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Kobe Bryant to focus on strengthening legs over the summer

The patience and perspective Kobe Bryant gleaned from Phil Jackson points to his insistence for the Lakers to maintain an even-keel reaction to wins and losses.

Bryant tries to strike a balance between demanding more of his teammates and allowing them to figure out how to correct their own mistakes. And the two often sit together at the front of the team plane, with Bryant picking Jackson's brain about basketball.

Nowhere, however, has Bryant adopted Jackson's philosophical approach to basketball. So as he reflects to himself during private moments, rarely does his mind focus on anything sentimental. "What I think about," Bryant said, "is shutting up those [people] that say that I’m done."

Bryant, of course, refers to the press and general public who believes his excellence at age 32 won't be around much longer. He's conceded the reality that his 40,163 career minutes force him to adjust his game, such as his decision five years ago to work primarily in the post to save energy. But by no means do the aches and pains surrounding his surgically repaired right knee, arthritis on his right index finger and sprained left foot and ankle give him pause as to whether he has enough left in him. That's why Bryant's off-season will prove critical, knowing the uncertainty surrounding a possible labor stoppage could give him an advantage in his achy body recovering. But don't expect Bryant to spend that time simply resting.

Said Bryant: "This is a good summer for me to train and get strong."

It's an answer even fervent Bryant supporters may not want to hear considering his surgically repaired right knee kept him out of most practices, the sprained left ankle sparked uncertainty with his effectiveness and his overall performance dipped drastically. His regular-season averages of 25.3 points in 33.9 minutes per game marked his lowest statistical output since the 2003-04 season, and his playoff averages of 22.9 points per game in 35.4 minutes per game marked his lowest mark since the 1999-2000 season.

But the logic behind Bryant's insistence on playing this off-season goes beyond his competitiveness and stubborn streak, although he refuses to get surgery to ease the arthritis surrounding his right index finger because he doesn't want to get caught in rehab should a potential lockout suddenly end. Bryant plans on devoting most of his summer working to increasing the strength of his legs and performing injury-prevention type exercises so he won't have to hold back as much as he did during the 2010-2011 season.

"When you're older, it’s a lot harder to shut down the engines and then regenerate that all over again," Bryant said. "It’s easier to stay consistent so you never fully lose it."

He couldn't do that in the 2010-11 campaign after spending part of the off-season receiving arthroscopic surgery in his right knee. The rest and the surgery helped his knee, but he entered training camp with very little strength around it, meaning he had to spend practices building up that strength at the expense of solidifying team chemistry.  

"This off-season gives me a chance to really go to another level," Bryant said. "There’s a difference between feeling healthy and as strong as I can be. I feel like I could do everything I wanted to do. But there’s another level I can get to."

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

 
Comments () | Archives (33)

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Dude...Lakerholic please make room on the couch for the C's, you both can watch the King get his RING. C'mon HATERS, it's like getting kick in the STONE'S. I told you clowns the Heat will be the New NBA Champs at the beginning of the season, you talk and had BANDWAGONS on how you were going to win 72 games. I guess you feel a little STUPID now, I knew the blog27 were retards.

i was taken aback by him saying he would still be first in offense then pau. then drew. if that's the case the lakers can forget about ever winning another ring as long as bryant is there.

get rid of him.

Posted by: sally | May 11, 2011 at 06:48 PM

I HAVE TO ADMIT THIS IS THE REASON WHY THE HEAT WILL REIGN FOR YEARS TO COME. KOBE STILL TALKING ABOUT HIM BEING THE FIRST PERSON ON THE TEAM TO SHOOT.

IT'S NOT ABOUT SHOOTING BALL HOG! IT'S ABOUT WORKING AS A TEAM. AND WHO CARES ABOUT YOU STRENGTHENING YOUR LEGS. DUDE, YOU'RE GETTING OLD. IT'S TIME FOR SOME FRESH LEGS. OR SHOULD YOU BE SAYING WE NEED TO TAKE A BLUEPRINT OF WHAT THE HEAT HAS DONE THIS YEAR!

IT'S TIME FOR KOBE TO GO!

What's the big deal??

I was wasted a whole decade

I think it was the 80's
No it was the 90's
No definately the 80's
no it was the 90's

Make that 2 decades I was wasted

What's that?
OH, WASTED A YEAR AWAY

nevermind

G.Money

2. Thou shall not criticize any member of the 27.

I'm to lazy to post as the RSP otherwise you would be cited for being insightful.

I'm falling and can't and can't get up. There goes Boston to join the Lakers. The King and DWAde rained fire and brimstone on Pierce and garnett heads. Sally you are 100% right. Jerry Buss gave kobe the most talented team known to man and he screwed itright up with his ego. With Kobe's attitude still about eating first the lakers are doomed to 1st and 2nd round exits and we can book it. Jerry Buss have a talk with your ball hogging superstar and go make doc an offer he cannot refuse.

www.infowars.com

Dude...Listening to the interview, the Lakers championship runs are OVER. I agree with Gunner, the Heat this year, next year, next year how many rings did they SAY?

