What's criticism to a 19-year NBA veteran who has 16 All-Star appearances and five championships to his name and is Hall of Fame bound? Not much.
"One thing I've come to understand over the years is that you'll have a bad story that comes out on a Monday and it seems like it's the end of the world and it seems like everybody's taking shots at you. But time goes by and then you look back on it and it was just a Monday," Bryant told reporters, including ESPN, after the Lakers' 114-108 overtime preseason loss on Tuesday.
"Then you have another great story that comes out maybe a month later, or something like that, and it's a fantastic story. And then there's a bad story that comes out one month after that," he added. "So you understand that it's a cycle, and things are never as good or as bad as they seem in the moment in time."
While Bryant, who has been known to answer questions extremely straightfoward, may have been a bit diplomatic in his response, some of his basketball peers weren't. Paul George scoffed at the article's suggestion that he didn't want to team with Bryant.
"Now how crazy does that Kobe story sound to you?#MediaReachingAgain," George tweeted after the article's release Monday.
Phil Jackson, Bryant's former coach with the Lakers and current president of the New York Knicks, agreed with fellow Twitter user, who called the article "absolute garbage" and a "blatant irresponsible attack."
The ESPN feature suggested that many of the game's top free agents this past summer — such as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony — didn't sign with the Lakers because they didn't want to team with Bryant, who has a reputation for being a tough teammate. King James of course decided to return home to Ohio to once again play for the Cleveland Cavaliers, while Melo opted back into the Knicks, who were offering him more money than any other team.
Bryant and the Lakers face the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night in their next preseason game.
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