Lakers’ Kobe Bryant reflects on passing Michael Jordan, nearly giving up sport

"MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 14: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves the court after the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 14, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list with a free throw during the second quarter. The Lakers defeated the Timberwolves 100-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)"

“MINNEAPOLIS, MN – DECEMBER 14: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers leaves the court after the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 14, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list with a free throw during the second quarter. The Lakers defeated the Timberwolves 100-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)”

Kobe Bryant once felt so sluggish on the court that he reported he scored zero points as a 12-year-old in Philadelphia’s Sonny Hill Future League. Bryant once felt so insecure with his play that he considered quitting basketball and playing soccer instead.

None of those things ever turned out as planned. Bryant stuck with basketball and eventually won five NBA championships and just surpassed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The Lakers’ star attributed his determination to gut it out in part to Jordan.

“Here’s where my respect and admiration for MJ was forged,” Bryant wrote in a first-person essay for The Players’ Tribune. “I learned that he had been cut from his high school team as a freshman; I learned he knew what it felt like to be embarrassed, to feel like a failure. But he used those emotions to fuel him, make him stronger, he didn’t quit. So I decided to take on my challenge the same way he did. I would channel my failure as fuel to keep my competitive fire burning. I became obsessed with proving to my family — and more importantly to myself — that I CAN DO THIS.
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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant says he’s “used to being the villian”

"MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 14: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers waves to the crowd after passing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list with a free throw in the second quarter of the game on December 14, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)"

“MINNEAPOLIS, MN – DECEMBER 14: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers waves to the crowd after passing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list with a free throw in the second quarter of the game on December 14, 2014 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)”

MINNEAPOLIS — Well after he cemented himself in the NBA history books yet again, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant strolled down a hallway here at Target Center, stopped at the loading dock and heard a thunderous sound that did not fade.

Even as the team bus stood outside with its engine rumbling, a much louder noise kept rising and rising at a feverish pitch.

“Kobe! KOBE! KOBE!!!!!” dozens of fans roared through these walls. Bryant has heard that sound plenty of times during his 19 seasons amid public appearances, game-winning shots and championship parade. But this whole sequence of events just startled him. The Lakers secured a 100-94 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Yet, plenty of the 15,0008 fans here applauded him in nearly every instant.

When he he hit a 26-foot 3-point field goal with 1:02 remaining that but secured the Lakers (8-16) earning their first three-game winning streak of the season. When Bryant made a pair of free throws with 5:24 left in the second quarter that eclipsed Michael Jordan’s 32,692 career points for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. And just as Bryant would board the team bus.

Only moments earlier, Bryant struggled processing it all.

“I’m so used to being the villain all the time on the road,” Bryant said. “It took a minute to adjust. But I got to say it felt good to be appreciated.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott enjoys the Nick Young coaching experience

MINNEAPOLIS — The smile widened on Byron Scott’s face as he heard the question.

What’s the Nick Young coaching experience like?

“It’s been interesting to say the least,” Scott said. “There’s been a lot of good moments because he’s interesting. But it’s been fun.”

It sure has.

When he isn’t averaging 15.7 points per game and giving Kobe Bryant a secondary scoring option, Young is also entertaining teammates, coaches and reporters alike with his friendly personality and hilarious quotes.

Young appeared in mid-season form after hitting a 30-foot three-pointer that secured the Lakers’ 112-110 overtime win on Friday against the San Antonio Spurs. Young gave shoutouts to nearly all of his teammates and interviewed Jordan Hill about himself. Young playfully talked trash to Kobe Bryant during Thursday’s practice and poked fun at the Lakers’ star feeling fatigued against San Antonio. After calling himself “Swaggy P” for his nine-year NBA career, Young gave himself a new nickname titled “IDM,” standing for “I Don’t Miss.”

“He’s a walking quotation,” Scott said. “He’ll give you guys anything you need. He loves when you talk to him.”
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Byron Scott says it was on Kobe Bryant’s “list a long time ago” to surpass Michael Jordan’s career points

Kobe Bryant remains nine points away from surpassing Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Photo credit: VINCENT LAFORET/AFP/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant remains nine points away from surpassing Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Photo credit: VINCENT LAFORET/AFP/Getty Images)

MINNEAPOLIS — Well before Kobe Bryant would win five NBA championships, post a career-high 81 points or play through nearly every injury imaginable, Lakers coach Byron Scott quickly learned what made him tick.

