Kobe Bryant fueled by naysayers
And he's hoping his teammates will do the same.
Bryant, speaking this weekend during an appearance to promote his new Nike Kobe 9 Elite shoe at Westfield Culver City mall, told Power 106 radio in Los Angeles that he's looking forward to getting revenge on all those doubters next season.
"This year, we all know it's been a real tough year for us, right?" Bryant told Power 106, according to Lakersnation.com. "So what I'd like everybody to do is to really just sit back and just absorb this year. Take it all in. Sit back and watch and listen and hear all the hate that's being thrown at us and remember every person that's kicking you when you're down, because next year it ain't gonna be this way.
"Appreciate it now. Let it sit in now, because revenge is sweet and it's quick."
The Lakers, ravaged by injuries all season, were tied for last place in the Western Conference with a 21-39 record entering Tuesday night's home game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Bryant, meanwhile, hasn't been able to help. He missed the team's first 19 games while recovering from a torn Achilles in his left leg suffered last season, returned to play six games, then was sidelined Dec. 17 with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in the knee. He's expected to be re-evaluated in about two weeks after dealing with continued pain, swelling and soreness in the knee.
Bryant told Power 106 that proving those who had a lack of faith in the Lakers and his recovery wrong is what fuels the five-time NBA champion now.
"You've got to appreciate that and enjoy that and use that as fuel as motivation to basically just shut everybody the hell up," Bryant told the radio station, according to Lakersnation.com. "It's that challenge, that challenge that drives us all, I think, and definitely keeps me going."