NBA superstar continues to rehab from Achilles tendon surgery.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has cast doubt on whether he will be in uniform for his side’s first game of the 2013-14 NBA season.
Speaking at a fan forum, hosted by talk-show star Jimmy Kimmel, Bryant said he was doing everything in his power to be in uniform as close to the November 1 first game when they take on the San Antonio Spurs.
In a wide-ranging interview, Bryant assured his fans and the Lakers that his latest, and more serious injury set-back in his 17-year career was not going to be the end of him.
“I just want that jewelry,” Bryant said.
The soon to be 35-year-old superstar was asked about the much-publicised departure of Dwight Howard after just one troubled season.
“Dwight is a great kid,” Bryant said, nearly drowned out by boos. “We have different perspectives on what it takes to win.”
Bryant also told the story of how he nearly was drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers, saying they were impressed by his workout, but worried what it would say about the franchise if they drafted a 17-year-old right out of high school.
As history would show, Bryant was picked up by Charlotte with the 13th pick of the 1997 draft before being traded to the Lakers, where he has forged a future hall-of-fame career.
However, Bryant said Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and West Point all recruited him, but added he would have chosen to go to Chapel Hill, simply to train and play with Vince Carter.
Bryant’s interesting relationship with the Clippers continued before last season, where he revealed how close he was to having Chris Paul as a teammate after he was traded to the side, before the then NBA-owned New Orleans team was forced to quash the deal.
“Chris called me and told me it was a done deal,” Bryant said. “Then he calls me back 30 minutes later and says, `You won’t believe it. (NBA Commissioner) David Stern killed the deal.”‘
Paul has since gone on to transform the once laughing stock Clippers into the best team in Los Angeles, as Bryant faces the task of holding a Lakers side they could be squeezed out of the Western Conference playoffs this season.