“I don’t know if I’ll be ready for opening night. I really don’t know. I know I’m really, really ahead of schedule.”
That’s what Kobe Byrant told Jimmy Kimmel in front of a crowd of 7,100 Laker fans at the Nokia Theatre last night for the 1 hour “Kobe Up Close” interview special. The reason why I called them all Laker fans is because they were quick to boo a kid wearing a Dwight Howard jersey and booed when Jimmy asked about the possibility of LeBron taking his talents to LA after next season. Kobe seemed to be in a good playful mood and responded with classic Kobe answers when he took questions from the crowd and discussed everything from his injury, Dwight’s departure, LeBron’s free agency, winning without Shaq, favorite players in the league, rumors that he was going to play for Duke if he went to college and how Chris Paul called him after the NBA nixed the trade that would have sent CP3 to the Lakers.
Here’s a few highlights from the night
On Dwight Howard
“Dwight’s a good kid,” Bryant said. “It was about the organization. It was about everything they’d done for me throughout my career. It was about me trying to help them out any way I can to set them up for the future, for when I retire. It wasn’t about me.”
The crowd booed a fan wearing a Dwight Howard jersey and Kobe said “he got that on sale.”
Criticism that he only won championships because of Shaq
“It never bothered me that people said, ‘You only won championships because you’re playing with Shaq.’ It bothered me when he said it,” Bryant said. “I had to prove that I could win without him.”
Kobe also talked about his first meeting with Shaq and how cool he thought he was because he had a big cell phone. He also said that he and Shaq would beat Jordan and Pippen because of Shaq match-up.
All-Time Starting Five
Magic, Jordan, Bird, Russell and Kareem
Favorite young players
Westbrook, Harden and Kyrie Irving
Toughest opponent he had to guard
“the guy that gave me the most problems was Tracy McGrady”
Why he would have went to UNC instead of Duke
“I want to play against (Vince Carter) every single day.”
The nixed Chris Paul trade
“Chris called me and told me it was a done deal. Then he calls me back 30 minutes later and says, ‘You won’t believe it. David Stern killed the deal.’”
Lakers making the playoffs next year
“No. I think we’ll finish 12th.”
The proceeds from the ticket sales benefited the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation which helps end homelessness.
Source: La Times