Kobe Bryant On Tanking: “I Don’t Even Know What That Word Means”

11.14.13 6 years ago

A still-recovering Kobe Bryant got on a satellite connection with Jim Rome this week from the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo, California. Bryant answered Rome’s trademark usual question on his rehabilitation from the Achilles’ tendon tear, and jokingly pretended not to know what tanking meant.

Bryant told Rome he didn’t even know what that word means, but also said, “I think it sets a bad precedent for the culture of your organization.” Kobe added that tanking, “sends the wrong message” to players and fans.

Perhaps even more enlightening than Kobe’s thoughts on tanking — which anyone that has spent time trying to understand him, saw coming from miles away — was when Rome asked him about his thirst for a sixth NBA title, which would tie him with Michael Jordan.

Rome — who some people think is a caricature of a sports loudmouth, but who asks fantastic questions — then went a step further and asked Kobe whether he would leave the Lakers if it meant a better chance to win a title. Bryant is a free agent this summer, and Lakers fans would stomp LA into the Pacific rather than see him in another uniform. Here’s what Bryant said:

“Nah, I can’t see myself going anyplace else. I was born a Laker. This is home for me, so I don’t see myself going someplace else just to try to win another championship. My attitude has always been, it’s going to happen here [LA], or it’s not going to happen. That’s the way I’ve always viewed things.”

Bryant hedged a little and said that any free agent owes it to themselves to look around, “from a business perspective,” and he would “never say never,” but followed that up with, “My heart is here [in LA].” That sound you just heard was a collective exhalation in LA. They love him out there, and it would be peculiar to ever see Bryant play somewhere else.

What do you think?

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