Kobe Bryant is practicing with the Lakers again.
That is big. Last season he didn’t, something he and Phil Jackson decided on together — they were going to save his sore knee for game time and so he only practiced a handful of times all season. It showed. Not in Kobe’s game so much as team chemistry — Kobe was not there to push this team in practice and you saw that manifest itself come the playoffs.
Kobe is out there now, learning Mike Brown’s system and pushing the Lakers.
He credits the experimental version of platelet-rich plasma therapy he had done in Germany this summer with helping, Kobe told Marc Spears of Yahoo.
“I’m not a big medicine, techie guy. But I know my knee feels 90 percent better. My understanding was that the guy who invented it … [Germany] is where he’s from and where his home base is. So I didn’t want to go someplace else where he had to move his equipment. If I am going to do it, I want to do it right and do it in the place where he is most comfortable doing it.”
Q: What can you do physically with that knee that you couldn’t do at the end of last season?
Bryant: “Anything I want. I can run. I can jump. I can run the track. I can lift weights the way I want to lift weights. I can practice every day. Those are things I couldn’t do last year.”
If Kobe’s knee holds up all season, Dirk Nowitzki will not be the only NBA player making an annual summer trip to Germany. Kobe may have just been out in front of the parade of players.
Also in the same interview, Kobe denies that he wants to be traded from the Lakers. That rumor was always pure speculation (unless you see a total Lakers collapse) so it was kind of moot. But he denied it.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.