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Poll Question: Should Kobe Bryant play in European exhibition games?

54399175It was only a few weeks ago that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson thought Kobe Bryant would be limited in his play at the opening of training camp. After Bryant underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee this off-season, Jackson said Chip Schaefer, the team's director of athletic performance and player development and its strength coach, informed him he thought  Bryant would have to sit out all the exhibition games as he rehabbed.

Because, as Jackson put it, Bryant had been "working hard the past month," Jackson expressed confidence during his preseason press conference that Bryant would play when the Lakers began their preseason schedule with stops in London on Oct. 4 against the Minnesota Timberwolves and in Spain on Oct. 7 against Regal FC Barcelona. But Bryant has only appeared in one practice in the six sessions of training camp thus far, and Jackson has expressed uncertainty whether he'll actually play when the Lakers leave for Europe.

"Yes, you want the fans that have paid ... to have an opportunity to see remarkable players," Jackson said, regarding the two sold-out games in Europe. "But if he's not well enough to do so, obviously we won't do that. It would be what I called 'Beckham payback time.' "

Jackson, of course, was humorously referring to English soccer player David Beckham, who joined the Galaxy in 2007, appeared in limited fashion for his Major League Soccer debut and remained sidelined for most of the season because of an ankle injury. In Beckham's case, the Galaxy felt pressured to play him because of his marketing potential as well as all the hyperbole from the organization about what Beckham could do for the MLS. In Bryant's case, the Lakers are on, essentially, an ambassador's tour, and the European fans want to see the league's best player.

The cases are different, however, since this is the Lakers' exhibition season we're talking about. Bryant said, on just the third day of training camp, that he wouldn't be talking about his knee anymore. His manner was serious but lighthearted, and he seems fairly relaxed in interviews and on the sidelines thus far. Bryant obviously wants to play, but he's not in a frustrated mood, as he was at times last season, when he was continually overcoming assorted injuries and fielding questions about them. Additionally, Bryant's current rehab process doesn't have the same long-term prognosis as Andrew Bynum's. Bynum is expected to miss all of the pre-season and, in Jackson's estimation, at least two to three weeks of the regular season. In Bryant's case, he participated Wednesday in a non-basketball workout, and Jackson said it was possible he would practice Thursday. "Just taking it step by step," Bryant said after Sunday's practice. "Just continue to try to progress every day, that's all."

54398478Keep all of this in mind as you consider this poll question: Should Bryant play in the European exhibition games? My answer comes with a qualifier. The Lakers should play him only if he's healthy enough to do so. As much as it would disappoint the Europeans that he'd sit out, there's absolutely no benefit for the Lakers in leaving him vulnerable. This also isn't the playoffs, where Bryant seemingly received treatment every waking minute to keep the knee going. In his rehab, I'd expect Bryant to be striving for improvement but not just for the sake of play in Europe, and his comments seem to support that. Nonetheless, Bryant's well aware of his world-wide popularity and has indicated in the past that part of his wanting to play points to the fact that some fans may only have one chance ever to see him on the floor. So in that respect, it'd be ideal to give Bryant a token appearance but nothing that will put him in harm's way.

No doubt, the Lakers would prefer to have Bryant on the court. Even if it is just the preseason, it never hurts to solidify the chemistry early among the players who will most likely see the floor. For the newcomers, it also gives them a chance to get used to playing alongside Bryant. He's matured tremendously over the years, but there's no doubt an adjustment process for those joining him on court. The perfect combo is Bryant fully utilizing his tremendous talent and his teammates fully understanding how to provide a supporting role. On the other hand, if there's a time for the bench reserves and newcomers to get some run, it's during the preseason.

There's still plenty of time for Jackson to decide and for Bryant to make progress on his knee. The team practices Thursday, flies to London on Thursday night and then doesn't play until Monday. But it's not like the Lakers are on a mini-vacation. There' are several practices as well as team, league and sponsorship events scheduled during the trip. But if I had to vote today, I'd say it's better to sit Bryant out. If he makes progress and he's done rehabbing by Monday, by all means, allow the Black Mamba to put on a show. If not, just take a rest. Consider it a return on investment for, you know, when the games actually matter.

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photos, from top: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant elevates for a pull-up jumper over Boston guard Ray Allen in the second quarter of Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. Bryant powers his way to a layup past Allen in the first half of Game 7. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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Maybe a token appearance at best - but probably not. I don't think we need to get into the altruistic charity mindset right now when we're on a mission.

