Byron Scott: Kobe Bryant to “take a lot of shots in a lot of minutes” in final game

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (24) before a basketball game at the Staples Center on Sunday, April 4, 2010 in Los Angeles. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham/SPORTS)

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (24) before a basketball game at the Staples Center on Sunday, April 4, 2010 in Los Angeles. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Keith Birmingham/SPORTS)

So much uncertainty lingers on the exact numbers of former Lakers teammates that will attend Kobe Bryant’s final game. Or what the exact pageantry will entail for when the Lakers (15-66) host the Utah Jazz (40-41) on Wednesday at Staples Center. Or if Bryant becomes overwhelmed with emotions after spending most of his 20-year NBA career not allowing that human element to consume him.

But in a game that has fielded both a sell-out crowd 450-500 credentialed media members, there marks at least one thing that will be easy to anticipate. That involves how Bryant will play in his 1,346th and final NBA contest.

“A lot of shots in a lot of minutes,” Lakers coach Byron Scott with a smile. “I got a real good sense that we’re going to try to get him the ball as much as possible, and we’re going to try to compete as best as we can.”

Scott would only say Bryant’s workload hinges on how well he feels after nursing soreness all season in his right shoulder. Yet for unlike most of the season, Bryant’s playing status remained definitive.

Yet, Scott has said Bryant would exceed the season-high 37 minutes he played in late November against Toronto. Bryant has also averaged a team-leading 16.4 field-goal attempts albeit in 28 minutes per contest.

Lakers forward and veteran teammate Metta World Peace hesitated to predict how many shots Bryant would take. World Peace sounded worried any clairvoyant powers he has could end up with an airball.

“I didn’t ask him, ‘How many shots are you going to shoot?'” World Peace said. “If he said, ’40 [shots]’ and he falls short, then people will be disappointed. So I don’t know.”

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant enjoys the hate in Nike commercial

The boos greeted Kobe Bryant nearly anytime he stepped on an opposing team’s court. Profanity-laced barbs also filled the arenas both when he made and missed shots.

All of which sounded like pleasant music to Bryant’s ears. Hence, Bryant’s latest Nike commercial features the Lakers’ star as a conductor toward those critics.

He calls out rival fans, who have suddenly given him standing ovations during his final season. Bryant points to former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, whose close relationship with Bryant also entailed tumultuous times over philosophical and personal differences. Bryant also sets up memorable opponents such as Paul Pierce, whose rivalry in the Lakers-Celtics Finals matchups included plenty of trash talk.

Now all those words have turned into respect, providing another beautiful soundtrack to Bryant’s storied 20-year NBA career.


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

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on cover of NBA 2K17 Legend Edition

Twenty years passed with moments so breathtaking that the time does not feel long at all.

Kobe Bryant made game winners no one else could. He overcame injuries no one could even try. He won five NBA championships that the Pacers, 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Magic and Celtics wished they had.

Bryant has a chance to provide one last encore in his career finale when the Lakers (16-65) host the Utah Jazz (40-41) on Wednesday at Staples Center. Nothing will be more poetic than another game-winning shot. Nothing will be more fitting than Bryant fighting through more injuries that require icing, stretching and massage therapy on a daily basis. And even if his last game does not end with pouring purple and gold confetti to celebrate another NBA title, the same streamers could drop to celebrate Bryant’s accomplished career.

Yet once that moment ends, Bryant will still remain on the basketball court wearing his No. 24 Lakers jersey. It will not happen in real time. Instead, it will happen on the NBA2K17 Legends edition, where Bryant’s presence will be pronounced on the video game’s cover.
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Kevin Durant marveled at Kobe Bryant’s willingness to outwork everybody

OKLAHOMA CITY — The private conversations will always stay that way. Kevin Durant does not seem like one to wax nostalgia. Neither does Kobe Bryant.

So, the Oklahoma City forward always preferred “learning more from just watching” the Lakers’ star and “figuring out why he’s like this.” After all, those moments told Durant more about Bryant than anything Bryant could ever say. And what Durant saw from Bryant in the Las Vegas during the 2008 offseason.

Then, Durant had just completed his NBA rookie season and began training for the U.S. Olympic trials in Las Vegas. Bryant was also there to train for the U.S. Olympics later that summer in Beijing.

“Jeff Green and I are only ones on the first bus. Right as we’re about to leave, we see Kobe getting on walking by himself when everybody else took the day off,” Durant said. “He worked out on one end. We worked out on the other.”