As he mentored Bryant during his rookie season 19 years ago, Scott became aware Bryant wanted to becomes the NBA’s best player and win endless championships. Scott also became aware of something else. It became important for Bryant to eclipse Michael Jordan for third place in the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant will likely achieve that goal when the Lakers (7-17) play the Minnesota Timberwolves (5-17) on Sunday at Target Center considering he only needs to score at least nine points.

“Knowing Kobe the way I do, this is something that was on his list a long time ago,” Scott said. “This is one of them as well as trying to pass him in championships rings and things of that nature as well. He’ll take it in stride, believe me. He’ll do it and say it’s no big deal.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott believes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record staying put

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott gives direction to his players during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott gives direction to his players during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SAN ANTONIO — For this entire 2014-15 Lakers’ season, it has become a matter of when and not if Kobe Bryant will eclipse Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

More clarity has emerged on this development since Bryant will only need to score nine points when the Lakers (7-16) play on Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves (5-17) at Target Center to surpass Jordan’s career 32,692 points.

But what happens after that? Well, more than likely Bryant stays there. He will then trail behind Karl Malone’s 36,928 points and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387 points.

“That’s going to stand for a while,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said of Abdul-Jabbar’s record. “I don’t think in our lifetime we’re going to see it being broken. It’s going to be hard for somebody to break that. Someone will have to play 20 plus years to do that.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young lifts team with game-winning shot and trash talk in 112-110 overtime win over Spurs

Los Angeles Lakers' Nick Young (0) shoots the winning shot over San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili (20) during overtime of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, in San Antonio. Los Angeles won 112-110. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Los Angeles Lakers’ Nick Young (0) shoots the winning shot over San Antonio Spurs’ Manu Ginobili (20) during overtime of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014, in San Antonio. Los Angeles won 112-110. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

SAN ANTONIO — The offense soon broke down. The seconds kept ticking away. No open shots looked readily available.

So the Lakers’ star had to settle for an alternative and bail his team out with a game-winning shot that only he could make.

Kobe Bryant living up to his legend once again? Bryant providing a memorable moment in a game that entailed surpassing Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list?

Think again.

The honor went to Nick Young, whose 30-foot three-pointer with 7.4 seconds left lifted the Lakers to a 112-110 overtime victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday at AT&T Center.

Afterwards, Young led an entertaining post-game press conference that seemed just as entertaining as his team-leading 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting.

Young started out making playful references to Bryant’s trash-talking during Thursday’s practice that entailed comparing his teammates’ softness to Charmin tissue paper.

“When I’m out there, I don’t play like Charmin,” Young said. “I like Scott tissue. It’s rougher.”
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Nick Young not happy about the Dodgers trading away Matt Kemp

Nick YoungFILE - In this July 29, 2014, file photo, Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp watches the flight of his second two-run home run, during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Los Angeles. A person with knowledge of the situation says the San Diego Padres have a deal in place to acquire outfielder Matt Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz from the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers for catcher Yasmani Grandal and two pitchers. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, because the deal hadn't been announced by either team. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Nick Young, top, was not happy about Matt Kemp (below) trade/Photos courtesy of Los Angeles Lakers, NBA.com and Associated Press (Kemp photo)

 

Nick Young grew up in Los Angeles, attending Cleveland High and then USC. He knows all about the Dodgers, and he said Thursday after practice he wasn’t thrilled that the Dodgers this week traded outfielder Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres.

“Me and Matt Kemp is like the same people,” Young said, “so it’s like the Lakers trading me. You know, I don’t like that. So, hopefully, the Lakers keep me for a while.”

Young, who was smiling, was rather astonished to learn of the trade.

“Yeah, it was very surprising because everybody … I mean, you think of the Dodgers, you think of Matt Kemp and some of the other guys.”
 

 

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Kobe Bryant’s Showtime documentary trailer released

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.

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Who’s better? Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on verge of surpassing Michael Jordan on NBA’s all-time scoring list

Lakers’ Byron Scott says Kobe Bryant more concerned about winning than breaking Michael Jordan’s scoring record

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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