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Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant is hopeful about the future of the organization as he transitions from the role of key player to perhaps the team’s most famous fan.
Mike Bresnahan of TWC Sportsnet spoke with the five-time NBA champion, who entered retirement following a memorable 60-point performance in his final game. He believes the pieces are starting to come together after an often painful rebuilding process.
“Now it’s just a matter of them growing together,” Bryant said. “Having those pieces mesh, which I think is a great opportunity because now at this age, where their games are still developing, they can develop their games and their strengths around each other.”
The Lakers already had some promising assets in the likes of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson coming into the offseason. But the opportunity to add Brandon Ingram, the second overall pick out of Duke, should really accelerate the building process.
Bryant told TWC Sportsnet he likes what he’s seen from potentially the new franchise cornerstone.
“I think he plays with great tempo, great pace,” he said. “I like his length. His ball-handling ability is very good, and he gets to his spots on the floor. I think defensively he has the potential to be fantastic, as well. … So hopefully he starts really paying attention to that just as much as the things he does offensively.”
Here’s the complete conversation between Bryant and Bresnahan, which also included discussions about Team USA’s recent close calls at the Olympics and new Lakers head coach Luke Walton:
Bryant’s comments about making himself available to the organization and its young players is surely music to the ears of the front office. There aren’t many players who are more connected to a single franchise, especially one with the storied history as the Lakers, so he can be a valuable mentor.
Aside from the basketball talk, the newly bearded 37-year-old future Hall of Famer is seemingly enjoying the retired life. There are always questions about whether players with an intense competitive fire such as Bryant can truly walk away and stay away for good, but he sounds content, at least for now.