Kobe Bryant says he can't measure up to Peyton Manning's work ethic
Forget the 5 a.m. film study, the playing through 235 consecutive games, the working over the off-season with Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon and the martial-arts training.
Kobe Bryant says, compared with Peyton Manning, he doesn't do "nearly enough."
When the Lakers guard was in Indiana last week as part of the team's eight-game, 13-day trip, he contacted the Indianapolis Colts quarterback and revealed his insecurities.
"I said, 'Why is it that every time I watch you play, I turn the game off feeling like I don't do nearly enough to prepare for my game?' " Bryant told ESPN.
With the Lakers having a day off for Super Bowl Sunday, Bryant will likely feel really bad he's not working. Plus, he'll have time to think about that left-ankle sprain that sidelined him Saturday, the first time he hadn't been able to play in spite of his assorted injuries -- his fractured right index finger, back spasms and his strained elbow.
Nonetheless, Manning's work ethic (he practices two-minute drills while running on the treadmill) shouldn't make Bryant feel inferior. He should just enjoy Super Bowl XLIV today between the Colts and the New Orleans Saints, a contest Bryant believes will come down to Manning's play.
"I know he's going to be ready," Bryant told ESPN. "I think the Colts will win."
Lakers forward Lamar Odom shared similar feelings, saying, "I love Peyton Manning. I love watching him play." But he remains conflicted on which team will get his rooting interest.
"There’s personal reasons why I probably want the Saints to win," said Odom, whose sister-in-law Kim Kardashian is the girlfriend of Saints running back Reggie Bush. "Family and I want everyone to prosper and do well. ... The Saints are pretty good. It’ll be good for their city as well."
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore at a final practice Saturday before Super Bowl XLIV. Credit: Eric Gay / Associated Press