This morning Kobe Bryant called in to Colin Cowherd’s radio show on ESPN Radio. During the interview Bryant discussed the Steve Nash acquisition, his thoughts on his future in the NBA, and what he expects the Lakers to accomplish this season.
When Los Angeles acquired Steve Nash last week the team was suddenly propelled back into the championship chatter. By adding a two-time league MVP to a backcourt that includes one of the greatest players in league history, the Lakers’ backcourt duo suddenly became one of the most lethal combos in the league.
Bryant, who reportedly helped recruit Nash to L.A., spoke about his history with Nash and his former team, the Phoenix Suns.
“Steve just wanted to see how I felt about it,” Bryant said. “He knows the kind of rivalries we’ve had. There’s always been that mutual respect.”
Nash’s Suns faced Bryant’s Lakers in the post-season three times between 2006 and 2010, with Phoenix defeating Los Angeles in the first round in ’06 and ’07. Bryant got his revenge in the 2010 Western Conference Finals when the Lakers defeated Phoenix en route to their second consecutive championship.
Bryant also spoke about the Lakers organization as a whole, and the differences between this summer and last summer, when a lack of communication between Bryant and the front office was reportedly causing a bit of a rift.
“We’ve had a much, much more open dialogue this summer as opposed to last summer,” said Bryant.
This comes as a positive sign for Laker followers, who were concerned that the changing of the front office guard might alienate Bryant and create an irreparable fissure between the team and its star. The improved relationship should bode well for the Lakers, especially with Bryant reaching the end of his career.
Cowherd discussed that topic, as well, pointing out to Bryant that he may not have much time left playing at an elite level in the league.
“The thing is, you want to continue to play because you love the game,” replied Bryant. “You obviously love to win. In terms of how many years I have left – I don’t know. Three? Four?”
So what are the chances the Lakers return to prominence this season with Nash running things at the point?
“We have a much better chance, obviously. We’ve kind of increased our chances with Steve coming here. It’s definitely going to be fun for me because I just get to catch and shoot.”
With Nash on board Bryant is ready to give it one more run at the Larry O’Brien trophy. If the team does achieve its ultimate goal, it would be Bryant’s sixth championship, tying him with Michael Jordan and putting him ahead of Magic Johnson. So what would that mean for Bryant?
“It’s huge. That’s the only reason why I train and compete. You want to win. Just for the challenge of keeping the young guys at bay a couple more years longer.”