Kobe Bryant: Lakers still ‘my’ team
El Segundo, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Superstar Kobe Bryant emphasized that the Los Angeles Lakers are still his team despite the arrival of three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard and two-time Most Valuable Player Steve Nash.
“It’s my team. But I want to make sure that Dwight, when I retire, this is going to be his. I want to teach him everything I possibly know so that when I step away this organization can ride on as if I never left,” Bryant told reporters during the Lakers media day.
Bryant said he, Howard and Nash, and other key players such as Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace and Antawn Jamison, can coexist because their skills differ from one another.
“I don’t see it as being an issue at all,” Bryant said. “We do different things. I think having Steve helps tremendously. It’s a different dynamic than it was with (Shaquille O’Neal). I had to do something that I naturally don’t do, which is be a quarterback, make plays for other people and score.”
Howard and Nash have no problem taking a backseat and play second-fiddle to the 34-year-old Bryant, who is entering his 17th NBA season.
“I’m willing to go through that process, learn from one of the greatest to ever play the game and I think it will be great,” Howard said. “I think learning from a guy like Kobe, I know he’s going to be tough on me but I expect that and I want him to do that.”
“I think this is Kobe’s team,” said Nash, who experienced playing alongside All-Stars like Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas and Amare Stoudemire in Phoenix. “For the media’s perspective, this is Kobe’s team. But anyone who’s ever played on a basketball team, it’s also our team. The team needs to share in that responsibility. Kobe can’t do everything.”
Bryant plans to take Howard under his wings and prepare him to become the cornerstone of the Lakers when he retires.
“That’s one of the conversations that Lakers vice president of player personnel Jimmy Buss and I had over the summer. It was like, ‘If you have the opportunity to get Dwight, get him because I want to see this organization continue to flourish and continue to be successful long after I’m gone,’” Bryant said.