At 32 Kobe can still get stronger and have better endurance. Athletes nowadays are in better shape than their age dictates, using scientific training techniques and nuitritional advances. Kobe has shown to be one tough dude with a lot of determination. I like how he is using his critics ranting as a basis for motivating himself for the next season.
Cheers to you Black Mamba!

Bob

He's got this "pecking order" as far as shots go and that's why the real issue is who would be willing to come to L.A. and play with him when Phil is gone? If L.A. wants to land a big player(s), Kobe will have to convince him/them that they can win with his proposed "pecking order." Truth be told, he needs to be reigned in and a new coach will do that. For the team to endorse Shaw because he "knows how they liked to be coach" is more reason to keep Shaw away from the sidelines.

Troll Man,


You're still wasted, so make that 3, going on 4 decades.
What an extra decade or two, huh?

Maybe you should change your handle to "Wasted Man" or "Man Wasted" or just "Wasted."


You were pretty lucid the other night though...

While Kobe is working his behind off during the summer...........I wonder what Luke Walton will be doing?

So kobe says everyone knows he shoots first and Pau is second and Bynum falls in line after them. So, him taking stupid shots is more important than playing team ball. That is exactly what he did and that is why they are on vacation.

You know what I would like hobbit to explain why la is at its best when kobe eats first. Hobbit is real good at explaining the benefits. Granted la get swept with this philosiphy but it would be entertaining.

I know Mitch Kupkake and Dr. Buss took note of these comments from Kobe. If they select Shaw they are supporting this hierarchy of shots which is the kobe doctrine. This is what wear gastrong down and that is kobe hogging the ball. Congrats to the heat and the thunder. Will we have a weather related finals? Stay tuned.

"Today, I'm sure," Jackson said. "What it's going to be like in six months, who knows?"

PJ when asked about retirement.
____

He'll be back, we just don't know where...yet.

Strengthen those legs

but you don't dribble with your legs


fix your finger and maybe you can dribble and hold on to the ball next year

I've been a Kobe fan forever but he needs to understand he's not what he use to be. Just get me a coach who will sit him down when he starts enforcing his pecking order mission statement at the expense of wins.

@troy.. Exactly!! Bynum shows some heart and he's being hung out to dry.. Pau deserts his teammates in the BIGGEST moment of need and he gets a slap in the wrist.. And no ONE sees anything wrong this?

No wonder kobe is saying its a WASTED year.. All that hard work for 82 games and pau throws it all down the toilet.... At least bynum showed some heart... Pau THE TINMAN or the Cowardly LION can't say the same

You guys dont get! When Labron had a boo boo he sat a few games. Kobe couldnt make a lay up or dunk against Dallas, which shows his foot/ankle was a lot worse than Kobe led on. The only other player ever played with as many injuries was Iverson. LJ, Wade, Westbrook, Durrant, Anthony, none of theses guys could even do half of what Kobe does with half of his injuries. Period! Add Gasol knee, Lamar shoulder and leg, Blake hurt, Barnes hurt; and you wonder why the Lakers didnt play well against Dallas. Last year other than Bonehead Bynum they were all healthy except Kobe's finger and knee and still won it all.

Has everyone forgot, other than the Heat, in the regular season before Kobe's, ankle, and the last game of the year even Gasol got hurt put he played through it, and the bench injuries and they still beat every team out there in a series and this includes the 2 away games in Dallas. The bottom line a older team doesnt equate slower team but when you add all of the injuries and no kidding they are not going to far in the playoffs and folded in the fourth quarters. Guaranteed this a healthy Lakers team is another NBA Championship. Period!

Why is trading Kobe off the table?

I'm at odds with Kobe's statement regarding Drew wanting a bigger part in the offense. Kobe had a very sub-par season he wasn't his usual self probably due to injury and when Kobe took over, his teammates didn't respond accordingly they just stood around, so this has proven many times that when Kobe dominates the ball they just don't win. but my second tough is drew because of injury himself hasn't been with the team a whole season Beginning with training camp so he hasn't been proven. can he get buckets at crucial times? can he be mobile enough to run back and defend? I think all this also plays into account and dictates the amount of touches

The Kobe haters on this blog make me ill. " He shoots too much".."he does not shoot enough"..blah blah blah..heaven only knows every other team in the NBA would kill to have Bryant on his team or at least hope their own players would play with the same fire..you want to blame the team's failures and/or losses on Kobe while forgetting their succeses and/or wins were because of him as well. Lets' see..14 years in league, (7) finals appearances and 5 rings in those 7 appearances with (2) finals MVP's. Do i get frustrated at times when he attempts to take over? sure. But you know what, if the team is down by 2 and there's 5 seconds on the clock with game on the line, GIVE ME THE MAMBA to take the shot..he does so FEARLESSLY win or lose...shame on you trolls..

Time for a reality check! I am surprised to see the trolls celebrating queen James supposed championship so soon. You would think they might want to wait until the queen and her court actually payed a good game. Boston gave away the last two games even with the queen choking. Sad times ahead for Boston for sure, but no guarantee that the trophy ends up in Miami. Chicago and Dallas might have something to say about that.

You can take this to the bank...


