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NBA Lockout: Kobe Bryant noncommittal on playing in Philippines

July 13, 2011 | 12:30 pm


To the delight of basketball fans in Asia, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant just began a five-city tour to the region where he will put together basketball clinics and promote his Nike brand. To the interest of everyone else, Bryant might reveal more answers to numerous timely topics than the "no comments" he's offered so far this past off-season.

So far, no reports have circulated about Bryant's take on new Coach Mike Brown, whether he'll accept an offer to play with the Turkish basketball club Besiktas, or whether he'll take part in a barnstorming tour through China. But he's offered a few snippets on some other topics, the most pressing of which involves Bryant being noncommittal on joining Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Chicago's Derrick Rose in a pair of exhibition matches in Manila. The Philippine Daily Inquirer's Francis T.J. Ochoa highlights Bryant's contention that he first heard of the possibility through published reports, although he remains open to the possibility. 

Among the other highlights so far:

--The Philippine Star's Joaquin Henson offers Bryant's take on numerous topics, including how he plays through injuries, whether a Filipino can play in the NBA, how he'd feel about a Bryant statue outside Staples center, and working with assistant Chuck Person. For some reason, he wasn't asked about Brown, something that would never happen in L.A. 

--Bryant played with the Nike-UAAP All-Stars against Smart Gilas Pilipinas, but his team lost the game. Nonetheless, plenty were impressed with Bryant's moves

--Bryant contends that the NBA lockout won't alter his off-season training regimen. In his exit interview following the 2010-2011 season, Bryant said most of his off-season work will entail strengthening his legs.  

--Bryant visited Manila and called the place his "second home." The Philippine Star's Alder Almo notes that Bryant plans to visit Seoul and three cities in China. 

--It appears Bryant put kids in Manila immediately to work in a clinic. The photo to this article shows him ordering the kids to perform push-ups. 

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--Mark Medina

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Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant just began a five-city Asian tour, which entails putting on basketball clinics and promoting his Nike brand. Credit: Bullit Marquez / Associated Press / Sept. 4, 2007