infection but still walked off the court carrying a box of tissues. Kwame Brown also suggested that Bryant’s knee has been giving him problems recently.

“We’ve got to bring the energy,” Brown said. “We’ve got to help Kobe out. I know his knee’s been a little sore. (Jordan) Farmar came in, Andrew (Bynum) came in. They run the offense a little better than we do.”

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Gary Payton didn’t practice Sunday with the Heat. The team said he was excused because of personal reasons. Payton is averaging just 6.0 points this season but scored 21 against the Lakers last year on Christmas.

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The Lakers have lost their last four games on Christmas Day, including two in a row against the Heat.