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Saturday, August 14, 2010
Kobe Bryant feeling good after surgery

By Adriano Torres
Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com

NEW YORK -- Nearly four weeks after undergoing successful arthroscopic knee surgery, Kobe Bryant was moving well Saturday morning at a Nike basketball clinic at Rucker Park in Harlem to celebrate the World Basketball Festival.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant instructs a youngster at Rucker Park during an appearance there Saturday.

Later Saturday, Bryant made a guest appearance at Niketown and watched a private scrimmage between Team USA and the Chinese national team at Madison Square Garden.

The reigning NBA Finals MVP, whose surgery was reported by the Lakers on July 23, led youngsters through different drills at Rucker Park and at one point stopped a layup line to demonstrate proper technique.

As a few dozen photographers snapped pictures, Bryant conducted a Q&A with Nike spokesman KeJuan Wilkins.

"In a sense I'm getting ready now," the Lakers' All-Star guard said. "I'm doing rehab constantly for my knee, making sure the leg is getting stronger. As soon as the leg gets strong enough to go, that's when I turn it up."

Bryant said Spain, a team that has counted on fellow Lakers teammate Pau Gasol in the past, "is that one" team that could really challenge the Americans in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey. The tournament begins Aug. 28.

After winning a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Bryant will sit out the coming event after his third surgery on his right knee. The first surgery was during the summer of 2003 and the second one came in 2006, causing Bryant to miss the 2006 World Championship in Japan.

"I wish them luck," he said of the U.S. team. "I think the formula is still the same. It's always defense and rebounding. No matter where you go, defense and rebounding wins. I don't care if you're playing aliens from Mars. If you're defending and rebounding, you win."

He labeled the Lakers' most recent NBA championship over the Boston Celtics in seven games as the most difficult. Bryant was plagued for much of the season by an injured right index finger and developed arthritis in the knuckles.

"It's more special because it was the hardest one to get," he said. "The Celtics are a great, great team. They gave us a challenge. I think that's what makes it so enjoyable."

Adriano Torres is a freelance reporter for ESPNDeportes.com.