I'm starting to get the vibe that Brian Shaw will in fact be the next Laker coach, but Phil Jackson has thrown a man-hole cover of a wrench into this picture a little. By being ambiguous about his future, on purpose, meaning that in 6 months or a year, he may want to come back, the Lakers will give Brian Shaw a chance -- they may feel obliged to, and if he doesn't do well (get the team deep into the playoffs), he will be replaced by Jackson, who has left the window for a possible return rather widely open. And with the triangle offense still in place who better to take over?


I seriously think Phil Jackson is not done, and let's not forget that his main squeeze is still Jeannie Buss. And if the Lakers lose next year again, Buss will feel the same desperation he felt back in 2005 when he re-hired Jackson, who could by next year be inclined to give it another go, specially with the bad taste the sweep against Dallas has left in his palate.


I'm really starting to think this is going to be the Lakers' coaching script.

MJ never wasted a year, even if he was playing baseball.

Its just a waste of time reading haters,trolls,and fairweather fans post.Shut up all of you clowns.Keep dreaming pretenders!!!

G. Money,

Ok... LeBron gets a ring... then what?

Anyway, the Heat are legit... I might hate LeBron - i still like Wade...

In any case, hope the Heat is ready for whoever comes out of the Wild West.

My pick would be the Thunder... They (and the Heat), can thank Danny Ainge.

Kobe said: I feel like I could do everything I wanted to do.

Nothing tells better how deluded he is. Anyone who watched his miserable 4th quarters, air balls and turnovers especially at critical times must ask how can this guy be so blind to his decline and its impact. Then he goes and tells the press Bynum must wait in line and you say - where have I heard that before - oh yeah, that is what Shaq said about Kobe 10 years ago. I do not remember that leading to a good relationship or transition.

Kobe may have learned some bb from the zen master but he still has zero self awareness or humility.

Dude...Lakerholic please make room on the couch for the C's, you both can watch the King get his RING. C'mon HATERS, it's like getting kick in the STONE'S. I told you clowns the Heat will be the New NBA Champs at the beginning of the season, you talk and had BANDWAGONS on how you were going to win 72 games. I guess you feel a little STUPID now, I knew the blog27 were retards.

Posted by: G.Money | May 11, 2011 at 07:09 PM

G.Money,

The only one who should be feeling stupid is you.

We love our team, we love our bandwagons, and we are LAKERHOLICS. Go back home and kiss the poster of LeCrab hanging over your bed. We'll be back next year.

Love,

A PROUD PURPLE AND GOLD BLEEDING LAKER LOVING LAKERHOLIC.

Wow, imagine that. I didn't even wince with shame or confusion. I didn't shrivel up and cry into my jersey. I'm looking forward to next year.

GO LAKERS!!!!!

Gunner....If you really think about it. I'd rather have Kobe taken more shots than anybody on the Lakers team and probably Pau Gasol as the second option.
I understand it's a team game but the reality is some are better shooters than the others. And Gunner stop the hating dude, You don't understand the impact for a fans like us what Kobe did for basketball. You are a sore looser...I believe that this team can still come back we just need a better 3 points shooter. Dude 3 years in a row in a Finals, that will drain you in and out. One championship alone is hard already that's why not a lot of team can do even 2x. So shut the hell up and watch Kobe and the Lakers redeem themselves next year.

If the Mavs shoot their 3-pointers and spread the court against the Thunder and in the Finals, they are the team to beat.

Kobe is about the most cerebral player in the league. I too felt, like some of you, that his tweaked ankle was not 100% which made Kidd look like a premium defender....Seriously?

There's something to be said about leg-weariness of the team from having played 77 playoff games these past three years. That's a whole season.

I expect the new coach to modify the Triangle Offense and mix it up with pick-and-rolls when necessary. Nobody is better qualified to make this transition than Kobe.

One big difference between this season and those of the previous three years was the Lakers' inability to win close games and maintaining the defensive intensity that took them to the Finals.

If the Lakers Sign CP3 and upgrade their bench with some reliable three-point shooters, we will see another ring next year.

Perfection come with preparation and pride. Kobe knows how to get there. His legs will be stronger and his jump shot will be what it was when he scored 56 and 61 points in three quarters - the latter against the vaunted Mavericks. I'm not suggesting he will return to that level of shooting, but, he will emerge a champion, again.

>>>MJ never wasted a year, even if he was playing baseball.

Scottie Pippen never shot 40% for a series.

>>>MJ never wasted a year, even if he was playing baseball.

Scottie Pippen never shot 40% for a series.

I believe that Kobe will get faster and look younger becuz Lakers have a longer offseason. Also since Kobe is obviously VERY rich i believe he will have some techiniques and nutritional improvements and weight training to get faster and stronger. Also Kobe will probably work on his 3 point shot becuz since he did not practice much sometimes he 3 point shot looked shaky. Bryant obviously was not happy with his season or his playoff performance so we should expect another Kobe Bryant gritty, hard working, but safe summer so he'll come back on another level. Also Kobe is probably watching the playoffs seeing Dirk Nowitzki lighting up everyone and Dirk's improvement even at his age he is getting better. Also Rose and Durant putting on shows. This should motivate Bryant to work even harder.


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