Jeremy Lin eager to learn from Kobe Bryant

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14

It took a while at first for Kobe Bryant to know about Jeremy Lin. He experienced a circuitous journey toiling in the Development League, while both Golden State and Houston waived him. Even on the cusp of “Linsanity” in which the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent took the New York Knicks by storm, Bryant still professed ignorance about him.

A day later, Lin helped the New York Knicks carve up the Lakers with a career-high 38 points, a topic he said he has addressed at least 500 times in a recent visit to Taiwan shortly after the Lakers acquired him in a trade from Houston. Perhaps that is why Bryant hardly wasted anytime connecting with Lin despite remaining in different time zones.

“One thing he told me was we have a lot of work to do and that’s 100 percent accurate,” Lin said Thursday at an introductory press conference at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. “As long as we come in with that mindset of coming to work and understanding that we have to earn everything, I think we’ll be okay.”

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Jeremy Lin downplays Carmelo Anthony, James Harden controversies

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo.   Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14"

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14″

As much as Jeremy Lin sounded eager about a “fresh start” with the Lakers, he relived a few things about his time with the Houston Rockets that he described as “up and down.”

The frustrations went beyond losing his starting point guard position to Patrick Beverly. Or experiencing two first-round playoff exits. When the Rockets made an successful attempt at Carmelo Anthony, team officials featured the free agent star wearing a No. 7 Rockets jersey. The only problem: that is Lin’s number. Lin soon went to Twitter and cited a Bible verse from Luke, Chapter 6, verse 29: “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”

Did the Rockets’ disrespect hurt Lin?

“I didn’t lose any sleep. I wasn’t outraged,” Lin said Thursday at his introductory press conference. “I wasn’t upset. I just felt like they could’ve kept it internal. IT wasn’t a big thing to me. I did feel like in some ways it could be handled a bit differently.”
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Jeremy Lin downplays bringing ‘Linsanity’ to Lakers

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo.   Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14"

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14″

In what marked a rare feel-good moment during an otherwise trying offseason, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak offered a remark that caught Jeremy Lin by surprise.

“Three times is a charm,” said Kupchak. He then detailed how the Lakers tried to sign Lin in 2010 as an undrafted rookie before choosing Golden State because it was closer to home. The Lakers then applied for a waiver claim when the Warriors dropped Lin in 2011, but the Houston Rockets earned the rights because of a worse record. The Lakers finally landed Lin this month after Houston traded him and a first-and-second round pick in a salary dump in an unsuccessful attempt to land Miami forward Chris Bosh.

Much has changed since the Lakers’ initial pursuit toward Lin. He garnered national attention for a breakout season in New York three years ago. Last season with Houston, Lin lost his starting job to Patrick Beverly after averaging 12.5 points and 4.1 assists.

Yet, as much as Lin labeled his arrival with the Lakers as a “fresh start,” he downplayed trying to provide a worthy sequel to “Linsanity.”

“I’m not trying to relive that banner season and I think that’s been a big weight off my shoulder,” said Lin, who spent lots of his 25-minute news conference on Thursday detailing how his Christian faith helped mature him. “I’m not trying to be that phenomenon that happened in New York. I just want to be myself more than ever.”
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Jeremy Lin downplays preference to start or come off the bench

Rockets#7 Jeremy Lin drives to the hoop against Lakers#27 Jordan Hill. The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 145 to 130 in a regular season game at Staples Center. Los Angeles, CA. April 8, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Rockets#7 Jeremy Lin drives to the hoop against Lakers#27 Jordan Hill. The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 145 to 130 in a regular season game at Staples Center. Los Angeles, CA. April 8, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

What once consumed Jeremy Lin no longer seems to bother him. After having his starting position stripped away last season with the Houston Rockets, Jeremy Lin downplayed whether he would like to start with the Lakers at point guard or play behind Steve Nash.