I don't think we need to get into the altruistic charity mindset right now when we're on a mission. Posted by: Tim-4-Show | September 30, 2010 at 08:04 AM
Yes, that's exactly what I really meant! Lol! Good morning Tim-4-Show! How are you my brother?

Kobe should make a token appearance...International fans are excited to see the Mamba live...he shouldn't disappoint...

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation

#17 Coming Up!!!

No no no. The exhibition games don't mean nuthin' (spoken a la De Niro in "Untouchables").

I'd rather have Kobe fully rehabbed and ready to go (we KNOW he'd be ready to go) by opening night. Let's play Ebanks and Caracter with heavy minutes. Kobe's minutes will go to Sasha, and that will benefit The Machine. Barnes can also pick up spot minutes at the 2, so he can practice a possible endgame "Super D" lineup composed of Pau-LO-Ron-Barnes-Kobe.

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation #17 Coming Up!!!
Posted by: LEWSTRS | September 30, 2010 at 08:13 AM
Lewstrs for that slogan alone you know I have to say it...OUT FREAKIN STANDING SIR!!!!
@Raymond42n, I forgot to say it on the other thread but for the work you do in "The Real World" it goes without saying I have to say it...OUT FREAKIN STANDING SIR!!!!!!

completely agree with LEWSTRS.

It's an exhibition game against Minny and Kobe should shy away from the spotlight and more plays from the rooks. That's what preseason games are all about, showing what they learned from training sessions. We know what we can expect from Kobe for he has played a lot of minutes since he came to the Lakers. Therefore, if he plays in England, it should be a token appearance for the crowd but not endanger the overall objective of the team.

I fully understand the risk of Kobe playing in a couple of meaningless exhibition games...

But the Laker fans in Europe are ecstatic they will be able to see their favorite team and favorite player...I mean when else will they get a chance unless they come accros the pond to watch him...We all know that won't be feasible to all but a few...

So Kobe and the Lakers owe it to our abroad fans to at least make an appearance...maybe 3-5 mins max...and Kobe should take it very easy just going through the motions...Kobe on auto pilot is still better than many players playing full strength...

Building a broader fan base, especially foreign money, is important for the franchise's bottom line...we have a huge payroll, and any revenue will help
Dr. Buss keep fielding the best talent available...

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation

#17 Coming Up!!!

Hi Mamba,

Um, yeah.

Hey, I thought "the Laker blog" was the real world :)

Kobe play in Europe?
Only if healthy and then maybe 5 minutes per half.
Who are the Lakers playing anyway?

Best Starting Five ever:

1.- Magic
2.- Kobe
3.- Baylor
4.- Pau
5.- Gasol

Posted by: ricky...again | September 30, 2010 at 05:14 AM

Ah ricky ricky ricky, how any times do we have to do this? Pau Gasol CAN NOT play 2 positions at the SAME TIME! You need to make the number 5 up there either Kareem or Wilt.

ummmm - in the famous words of Whitney to Bobby:

HELL to the NO.

The Euro games should be Beckham'd by Kobe fo shizzle.

A Mamba in the Morning sighting - coolio!

Raymond - wow. Sounds like you do some fabulous, intense, emotionally draining work. Unfortunately this world needs people to do jobs like yours. Thank you.

NewMexico - I'm here. Just didn't want to stick my nose into the Bynum Wars. Or the Troll Love Fest they seem to be having with each other.... You can always come chat over on Magic Phil's 24/7 chatapalooza: h
We come and go but always have a good time...

Raymond42n -

Pare mentioning Manila...

Now for breakfast, I'm craving...

Popsilog or

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation

#17 Coming Up...

Please, the first two games of the preseason??? Kobe should sit out - besides, wouldn't Europeans prefer to get their Sasha fix in right about now? Doesn't Pau supply enough star-power to keep the Euro fans happy? Kobe will make the trip to keep up his end of the PR, but he should absolutely not play.

No, he should enter the game prematurely, in the hopes that he'd recover as the season progresses. As much as I adore the guy, it's hard to watch him play injured. So enter the game when you're fully recovered and use the regular season to horn your skills to decimate the opposing teams in the playoffs for the 3-peat.

Shout-out to SHASHA. V. Dude, you crack me up. I really enjoy your posts, keep 'em coming.


Kobe knows his body better then anyone. If he feels it's healthy enough to test it out, go for it. Only way he's going to get completely into basketball shape is on the court.

Kobe limits his actions to pre-game warm ups and a ceremonial jump ball......and maybe some interviews during the game.

