"Thoughts of self doubt...Am I done? Is this how my career will end?? I REFUSE to give in to these thoughts. #strongwill #countonchallenges," Bryant tweeted after the game.
Wait, Kobe Bryant tweeted that?
For a guy who joined Twitter earlier in the day with a simple, "The antisocial has become social #mambatweets" tweet, this was a pretty big leap into a new social medium.
But a day later, Bryant said to expect that kind of honesty to continue.
"I think it's important on platforms to have a level of transparency," Bryant said of his foray into social media this year. "If you're going to do it, I think that makes it more interesting, instead of being on there and talking about trivial things or giving generic, standard answers. I think that's boring and not real. If you're going to do it, you may as well be real and be honest. It is what it is."
So Kobe Bryant really was doubting himself after the game?
"You've heard me say it before," he said. "I think it just gets drowned out in how I respond to it. I say self-doubt and then you see 81 and then you forget I say self-doubt."
Bryant said he wanted to open up a little in part to show some vulnerability to his teammates, letting them know it was OK to feel that way so long as you respond to it well.
"I think it's good for them, especially for them to know I have those moments, as well," Bryant said. "I'm sure they've had them. I don't know how they respond to them. Maybe in certain instances, maybe they let the self-doubt get the best of them. I refuse to let that happen. I think it's good for us."
So what other times has Bryant doubted himself?
"That's not the first time I had self-doubt," he said. "You start back to my rookie year as far as whether or not I was going to make it in this league. But the way I go about dealing with it is not capitulating into those doubts. I face them, embrace and take it as a personal challenge. With social platforms, it's a good way to voice that and hopefully inspire others to do the same."
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni isn't into social media. He doesn't follow Bryant on Twitter. But he'd have a hard time understanding where the self-doubt was coming from after Friday's game.
"I thought last night Kobe's performance, and I've coached awhile and played awhile, was one of the best I've ever seen," D'Antoni said of Bryant, who scored 38 points on 15-for-25 shooting and defended Clippers point guard Chris Paul much of the night.
"In the sense of both sides, what he did for 43 minutes -- and Chris Paul played great and he is great -- but I thought Kobe did an unbelievable job on him, getting through pick-and-rolls,” he said. “And then what he did offensively. I'm sitting there going, 'Wow, this is good.'"
D'Antoni is worried, though, about asking too much of Bryant early in the season.
"I'm already wearing him out," D'Antoni said. "But we've got to get out of this rut. And I hope not to kill him and rely so much on him to do so many things. But right now, if we're trying to get a quick win, that's the best way to go."