Los Angeles Teams

Baxter Holmes ESPN Staff Writer 

Many players tell Kobe Bryant that they grew up watching him. Does the 37-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star remember which player told him that first? "That's been going on for like five years now," Bryant said with a laugh Monday after his team's 89-87 loss to the Indiana Pacers. "Now, Derek [Richardson], the official from tonight, he and I were kind of joking around, talking about how long we've been in the league. And then at the captain's meeting, I can't remember which player came up to the captain's meeting. I just remember what year he was born, because I asked him. I said, What year were you born?' He said '92. I just looked at Derek. I said, You see what I'm talking about? '92? He was four or five years old my first year in the league. It's not that they even grew up watching me. It's like they didn't even understand basketball when I was on TV playing. So I'm at that point. They grew up watching LeBron [James]. I'm, like, three generations removed."

Baxter Holmes ESPN Staff Writer 

Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel was glad to seal a 89-87 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday. "I'm not unhappy that's the last time I face Kobe [Bryant]," Vogel said. In his final game against the Pacers, Bryant scored 19 points on 6-of-25 shooting, but he hit four straight fourth quarter shots -- including three consecutive 3-pointers -- that gave the Lakers a late lead.

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Baxter Holmes ESPN Staff Writer 

Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant signed his game-worn sneakers and gave them to Indiana Pacers star Paul George after the two faced off Monday night. The notoriously icy Bryant was asked if he was aware that he had so many admirers in the NBA, as many players are waiting for him after games to chat and/or sign memorabilia. "Honestly, we've always had a great relationship throughout my career," Bryant said. "I think it's been one of the best-kept secrets. I always tell them, 'I'm a nice guy, [but] don't tell anybody or you'll ruin my image.' But I've always had a great relationship with the guys. I think now it's just a little different because this is the last go-around. So it's like  things that they want signed or jerseys or shoes or things of that sort. They're just a little bit more open because this is the last time we'll be around each other."

Baxter Holmes ESPN Staff Writer 

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant said he and Indiana Pacers star Paul George, a Southern California native who has long admired Bryant, remain very close. And Bryant explained some of the advice that he has offered George, too. "The answer seems very simple, which is just complete and utter focus on what it is that you're here to do, which is to play the game of basketball," Bryant said Monday. "From that simplicity, it becomes extremely more complex, because you're dealing with multiple personalities. You're dealing with players and their own individual aspirations. You have to figure out a way to get everybody on the same page going one direction. What I figured out is, it's not just about the skills you possess. It's also about how you integrate everybody else's skills and emotions into it, which is the challenge. So it's not just him as a player and his skills. It's also understanding those dynamics that help you win multiple championships."

Baxter Holmes ESPN Staff Writer 

Does Kobe Bryant ever regret playing through so many injuries? "Oh, no. What could be better? I'm a guard that's playing in his 20th season," the Los Angeles Lakers icon said Monday. "That's crazy. What am I going to play 30 seasons if I didn't play [through injuries]? That's a long time, let alone to have certain nights where I move pretty damn well with the style of play that I played with. What more can I ask for? Twenty [years] is a long time."

Baxter Holmes ESPN Staff Writer 

Kobe Bryant was asked if younger NBA players today are as competitive as their predecessors. "It's different. I don't think guys are as openly competitive as maybe they used to be," the Los Angeles Lakers star said. "It's hard to try to instill that into somebody and tell them to be competitive or have that sense or urgency or how much each possession means. It's hard to instill that in somebody. But that being said, they'll learn the hard way, because inevitably there will be a player that's extremely competitive, has a lot of skills and is going to keep beating everybody until they figure out how to be competitive. They'll learn one way or another."

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Lakers coach Byron Scott on Kobe Bryant's shooting after Bryant went 6-of-25 from the field in 89-87 loss to Indiana: "Sometimes you live and die with it, and I'm willing to do that with him."

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