“That’s a question that’s up for the coach,” said Lin Thursday at his introductory press conference with the Lakers, mindful the team still has not hired one. ” I know right now that’s obviously a question that can’t be answered. If you ask any player,they’ll believe they are capable of starting. If there’s anything I learned from this past year, it’s really not that much about who starts. It’s about who finishes and the time you play you’re given. I think that’s probably one of the biggest things i learned last year. I obviously believe I can start for an NBA team and help that team win. As a competitor, I would obviously love to. But that’s not me coming in saying I need this or need that. I want to be a part of the team.”
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Kobe Bryant loses in game of H-O-R-S-E to fan

The man who has climbed toward fourth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list suddenly cannot make a basket. The man who has dazzled the NBA with difficult shots through double and triple teams suddenly cannot make them unguarded. The man who has willed himself toward collecting five NBA championships on talent, fundamentals and work ethic suddenly cannot win in a game of H-O-R-S-E.

Another video emerged, posted by Youtube user Max Funke, surrounding Kobe Bryant playing a fan in a game of H-O-R-S-E. But despite his trash talking and attempts to make difficult shots, Bryant is the one left eating up a dose of humble pie. He missed routine three-point attempts. Bryant never appeared in a rhythm. He initially stayed in game only because the three-person competition featured one player consistently making shots to knock another camper out.

But once the field narrows, Bryant hardly became the clutch player he usually has been on the basketball court. Bryant accepts the loss graciously, both congratulating and hugging the camper. Yet, the game hardly matches everything we are used toward seeing Bryant doing.


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers officially sign Jordan Hill

The Lakers' Jordan Hill smiles after securing a rebound before a timeout and the lead against the Celtics, Friday, February 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

The Lakers’ Jordan Hill smiles after securing a rebound before a timeout and the lead against the Celtics, Friday, February 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

The Lakers officially signed Jordan Hill to a two-year, $18 million deal on Wednesday, adding a power forward that usually helped the Lakers on defense and rebounding.

“Jordan has been a consistent contributor for us over the last three seasons and we are pleased to keep him in the Laker family,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “Jordan’s frontcourt versatility is a benefit to our roster and his on-court work ethic is something we value on our team. We hope he’ll continue to work hard and develop as an NBA player.”

Despite posting a career-high 9.7 points and 7.8 rebounds in the 2013-14 season, Hill’s work ethic has actually come into question. Though he prides himself on making hustle plays, the Lakers became frustrated that his energy level and defensive rotations became inconsistent. It also did not help that Hill felt frustrated with Mike D’Antoni’s system that featured him playing inconsistent minutes.

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Ed Davis believes Lakers’ opportunity greater than what he had in Memphis

Jeremy Lin shares how Christian faith helped him overcome recent frustrations

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers dispute theory they are waiting on Doc Rivers’ potential availability

Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak during a press conference held at the Toyota Sports Center, El Segundo Calif., Friday, April 18, 2014. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak during a press conference held at the Toyota Sports Center, El Segundo Calif., Friday, April 18, 2014. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze)

Amid all the unanswered questions who the Lakers will hire as their next head coach and when, two team sources strongly disputed that any delay stems from waiting out to see if Clippers coach Doc Rivers will become available because of embattled owner Donald Sterling prolonging a costly litigation battle.

ESPN’s Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose each brought up that prospective theory on why the Lakers have gone three months without hiring a coach since Mike D’Antoni’s resignation on April 30. Clippers interim Chief executive Dick Parsons also testified in court Tuesday that Rivers does not want to continue to coach if Sterling still owns the team next season.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak stood before a bunch of microphones, tape recorders and cameras, but his presence on Wednesday at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo hardly cleared up the uncertainty on where the team stands with its coaching vacancy.

