Here we have an excellent slow motion shot of Kobe Bryant hitting a baseline jumper over Lakers rookie Jordan Clarkson at Thursday’s practice, expertly captured by Shahan Ahmed of NBC Los Angeles.
The made shot is unremarkable, in that Kobe has looked great since training camp began, and has made plenty of these during the portion of the team scrimmages that have been open to the media. What makes it interesting is Bryant’s trash talk to the rookie that came as soon as his jumper splashed home.
“Don’t hurt yourself,” Bryant said, as Clarkson struggled to stay upright while defending the veteran who is now entering his 19th season.
Bryant discussed his motivation for doing so after practice was finished, essentially saying that it helps motivate guys who are tired, and makes them continue to compete to avoid embarrassment in front of their teammates.
That may work to a certain extent, but Bryant is likely being a bit more selfish. After missing all but six games last season and finally feeling healthy again, what’s more plausible is that the talk comes from his love to compete. And what’s clear in these early days of training camp is that he simply can’t contain his excitement.