Then, Durant saw Bryant make 50 shots in seven different spots from behind the 3-point line. As Bryant dripped in sweat, Green and Durant remarked to each other, “He’s the best player in the league.”

“He took a bus to a high school gym to put some work in,” Durant said. “He’s old school. That’s exactly what I wanted to be like.”
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Kobe Bryant’s Apple TV ad pokes fun at his struggles with Father Time

Kobe Bryant once scoffed surrounding questions on his demise.

He took offense when the media suggested his game went on the decline. Or that his remaining seasons have become numbered. Or that he could not overcome his latest injury.

As Bryant has gone on his farewell tour in his 20th and final NBA season, however, he has embraced it. Bryant has lamented with humor the never-ending recovery process just to step on the court. He has acknowledged his physical limitations. Bryant laughed when Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade hosted a dinner for him during All-Star Weekend where the pair of friends gave him gifts poking fun at his age. And in his Bryant’s latest ad for Apple TV, the theme surrounds how the old man can no longer do what he once could.


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

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Kobe Bryant says “you should hate me” in latest Nike commercial

On the surface, the adoring crowds, endless gifts and infinite farewell videos suggested Kobe Bryant became this revered figure that smiled, laughed and shook everyone’s hands in sight.

Throughout Bryant’s 20-year NBA career with the Lakers, he often played the villain. He clashed with teammates over their work ethic. He butted heads with coaches at time over his role. He once grew impatient with the Lakers over their rebuilding plan. Yet, Bryant maintained he behaved that way amid his endless desire to win.

Hence, the theme around Bryant’s latest Nike commercial involves the juxtaposition between the Lakers’ star both being loved and hated. It sounds like Bryant would not want it any other way.


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

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Nick Young did not travel with Lakers to New Orleans, plans to rejoin team on Friday

Nick Young, seen briefly addressing last week’s controversy involving rookie teammate D’Angelo Russell, was on the inactive roster for Sunday’s game against Boston. John McCoy — Staff Photographer

Nick Young, seen briefly addressing last week’s controversy involving rookie teammate D’Angelo Russell, was on the inactive roster for Sunday’s game against Boston. John McCoy — Staff Photographer

NEW ORLEANS — Lakers forward Nick Young did not travel with the team on Thursday to New Orleans, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Young plans to join the team here sometime on Friday before the Lakers (16-62) play the New Orleans Pelicans (26-52) at Smoothie King Center, sources said. But it’s not clear why Young did not fly with the Lakers on Thursday. The Lakers declined to comment on the situation.

Young has missed the past 13 games, including two the Lakers attributed to a stomach bug. Lakers coach Byron Scott also recently said that Young’s “not here with us mentally.” Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell secretly recorded a video earlier this year that was somehow leaked to a gossip website two weeks ago that showed Young admitting adultery to his fiance, Iggy Azalea.

With the incident causing issues in the Lakers’ locker room, Russell publicly apologized and expressed remorse prior to last week’s game against Miami. Russell also apologized to the team before that game.

Russell reported he has apologized to Young. But Young chose not to be present when Russell addressed his teammates about the incident prior to the Miami game. Young also has not spoken to reporters since the video became public, other than offering a brief statement that he and Russell needed to resolve the issue privately.

Young has also been on the team’s inactive roster in the past three contests and watched the games in the locker room instead of on the bench. Scott insisted earlier this week that Young’s lack of playing time had nothing to do with any lingering tension with Russell. Young has averaged 7.3 points on a career-low 33.9 percent clip.

Young has two years left on a contract worth $11.1 million. He is not expected to stay with the Lakers after the 2015-16 season, though the team’s attempts to trade him for the past two years remained unsuccessful.

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

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Jabari Brown to miss rest of D-Fenders’ season with patellar tendinitis in left leg

Jabari Brown will miss the rest of the D-Fenders season with a XXX Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/03-10-16 Jabari Brown will miss the rest of the D-Fenders season with a XXX Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/03-10-16[/caption

Former Lakers guard Jabari Brown will miss the Development League playoffs with the D-Fenders after recently suffering patellar tendinitis in his left leg, according to various team sources.

It is not currently clear how the injury occurred. But this marks another moment of adversity for Brown, whose father died of cancer on Feb. 27, 2016. After a season-long stint with the Foshan Long Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association, Brown signed with the D-Fenders in early February. Brown averaged 16.8 points albeit on 36.4 percent shooting in 27.4 minutes through eight games.

Various league sources have expressed optimism about Brown’s ability to land an NBA gig and eventually cope with his father’s passing after serving two training camp stints with the Lakers. In a a wide-ranging interview last month, however, Brown admitted he has struggled with grieving over his loss.