Kobe can speak so many languages like Italian, Spanish, etc...but can he speak with an English accent. Fatty wants to know.

They have this new waker-upper at a resto (Recipes) called "gising-gising". It's chopped kangkong and minced pork in a spicy coconut milk base.

Am i getting your salivatory glands workin' yet? LOL Let me know if you're ever in town, i promise to treat you and your family at Mall of Asia. :)

Morning kids..

If the NBA feels it necessary to cultivate its popularity overseas (which is great), why wipe out a team's training camp to do it? Stupid. Unfair to the teams and players. Has that stinky Stern aroma..


Set Kobe up at an autograph table for the game. Free. For the fans.
For the KNEE..


Quick question for everyone. I recently read that Kobe said he didn't get surgery on his finger because it would eat into the season. A few weeks ago however, I had read that there was nothing any surgery could do for his finger, as you can't fix arthritis. So which is it, is there a surgery that can help with his finger? If there is I say get the surgery, come back in December (or whenever) and then lead us to a title. I get that Kobe is super competitive and doesn't want to miss any games ever, but he is getting older and at some point he is going to need to make decisions based on what's best for him in the long run. I'd rather see him play 5 more MVP caliber seasons than see him run his body into the ground and only have 2 or 3 seasons left.

Posted by: Troy B | September 30, 2010 at 12:40 AM

This should answer the question at hand.

Yup it does, but Lakers universe and wedding photography keeps me balanced. Check out

@Troy B
I suspect that Ricky... again is Ricky Rubio in real life. That explains why there has to be 2 Spaniards in his list. :P

Raymond - WOW!!! BEAUTIFUL work!!!!!!!

Realist -- Lol you're something. I think four years at Syracuse is good enough. The reality is I'm holding the camera too so if I take the mic and do that, the focus on the camera will move. In L.A. there's fortunately still anchors who don't have to one-man band, but when I went to Syracuse all the local stations had to one-man band and NEVER did any of take the microphone away so they could speak. You lose framing of the shot


So there were a few questions about is it possible for Kobe to get surgery or isn't it. As you well know, Kobe is very secretive, especially when it comes to discussing his injuries. But the way he explained it is that surgery is possible, but it would be something that entail a very very long rehab process. In other words, this surgery is something he'll have to do once his playing career is over.


Somewhat interesting article on Yahoo about Celts vs Heat.;_ylt=ApIEdOjcyQfKpLp501jkBui8vLYF?slug=aw-celticsheat093010

A comment in the article got me wondering, have the Lakers taken a page out of the book of Red Auerbach?

Here's the quote:

"Until his dying days, Red Auerbach told Rivers over and over:
Fill your roster with agitators. Danny Ainge was one of the most effective the old coach ever had, and Ainge has now constructed his own roster with agitators big and small."

The Lakers already had agitator Kobe, added Ron, now Barnes.
And maybe to a lesser extent, Fish and Sasha and maybe Caracter and Ebanks in time. I don't know enough about Blake to classify him in there.

LO, Pau and Drew don't strike me as agitator types, more like skilled big guys

Kobe should play 5-10 minutes in the 1st Quarter. Nothing more, nothing less. That is all.

MM -

Thanks for answering my question about the surgery.

If Stern has anything to do with it, Kobe will play.

If Phil has anything to do with it, Kobe will start, then play a total of 5 minutes.

If Kobe has anything to do with it, he'll enter the game with 3.7 seconds left in the fourth with the game tied, and drain a 17 footer from the elbow and win it.


Title Heaven in 2011!

There's never been a coach that knows more about how to start a marathon season than Phil.

Kobe will get a few "showtime" minutes. The tough part will be holding him back against FC Barcelona / Olympic flashback.

Whatever Kobe decides. Period. We moaned and groaned last season, too about him playing when anyone else wouldn't, but he shut it down when he felt he needed to and the result was a championship. I completely defer to the Black Mamba.

token appearance (thx lewstrs).

Not playing at all is a disrespect w/ the fellows that work hard to pay these tickets.

He should play for limited minutes. Besides, I'm sure he's dying to play, you can see in his face.


Should he play - no! But Lew had a good point in satisfying Euro fan base. So let him make a token appearance.

Kobe should play if he is not hurting and just resting being a veteran of summer camp.. But if he is still needs some healing then he should not. It is up to him. Preseason is game time for Kobe. I expect him to play.

When was the 7 foot 2 Russian Timofey Mozgov drafted by the Knicks, what year?

