<
>

Wednesday practice vids: The Nuggets, HOF and getting to the line

Even as a 14-year veteran, never let it be said Kobe Bryant can't continue finding ways to learn from Phil Jackson. Check out the way 24 used his coach's example as a means of keeping his bank account $35,000 healthier.

I'm not one for putting words in another man's mouth, but I got the very distinct sense Kobe was implying NBA referees occasionally deny him an earned shot at two freebies.

Maybe it's just me.

While fines for criticizing the officials have been commonplace in the league, to the best of my knowledge, Stu Jackson doesn't have the authority to penalize a player for a negative opinion towards the Hall of Fame voters. (At least not yet.) Thus, Kobe was able to speak his unfiltered mind on this particular topic without fear of scratching out a check.

Unfortunately, this site's "NSFW" standards prevent me from showing Kobe's initial reaction when asked about Tex Winter's seemingly never-ending quest to make the Hall of Fame. When the topic was broached, he immediately shot back with "It's the dumbest (bleep) I've ever heard."

From there, everything continued as documented in the clip below, chock full of appreciation for Winter, aka "Yoda," whose presence Kobe really misses.

Beyond these particular topics, most of the practice chatter centered around Thursday's opponents. The Lakers will be in Colorado to play the Nuggets, an elite team also scuffling as the playoffs approach. Injuries to Chris Andersen and especially Kenyon Martin have taken a toll, but the biggest issue is likely the mental challenge of playing while head coach George Karl undergoes treatment for cancer. Without question, it's a situation difficult to imagine putting in the back of ones mind while hitting the court.