The seriousness on Kobe Bryant’s face deepened. Somber music played in the background. And the Lakers’ star uttered these words to foreshadow what his documentary set to release on Showtime in February will entail.
“It became more than a documentary,” Bryant said in the trailer above that was released on Friday. “It became therapy on film.”
One could presume that therapy entailed coping with injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left knee that kept him out last season for six games. Or dealing with the Lakers’ recent losing. Or perhaps reflecting on other adversities in his career that has still included five NBA championships and an eventual third-place standing on the league’s all-time scoring list.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) December 12, 2014
SAN ANTONIO –Kobe Bryant’s voice reached fever pitch. He let out a string of expletives with as much volume as one of his shooting outbursts. He demeaned teammates about their talent and effort.
With the media let in to practice on Thursday to see this incident take place, the footage soon went viral and hit the airwaves.
All of which prompted Lakers coach Byron Scott to say, so what?
“It’s a practice where guys go at each other,” Scott said after morning shootaround on Friday for the Lakers’ game tonight against San Antonio at AT&T Center. “That’s not the first time he has gone at those guys and it’s not the first time they’ve gone back at him. Last night, I’m looking at ESPN and it says Kobe goes off in practice. To me, it wasn’t that big of a deal. To me, it was fun.”
Instead, Scott viewed Bryant’s practice on Thursday as significant for another reason. He actually practiced. Scott has held out Bryant in practices and shootarounds for the last two weeks to rest his 36-year-old body. This happened after Bryant shared that he felt “heavy legs,” particularly toward the end of games.
But Bryant practiced on Thursday, both after improving his energy level and the Lakers benefiting from having two days in between games. Scott said he would like to practice Bryant when the Lakers have multiple days in between games. The Lakers will have that next week with three days in between Monday’s game in Indiana and Friday’s home game against Oklahoma City. Scott reflected on his own anxiousness during his 14-year NBA career when he faced multiple days in between games.
“I felt like I was losing something,” Scott said. “It wasn’t enough to just get shots up. If I took a day off or had a day off, that next day I wanted to get a nice lather going.”
SAN ANTONIO — The moment seems inevitable.
Kobe Bryant will surpass Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Will it happen when the Lakers (6-16) play on Friday against the San Antonio Spurs (16-6) here at AT&T Center? Or will Bryant make history when the Lakers play on Sunday in Minnesota?
Bryant did not speak to reporters following morning shootaround, but Lakers coach Byron Scott maintained his star player hardly has thought about his upcoming milestone.
“His mindset is to win the game. I’m pretty sure of that,” Scott said. “The other part is secondary. His mindset is always to win.”
He lost his starting position, but Lakers guard Jeremy Lin pledges to make the best of his circumstances. Lin recently hasn’t finished games, but he remains determined improved play will change that outcome.
But even if those things do not go his way, Lin at least hopes that his bench role will entail playing more with Ed Davis after showing chemistry in the pick-and-roll game. The only challenge: Davis has since replaced Carlos Boozer’s spot at power forward in the starting lineup.
“I’d like to see more minutes with him,” Lin said of Davis. “Whatever time I could get with him, I would love because we were able to get it going.”
As if Kobe Bryant does not already have a heavy workload.
But in addition to the high volume shooting, Bryant could have the additional task in managing point guard duties. After Bryant closed out the Lakers’ 98-95 win on Tuesday over the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center, Lakers coach Byron Scott suggested that marks a sneak preview of things to come.
“You will see it again,” Scott said after practice on Wednesday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “I know it’s very effective and something I’ve been thinking about.”
The smirk widened on Kobe Bryant’s face as he learned the news.
Magic Johnson argued on Tuesday in New York City to reporters that he hopes the Lakers lose every single game to maximize their chances at a top pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Perhaps puzzling for Johnson to say such a thing after helping the Lakers to five NBA championships through his sheer talent and strong supporting cast.
“Magic’s one of the most competitive players in time,” Bryant said following the Lakers’ 98-95 win on Tuesday over the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center. “From an owners’ perspective, his opinion is to get top picks and be able to use those as leverage to trade and field a competitive team.”
The Lakers came out and made a statement. It went beyond ending with a 98-95 victory on Tuesday over the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center instead of a loss to improve their draft lottery chances as Magic Johnson hoped.
The Lakers also wore “I Can’t Breathe” T-Shirts both during pre-game warmups and when players sat on the bench. The message is in support of Eric Gardner, a young African American who died in July after a police officer choked him. Though the incident was captured and shown on video, a grand jury decided last week not to indict the police officer.
“I didn’t have to study or research too much after looking at the video,” Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said. “It’s pretty self explanatory.”
The moment has happened to every Lakers’ head coach, and it only took 21 games for Byron Scott to experience it.
How to respond to something Magic Johnson argued that may put the coach in a precarious position.
Johnson said at a promotional event on Tuesday in New York City that he hopes the Lakers “lose every game” so it helps their chances in landing a top lottery pick. His boisterous laugh foreshadowed what Scott said he plans to text Johnson in response.
“LOL,” said Scott, though he then turned serious.
“That’s easy to say, but when you’re behind the scenes and you’re in the trenches and you’re coaching, that’s not something you wan to do,” Scott said. “I don’t think our players look at it that way. We have to try to go out here and win every game possible. If you lose games it’s one thing. But to go out and try to lose, that’s a different story. That sends a message to those guys in there that it goes back to a losing mentality. We don’t want to create that here.”
Magic Johnson once delivered the Lakers five NBA championships during the Showtime Era with timely assists and clutch baskets. But with the Lakers (5-16) off to their worst start in franchise history, Johnson believes the Lakers’ path toward championship prosperity involves something else.
“I hope the Lakers lose every game, because if you’re going to lose, lose. I’m serious,” Johnson told Newsday. “If you’re going to lose, you have to lose, because you can’t be in the middle of the pack. You either have to be great or you have to be bad, to get a good [draft] pick.”