The carrot remains dangling there for Kobe Bryant to grab.
With two regular-season games left, the Lakers star has a legitimate shot to grab the NBA's scoring title. He leads the league with an average of 27.89 points, while Thunder forward Kevin Durant strails with 27.79 points. A significant performance for Bryant in the Lakers' game Sunday against the Thunder would widen the gap and lead to ongoing commentary on how he's beating Father Time in his 16th NBA season.
But he maintains that hardly sounds enticing.
"Not very important," Bryant said as he stared down at the ground in response to what it would mean at this stage of his distinguished career.
Not very important?
Bryant reeled off four consecutive games this season where he scored at least 40 points while nursing a torn ligament in his right wrist. Bryant went on a five-game stretch this season where he dropped at least 30 points despite wearing a plastic mask to protect his nose, which sustained a fracture during the All-Star game. He spent plenty of time after Saturday's practice working on his shooting and post moves with Lakers player development coach Phil Handy. Bryant's relentlessly climbed up to fifth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list (29,458).