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Kobe Bryant talks Lakers' struggles with Stephen A. Smith, Part 4

December 12, 2012|By Eric Pincus

  In the fourth part of Kobe Bryant's conversation with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, the Lakers guard talked about Dwight Howard and leadership.

Bryant said he's looking for something out of Howard beyond hitting a higher percentage at the line.

"We had a game that we lost against Indiana where I had 40 points," Bryant said. "But I hurt the team because I had 10 turnovers. That's my responsibility. I don't care what anybody else does or what Dwight shot from the free throw line, I didn't do my job to the best of my ability, and I take that to heart."

At the time, Howard downplayed free throw shooting as the reason the team had lost certain games in which he had struggled.

"I want him, wanted him, to be the same way with his free throw shooting," Bryant continued.  "It's not, 'Oh we lost the game because of this play here or that play there.' Yeah, it may be true, but it's our responsibility as leaders of this team to take the burden of it."

Bryant hopes to rub off on Howard, to a degree.

"It's a feeling-out process for him. We talked about this when he got here. He wants to learn how to become that, learn how to be that," he said. "I said, 'Listen, it's not going to be easy.  Playing with me is not very easy. I'm very demanding.'"

Bryant also talked about his eventual retirement.

"It could be next year. It could be two more years. It could be three," he said. "I really don't know, but I know it's not much. The determination is still there. I could still be effective, but after 17 years, you literally feel like you hurt something every game.

ALSO:

Kobe Bryant talks Lakers' struggles with Stephen A. Smith, Part 1

Kobe Bryant talks Lakers' struggles with Stephen A. Smith, Part 2

Kobe Bryant talks Lakers' struggles with Stephen A. Smith, Part 3

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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