Friday, December 10, 2010
Kobe Bryant On Passing Torch To Young Stars "I Ain't Passing Sh--"
A lot of people really don't like Kobe Bryant. Maybe it's because of the cocky attitude he displayed during his early years in the NBA. Maybe it's the dismissed rape charges he had to endure back in 2003. Or maybe it's because some blame him for Shaq's exit from the Lakers. But like him or not, you have to respect the man's talent and drive. Kobe is hands down the most competitive player in the NBA and arguably the best basketball player in the league but there is a number of young talent in the NBA that has shown a lot of promise, including Chicago Bulls PG Derrick Rose, with whom Bryant had a brief conversation with following a Lakers victory last month.
Per this story by Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson, when Kobe was asked if the conversation had some type of passing the torch symbolism to it, Bryant had this to offer regarding the question and regarding the all-star:
"Oh, sure, but I ain't passing (expletive)," Bryant said.
Asked if Rose has to come take the torch from Bryant, the Lakers' superstar smiled.
"He can certainly try," Bryant said.
Otherwise, Bryant lauded Rose's development and noted his developing killer instinct.
"I just told him to stay healthy and continue the job he's doing," Bryant said of their November postgame talk. "I don't think you can develop (a killer instinct). You either have it or you don't. He's had it since he was in high school.
"That quality separates players I think. With players of equal ability, it's about the engine you have inside. It certainly gives him an edge."
You can feel the competitive fire of Bryant in the connotation of the response. You can also see that Kobe has kept an eye on the younger players coming into the league trying to take his "juice". That is the mentality of a true winner; knowing your opponents and doing everything you can to stay at the top of your game.
Bryant is 32 and is currently in his 15th season in the NBA. Some say his skills are on the decline as he has a lot of miles on his body but Bryant is still second in the league in scoring and continues to play at an extremely high level. Declining skills? I don't see it that way.
The Lakers play the Bulls tonight in Chicago and the game will be broadcast on ESPN. Should be fun to watch two of the best go at it on a national scale.