Programming note: We'll be hosting a live chat at 1 p.m. to talk about media day, training camp and anything else. To get in, click the link and go to "sports chat."
The Lakers kicked off the 2007-08 season Monday in El Segundo with media day ... and yes, everyone was present and accounted for, if not slightly (and harmlessly) delayed. There were other dudes wandering around, getting their pictures taken, taping promos and interviews for TV and radio, delivering man hugs and slapping hands. But Lord help any of them who found themselves between the media and Kobe when he finally emerged. (Standing between a grizzly cub and her mom would have been safer.) No. 24 says he's committed to winning in L.A., and that what happened this summer was the result of frustration. There was never any doubt, Bryant said, that he'd report.
In the end, it was much bluster and buildup over basically nothing, which is what people should have expected, though that doesn't mean all of the issues have been addressed. Kobe (like fans and Phil alike) still wants improvements in the roster, but those worried he'll mope around this year shouldn't. That's not how he operates. As for the whole trade-demand thing, there wasn't any clarification (beyond talk of "frustration"), nor will there be any down the road. But the question of whether he can win another title with the Lakers still looms large for Bryant.
In the end, questions of "text or no text" or "happy or not happy" may be less important than "talent or no talent" and "injuries or no injuries." Why? Because the Lakers have bigger issues than Kobe, who has an almost supernatural ability to shut out what's going on on the periphery.
Injuries are already an issue. Lamar Odom likely won't play in the preseason as he continues to rehab from off-season left shoulder surgery. And as L.O. pointed out, he needs a healthy left arm (perhaps more than anyone in the league). Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm are recovering from surgeries, and Andrew Bynum has a minor leg strain.
Now if you want to see how the other half lived Monday ...