In a rare public appearance, Kobe Bryant stopped by long-friend Jimmy Kimmel’s show Thursday night to talk all things Lakers, basketball, and more. With the show only in small segments on YouTube, we’ll provide a transcript below for the the majority of the questions.
On what percentage he is health-wise as of right now….
From a health standpoint, 100%. [From a basketball standpoint] not there yet. I started doing a lot of on-court training, so I’m back in my routine. Then I’ll start lifting and doing the running, which I hate. But by the time the season comes around, I’ll be ready to go.
On if the season was fun to watch this year….
It’s been highly enjoyable. I’d rather stay at home and eat paint chips. It was tough. It was really, really tough. But when you go through seasons like that, it adds fuel to the fire.
On if the Lakers include him the process of looking for a new coach, the prospects of next season…
On the last two they didn’t, so on the third one I’m hoping they do. Jimmy and Jeanie both are really determined and excited about the possibilities of next season and rebuilding this and building on their father’s legacy and everything that he’s accomplished. They’re taking the challenge extremely, extremely seriously. They’re both on the same page and they want nothing but excellence here, so I have no doubt that we’ll make it happen.
On his relationship with the Buss family..
Now I think it’s an open door policy. We talk back and forth. We’ll text.
On the Clippers and the Donald Sterling situation…
In terms of brand depreciation, that’s as quick as you can get.
On if he’s cheering for the Clippers in the playoffs….
It doesn’t really matter to me cause I’m not winning, so why the hell do I care who wins. I watch and hope the guys I know do well.
On Swaggy P’s opening pitch at the Dodger’s game
That’s crazy. I pray to go he did [it on purpose]. That’s so bad it’s impressive.
On Phil Jackson‘s story of Kobe telling MJ he’d “kick his ass one-on-one” the first time they met….
Well, it’s half true. Phil, as much as I love Phil, he likes to embellish. He writes books a lot and he has to market those books.
On trash talk with MJ….
Michael was dishing it out to me as well. Years later after I scored 81, he was barking that I could never do it against him. “There’s no way you gonna score 80 on me, I woulda fouled out. We just woulda went back and forth.” I normally try to stay pretty cool with MJ cause I looked up to him so much. On that particular occasion, I had to remind him I had 42 in one half against him.
On if he misses Phil Jackson and if he’ll succeed in New York….
I do. We still speak often. I think he’ll do fantastic, especially the more people say he won’t be successful. I find myself reading a lot of the books that he gave me when I was player that I was just too young and had too much energy to pay attention to. But he was just a fantastic mentor and unbelievable coach.
On if he feels the Lakers can win again next year and if they need to make changes…
I do [feel we can win]. We’ll make changes for sure. There’s certain characteristic you have to build your team around: speed and length and rebounding and defense. We’ll make those adjustments.