Kobe Bryant of the US looks on during an

Smack talking Kobe called Lakers getting Dwight Howard


Kobe Bryant has said that he thought it was his job, as the veteran voice of Team USA heading into London, to loosen up the guys and get them to relax around each other.

To Kobe, that means talking smack. To everyone. Get their juices flowing.

What did he say? Well, you can be sure we couldn’t reprint most of it on a family-friendly website such as this.

But we learned a few things from Kevin Durant in his interview with Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

“Kobe called that a month before it happened,” Durant told Yahoo! Sports while promoting his new movie “Thunderstruck.”

“I didn’t believe him. He was just like, ‘We are going to have Dwight. We are going to have Steve Nash.’ He just talks a lot of trash, jokes and laughs. But he said it. I don’t think anyone paid attention to it but me and him. He said it and it happened. And they got better, a lot better.

“Dwight’s name was being thrown on every team. Houston, Brooklyn, the Lakers. But I guess he called it right.”

That is just so Kobe.

He was going to do the talking, even if they were not going to get Howard. But they did. And so now Kobe can run some “I told you so” smack.

And you can be certain he will. Plenty of it.

Kobe Bryant says his age 37 is not like Michael Jordan’s age 37

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Once again, Kobe Bryant‘s career arc is being compared to Michael Jordan’s.

There’s a lot of reason’s that’s flawed — starting with Kobe being drafted on to a Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal and was already considered NBA elite, as opposed to Jordan working to build a franchise up. That said, Kobe has invited the Jordan comparison at times and it has been a constant through is career. Fair or not.

Kobe is coming back this fall after seasons of injury to the NBA and those comparisons continue — now to the Wizards’ version of Jordan. And Kobe is not at all fond of that, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”

Kobe is right. Jordan had four+ seasons off by the time he was 37 and was not coming off multiple major surgeries.

Kobe is entering his 20th NBA season and what any real basketball fan should wish for him is health. Let him play one full season (with limited minutes and nights off), let him get to the final game of this season next April and make his own decision on his future. Let him leave the game on his own terms.

That said, if Kobe can average Jordan’s numbers at that age — 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game — it will be a major accomplishment, and the Lakers will have a better record than many of us expect.

And Kobe may want to play a 21st season as well.

Celtics ease to 124-91 win at Olimpia Milano in Global Games

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MILAN (AP) — The Boston Celtics eased to a 124-91 victory over Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday, comfortably winning the first of a double-header in Europe as part of the NBA Global Games.

Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Celtics with 18 points, including nine in his first seven minutes after coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.

Jared Sullinger added 14 points, as did Avery Bradley, who also had four three-pointers, while David Lee weighed in with 13 as well as seven rebounds and three assists.

Alessandro Gentile – who is reportedly wanted by the Houston Rockets, who hold NBA rights to the 22-year-old – top scored for Milano, with 19 points.

Next up for the Celtics is Real Madrid in Spain on Thursday.