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Kobe Bryant jokes about his contract extension, flying helicopters and Barack Obama on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'

April 8, 2010 | 12:58 pm

For the entire 2009-10 season, Lakers fans calmly and patiently waited for Kobe Bryant and the organization to agree on his contract extension, something that, by all credible accounts, was never really a doubt. That was reiterated last week when Bryant's three-year extension became official. But even if this drawn-out process didn't create the same uncertainty as in 2007, most couldn't help but wonder, what was up with the hold-up?

We now have the answer, and it involved Bryant wanting the team to allow him to fly his helicopter onto center court.

"That was part of our contract negotiations," Bryant joked on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." "That's why it took so long."

And with that agreement now locked in place, Kimmel couldn't help but observe that Bryant's three-year deal worth $83.546 million is similar to "Oprah money." That led Kimmel to ask Bryant the question most everyone would love to ask.

"Can I have half of it?"

It appears this isn't the first time Kimmel has tried profiting off of Bryant. Bryant appeared on Kimmel's show shortly after Team USA won the Beijing Olympics, and inevitably the topic of the Lakers' NBA Finals loss to Boston came up. During Wednesday's show, Kimmel joked that that conversation prompted him to make a bold move. Said Kimmel: "You seemed so sure that you guys were going to win next year that I nearly bet my home on it."

Even though Bryant has been a notable guest on Kimmel's show numerous times, the most memorable Lakers appearance involves Ron Artest showing up on set in just boxer briefs. Nonetheless, Bryant wouldn't accept the notion that Artest is crazy, except, of course, for that one incident. You know, the one in which Artest approached Bryant in the shower after the Lakers' Finals loss to Boston, and promised him it would never happen again. Yeah, that kind of freaked Bryant out.

"That was weird," he said. "I think he was emotional. He felt my pain in losing the NBA Finals. I'm in the shower two hours after the game. I'm fuming, and I'm in the shower trying to clear my head and meditate myself to a calm place. He was like, 'Kobe.' I knew I wasn't hearing voices in my head. I turn around and it's Ron. He's like fully dressed. He's like, 'Kobe. This isn't going to happen to you no more. I'm going to help you.'"

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com


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