Kupchak displayed Ed Davis’ No. 21 Lakers’ jersey. Kupchak gushed about Davis’ potential. Kupchak vaguely spoke about how the Lakers “made significant improvements and changes” to their roster despite losing out on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony as well as losing Pau Gasol. Then, Kupchak ducked out of the press conference room without taking any questions from reporters.
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Ed Davis believes Lakers’ opportunity greater than what he had in Memphis

The Lakers quickly added free agent forward Ed Davis, providing some much-needed depth to their thin front court. Davis quickly jumped on the opportunity, latching onto somewhere where he could escape the NBA’s version of purgatory in Memphis where he suddenly became a benchwarmer.

So as much as Davis gushed about the Lakers’ storied championship history or his private phone conversation with Kobe Bryant, it became clear that Davis turned down more lucrative offers for a two-year, $2 million deal with hopes he can bolster his career.

“There is opportunity where I can play and help this team win,” said Davis, whom the Lakers introduced on Wednesday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo.

Davis averaged around five points and four rebounds in 15 minutes through two seasons with Memphis, a drop off when he netted a career-high 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 24.5 minutes in his third season in Toronto. It did not help that Davis found himself stuck behind a bloated Grizzlies frontline in All-Stars Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

“It definitely was a challenge, but I took it as a learning experience,” said Davis, who relished both playing against Gasol and Randolph in practice. They’re such good players and learning from them every night helped me out a lot.”

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Jeremy Lin shares how Christian faith helped him overcome recent frustrations

Linsanity swept the world up in excitement. But it made Jeremy Lin feel empty. He enjoyed how it cemented his NBA future. He enjoyed the thrill in adding more memorable moments to a once fledgling career. He enjoyed how his work ethic proved all those NBA teams wrong that passed him up.

But that elation became only temporary. Lin then struggled through two seasons with the Houston Rockets. He eventually lost his starting position. The Rockets even featured Carmelo Anthony in mock-up uniforms wearing Lin’s No. 7 even before eventually trading him and a first and second round draft pick to the Lakers for nothing more than the rights to Sergei Lishchuk. But in a 42-minute testimony in a recent trip to Taiwain, Lin shares how he learned to better cope with such struggles because of his Christian faith.

“I can’t promise next season will go well,” Lin said. “As badly as I want it to go perfectly, I know it could also be a disaster. But the one thing I can promise is that God’s bigger and better than anything that can happen.”

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Kobe Bryant seeks inspiration from business leaders

As he travels down the long winded path toward pursuing greatness, Kobe Bryant consults material that no coach trainer, or game film could ever reveal. The Lakers’ star also seeks inspiration from people who have thrived in areas away from basketball.

Bryant frequently talks with Nike’s chief executive officer Mark Parker. Bryant has chatted with Apple’s lead designer Jony Ive. Bryant has recently consulted media monguls Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington. Bryant has a long-lasting friendship with actress Hilary Swank.

“I just cold call people,” Bryant told Bloomberg News in the video above. “I cold call people and pick their brain about stuff. Some of the questions I ask seem really really simple and some of them seem stupid, quite honestly, for them. But if I don’t know, I don’t know. I have to ask. I’ll just do that and ask questions. I want to learn more about how they build their business and how they run their companies and how they see the world.”

Bryant asks these questions for a few reasons. He advanced toward the beginning stages of constructing his own business brand titled Kobe Inc. Bryant also wants to see how he can apply the preparation and vision those leaders have shown in various fields into his own basketball game. It turns out some of those people feel the same way about Bryant.

“Jony wanted to know how do I prepare?” said Bryant, who confirmed he visited the Apple headquarters. “How do I study and view the game? How do you build your game? My response is much like the way he builds products. You think sequentially. Yeah, you look at the end result in which you want to create. But in order to create that, there’s so many little things that go into this massive entity and device. Its’ no different than building a basketball game. You start with what you want your game to be, what will make your game most unstoppable or hard to deal with and then you work backwards from there. You start building one piece at a time, one move at a time, one counter at a time. There’s a lot of similarities.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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