Tuesday's talk at practice --beyond simply the 104-99 game 1 win over the Jazz, updates on Andrew Bynum's health and Ron v. D.Will-- was Kobe Bryant's striking photo shoot in the Los Angeles Times Magazine.
And by "striking," I mean kinda... well... odd.
I was a theater major in college, and briefly a three-dimensional art minor to boot. I am a music and film geek. My formal training is heavier in creative writing than journalism. I spent years studying improv comedy. Thus, I consider myself a person with a strong artistic bent. My openness towards things considered "out there" is fairly high. Still, this layout felt more like a weirdly photoshopped catalogue of Diddy party garb. Kobe might as well have been drinking a Ciroc martini in the pics. Never let it be said Bryant's not daring (and left to his own stylistic devices, he's arguably the league's best dresser), but this didn't quite work.
Even Kobe didn't seem wild about the finished product, despite enjoying the shoot itself. He deemed the overall look too "Babyface" (who I assume gets an invite to the Diddy parties) and "artsy" for his personal cup of tea, but also didn't seem to care one way or the other.
(For the stylist's take, check out his interview with Lakers Blog's Mark Medina.)
But far be it for me or Kobe to tell you what to think. Instead, let his teammates tell you what to think.
As Kobe's oldest friend on the Lakers, Derek Fisher enjoys a candidness with the superstar matched by no other teammate (save perhaps Josh Powell). It's a beautiful thing, a relationship steeped in so much honesty. And because of this relationship, Fish felt no obligation to hold back on the snark. After verifying these were in fact "real pictures," Fisher gave them another look, then deadpanned a query:
"And what is the purpose (of these photos)?"
Pau Gasol reacted to the layout similar to how he lobbies for more inside touches. Very diplomatic. Very polite. And all the while, you know exactly what he's thinking. "Different" was Gasol's initial take. Asked to expand on those thoughts, Pau complied. Barely.
"It's a different photo shoot. If he decided to to it, he probably thinks it was a good fit for him. A good look. I'm not gonna say a whole lot about it."
At the risk of putting words in El Spaniard's mouth, I'm gonna say he wasn't a fan.
"It's different. It's hot. I like it."
These were the words of Lamar Odom, easily the most enthusiastic of any teammate polled. On one hand, the man runs a clothing line, so maybe he knows what's up. On the other, LO's taste can run all over the map, including parts off the beaten path.
I did, however, love Lamar's reaction when us media types were harping on the clothes.
"All it is a white shirt, a hat and a bow tie."
Point-counterpoint, Lamar Odom.
As for Ron Artest, he always seemed to worship Kobe Bryant as an opponent, and judging by his reaction below, worships him just as much as a teammate: