If the Lakers are rebuilding, it seems that everyone besides Kobe Bryant has gotten the memo. In an interview this week, the sidelined Mamba went in specifically on how he sees this team next season and what his expectations are:
“How can I be satisfied with it? We’re like 100 games under .500,” Bryant said. “I can’t be satisfied with that at all. This is not what we stand for. This is not what we play for. A lot of times it’s hard to understand that message if you’re not a diehard Laker fan. It’s hard to really understand where we’re coming from and what we’re accustomed to, which is playing for championships and everything else is a complete failure. That’s just how it is. That’s how it was explained to me by Jerry (West) and all the other great Lakers who have played here and that’s how I grew up thinking. So that’s just how it is.”
“Oh yeah, let’s just play next year and let’s just suck again,” Bryant said, sarcastically. “No. Absolutely not. Absolutely not. It’s my job to go out there on the court and perform. No excuses for it. Right? You got to get things done. It’s the same thing with the front office. The same expectations they have of me when I perform on the court is the same expectations I have for them up there. You got to be able to figure out a way to do both.”
It’s clear from Kobe’s comments that he expects the team to do whatever is necessary to get back to an elite level as quick as humanly possible. After all, isn’t that what he’s going to do this summer? He’s going to train and train and train, bringing his body back to as close to peak form as humanly possible at age 36. Kobe Bryant is going to do what he has done for 17 of the last 18 years–he is going to work harder than everyone else to make sure he’s still one of the best in the game.
For the Lakers? Their timetable isn’t nearly on the same spectrum.