A new article on ESPN.com describes, perhaps a bit strongly, how Kobe Bryant is happy to be a Laker and glad he didn’t get traded. That’s ESPN’s spin on it anyway. You can read the entire story here and judge for yourself.
Bryant told ESPN in the interview, “I’m happy to be here. My guys and I — we have such a tight bond. Business and basketball sometimes can cloud things, but when you get here in your element and you’re around your teammates and just having a good time with them and thinking about them and not about the business of the game, that’s when it becomes fun.”
As for the turnaround in his attitude, Bryant credited…well, himself.
“Sometimes you have to kind of put a fire to them a little bit so that they understand that we’re playing for higher stakes,” Bryant said of his teammates. “Once they understood that and saw me come into training camp saying ‘Look, I’m tired of playing for the playoffs. I’m not playing for that. I don’t know what you guys are playing for, but I’m not playing for that.’ Once they understood that ‘Hey, this guy’s head is on a championship level, this is where we need to get,’ then it kind of ignited another side of them and they started looking at this thing a little differently.
“I think it changed their perspective a little bit and kind of shifted their focus to ‘Okay, he’s playing for a championship so this is what we need to do.”