Los Angeles Lakers: Drogba

NOTE: Our colleague Dave McMenamin is with the Lakers in Europe. Here's his latest update:

LONDON -- Ever since Kobe Bryant was a little kid growing up in Italy, he dreamed of doing what he and a handful of his Lakers teammates did Sunday.

“I used to go to Serie A games all the time and I wanted to go watch a Premier League game and my mother never let me go,” Bryant said. “At the time I wanted to watch Liverpool and teams like that and she was like, ‘No.’ So now, to finally have the opportunity, 20-something years later, to go watch a Premier match is exciting.”

Bryant and his teammates sat in the Millennium Suites at Stamford Bridge stadium to see Chelsea beat their longtime London rival Arsenal, 2-0, thanks to goals by Didier Drogba and Alex for the Blues.

It was arranged for the Lakers to meet up with the Chelsea players after the game. It is unknown whether Bryant boasted to Drogba about beating his close friend, Kevin Garnett, in the NBA Finals.

Bryant shared the story in July at his basketball academy in Santa Barbara of how he used to go to a playground in Italy to play basketball but often times there were goals set up on the outdoor court and so he would play soccer until all the children got tired, then moved the goals away and played hoops.

“It’s fun to play,” Bryant said. “It’s like basketball in many ways. It’s just a team sport with constant movement and we get a chance to see two of the best [in Chelsea and Arsenal].

“You learn [about basketball by watching soccer] -- ball movement, spacing, things like that -- but ultimately, it’s just for the fun of it.”

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
25.2 4.8 1.4 35.4
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.6
AssistsK. Bryant 4.8
StealsK. Bryant 1.4
BlocksE. Davis 1.2