Vman, where have u been bro? How's vacation? If there's anything who are trying to prepare for the Lakers, it's Real Madrid because that's their only chance to embarrass the NBA champion. Should Kobe play in a non bearing game? That depends on Phil and trainers or rehab specialist.

Troy B, just curious if you are the same blogger, Troy? I may have missed the post where you distinguish yourself or same handle.

MM, with regards to being a one-man crew during interviews, are u allowed to use Flip camera, a tripod or a mic stand? That could solve the audio part between you and the player being interviewed.

Kobe should not play any games until 100%. I hope Sasha starts in place of Kobe to bring his scrimmage hot streak to Europe. Sasha should get extra motivation playing in Europ and will play well. And it will definitely boost his confidence.

I'm with Justa: He should Beckham it! Start. Throw in a deep three. Sit down and wave to the crowd.



No, me and Troy are two different people. There was actually a bit of confusion during the season as people were mixing us up lol. Because of that I toyed with a couple different handles, but none of them stuck. I guess I'm just not clever enough lol. I used Rule #7 for a while in honor of Roland Lazenby's article about Tex and the triangle. Tried a couple others, but I just didn't like them. A few years ago I posted on here a few times under Beezy, one of my nicknames given to me by a military buddy while deployed together. When I came back I tried just Troy, but there was another one already! lol. Maybe I'll just go back to Beezy to clear everything up.

Edwin, thanks for asking...

Been busy but lurking now and again. Enjoyed the summer of fun profiles of blog brothers we've been in the trenches with these years.

Ready to start the quest. Got enough story lines to go around this year. Lookin' forward battlin' the forces of evil with ya.

1 mo' 3 Peat = Inevtibable

Wow, I just realized how many times I put lol in that last post. I wonder how often people are really loling when they type lol? hmmmm

This is only a joke, any resemblance of factual events is purely coincidental. This post is for entertainment purposes only. Read at your own discretion. This post does not reflect the views or opinions of The LA Times or its affiliates. Phew!!!

Given the track record of the FO and the coaching staff of letting their players decide what's best for them, I believe Kobe will choose if he wants to play or not. Are there any soccer games going on in England or Spain that he and Drew can go watch? I couldn't resist.

this will not be an exhibition game for the wolves or for barcelona. this is their moment! as such i don't think the lakers should think that they're playing the washinton generals. so if kobe does play, it should be his decsion whether or not he CAN play, then pj decides if kobe WILL play. while in london, they will be able to see chelsea play arsenal. too bad they won't be able to see barcelona, with Messi play, but he's still out, so oh well your sense of humor!! I LOL with some of your quick-witted[probabably not a word] jokes. We all need a little breath of fresh air and that's what you are to this blog!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the reply Mr. Finance Vman, we've been settling scores for quite number of years now but tickets kept on increasing to keep up with players salaries. At least this time, we get our money's worth compared to the Smush Show.

Troy B. thank you also for your reply, I missed the Beezy handle. I suspect you are different from the plain Troy because I missed the apprehensiveness from my good friend. Other than that, he is an a great Laker fan just can't handle nervous time. He wants to trade everyone after we lose a game.

A little rivalry is brewing in the east...Here's Q-Rich comments.....
"Bleep the Heat … with all due respect," Q said.,0,1630354,full.column

NewMexico - thanks - LOL!

I'd much rather be called quick-witted than dim-witted...

Troy B - keep Troy B - don't confuse me (again)!

Edwin - Yeah I have a tripod but it takes up too much space during group interviews. I use it for press conference purposes. I will get a mono pod too which is a little more durable


Tim-4-Show: totally agree with you on this one. But if he signs a bunch of autographs for the kids and makes himself available to the people - even better. Euro-media will talk about that way more than his 10 minutes on the court.

Justa and Mamba - you two are funny.

Cheers - PLG


no, he should absolutely not play or travel for that matter. the euros can tune in like the rest of us and watch him contribute to the defense of the team's championship. he needs time to rehab that knee which has been repaired 3 times already. i hope he stays home and continues to rehab. heck, if that's the case, then he should've have his finger surgically repaired. he avoided the procedure in order not to miss any more games than necessary. playing in "exo" games is not the prudent thing to do but then again, neither of us are in possession of championship, HOFmer knees, are we now?


I have been a fan of the Lakers for about 25 years and live in the UK. This is my first chance to see them play and I would love that to include Kobe, even if it is for 5 minutes. However they certainly shouldn't jeopardise his recovery.



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