The D-Fenders have acquired Jamal Branch, who will be available for Thursday’s playoff game against the Reno Bighorns at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. Branch played 10 games with the D-Fenders, averaging 1.1 points and .8 assists in 6.4 minutes.

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

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AEG unveils exclusive line of Kobe Bryant merchandise

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant interacts with some fans in Wednesday's game against the Clippers at Staples Center. Photo by John McCoy/Southern California News Group

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant interacts with some fans in Wednesday’s game against the Clippers at Staples Center. Photo by John McCoy/Southern California News Group

His jersey fills up Staples Center, every opposing venue and sporting goods stores around the world. His shoes squeak on NBA hardwoods, outdoor blacktops and indoor gyms everywhere, too.

With Kobe Bryant less than a week away from playing in his career finale on April 13 against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center, AEG has released exclusive Bryant merchandise that go beyond the normal apparel any fan can wear in the stands or on the court.
For $38,024, you can buy an 18-karat gold black lambs leather cap through Lakersstore.com. Or if you would like to save some money, you can purchase a purple diamond cashmere cap for $24,008.

Or perhaps you’d like to use that money elsewhere, like on your house, your car or paying off bills. So instead, you can buy a jacket (priced from $724-$5,824), a boxed jersey ($824) or an “81” cap ($248.24). Some more relatively economical items include hats (priced from $72.48 to $82.48), long sleeve T-Shirts ($42.48) or T-shirts versions of a boxed and retailed jersey ($32.48).

“The vision and creation of the “24 Collection” started more than a year ago when we challenged the New Era Cap design team to create items to commemorate one of the Lakers’ all-time greats and most popular player in team history. After sharing our vision with our partners, the “24 Collection” was created,” Vice President of AEG Merchanise Sean Ryan said in a statement. “An athlete like Kobe Bryant only comes along once in a generation and to celebrate his incredible twenty year career we feel we have really captured it with the over forty five exclusive items available for fans who want to celebrate the history that they have witnessed.”

Fans can purchase any of those items at Lakersstore.com, which will begin shipping on April 13. The Team LA Store at Staples Center will sell those that merchandise when they from 8:24 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. PDT on April 13.

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

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Kobe Bryant shows his competitive & humorous side in ‘American Express Teamed Up’ event

"LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 29: American Express Teamed Up With Kobe Bryant at Conga Room on March 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bernstein Associates/Getty Images for American Express )"

“LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 29: American Express Teamed Up With Kobe Bryant at Conga Room on March 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bernstein Associates/Getty Images for American Express )”

The laughs kept coming as Kobe Bryant, Rick Fox and Robert Horry reflected on their three NBA championships they wont together. So much that Bryant once remarked tongue in cheek that the Lakers somehow collected those rings from 2000 to 2002 despite their goofy personalities.

But at a recent event titled “American Express Teamed Up” all three players showed their competitive side as well. In a conversation moderated by NBA Inside Stuff’s Kristen Ledlow, Bryant, Fox and Horry explained how they never became satisfied with their riches. They shared what drove them. And they shared illuminating stories along the way.

Below is an edited portion of the nearly hour-long conversation.

Ledlow:
“Kobe, how long have you played basketball?”

Bryant: “As far back as I can remember. I remember two years old and three years old when I started playing. I would take rolled up tube socks and shoot them on the wall. The sport consumed me at an early age.”

Ledlow:
“How have you taken those lessons from an early age to now? How old are you now?”

Bryant: “I’m 37. I think I get confused. I think I’m 37 or 38. I will be 38.”

Ledlow:
“Those basketball lessons you were taught at an early age. How did you apply them?”

Bryant:
“It’s understanding that it’s all connected. The things you go through with life, you try to figure things out constantly and now it’s about how you navigate them doesn’t change. The industry may change. But how you navigate a sense of self can change.”

Ledlow:
“These people are some of the biggest fans in the world. They want to know and I want to know some of your friends and family know you that maybe some of your teammates have known along the way.”

Bryant:
“When I don’t play, I’m not the Black Mamba. I’m laid back. I’m a pretty chill, human jungle gym for my kids. I love movies, fantasy movies. I love reading children’s books and novels and things of that sort.”

Ledlow:
“What’s so odd for this season is that everywhere you go, people want to hug you. That probably was not the case earlier.”

Bryant:
“It was uncomfortable at first. You’re so used to going to these arenas and being the villain for all these years. The first time I had gotten an ovation, it’s like woah. This is weird. But it’s great.”
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