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Kobe Bryant & Derek Fisher make rounds on late-night talk shows

February 3, 2011 | 10:34 am

Times are tough in Laker land.

Talk about Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak considering a trade dominate the discussion around the team, at least when reporters are around. Reports about Ron Artest hoping the Lakers trade him add further fuel to the conversation, though he denied thinking that. And there's also a game to play with the Lakers (34-15) entering Thursday's contest against the Western Conference leaders, the San Antonio Spurs (40-8), 6 1/2 games behind them for the top spot in the conference.

Co-captains Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher tried assuaging those concerns in separate appearances Wednesday on "Conan" and "Lopez Tonight."

"Sometimes when you get up in the media and in the public," Fisher told Lopez, "like a good politician, you have to get out there and sell your own message and convince the people things are going to be okay."

And like a good politician, both Bryant and Fisher used their appearances to plug different things they're promoting and provide some light-hearted humor. Bryant, for one, explained the concept behind the trailer of his new Nike ad, further piqued curiosity on what'd it be like to wear his new 3-D shoes, the Zoom Kobe VI, and poked a little dig at Boston center Shaquille O'Neal when asked if Shaq trash talks to him during games: "If he did, I wouldn’t understand him."


Fisher took the same route. He asked fans to vote for him to play in the NBA All-Star Skills Challenge ("As soon as tyou get home tonight, click a million times"), plugged his FRS energy drink ("It's the good stuff") and offered a preview of Celebrity Fast Card. He also made light of Shaq becoming "The Big Shamrock ("It was a little different"), bristled at Doc Rivers' contention this offseason that the Celtics' starting lineup beat the Lakers' starters in the NBA Finals ("It's just not reality" considering the Lakers' 2008 Finals loss to Boston featured an absent Andrew Bynum and limited Trevor Ariza) and even told Mindy Kaling from The Office that her favorite team the Boston Celtics aren't winning the 2011 NBA championship.

But give it to the Black Mamba for offering the most soundbite worthy quote about the state of the Lakers as both co-captians hit the campaign trail, or, talk-show circuit.

"I think so," Bryant said when asked if the Lakers will three-peat. "The beauty of the season is it's filled with challenges. You have ups and downs. In this city, everybody breathes Laker basketball. When there's a struggle, it's the end of the world. but that's what the season is about. That's what challenges are about. its about overcoming those challenges. We're up to the task."

--Mark Medina

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