Kobe Bryant is all smiles during the Lakers' media day. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
Everyone was looking for comparisons.
This was, after all, Media Day at Lakers’ HQ in El Segundo.
The Heat, 2.0?
“I don’t think so. It’s different,” said Kobe Bryant, who was hemmed in by a sweaty media swarm on Monday as the talked about the pairing a couple years ago of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. “The Heat had two players that were really similar. Different in size but similar in style than what they do and how they handle the ball.
“With us, it’s a little different. Steve (Nash) is the primary facilitator, ball handler. I can go back to … scoring the ball and attacking the rim. We all know what Dwight (Howard) does. We all know what Pau (Gasol) does.
“So we all do something different.”
Someone else ventured back a bit more into hoop history, flipping to a certain Lakers team in 2003-04. Karl Malone/Gary Payton, the sequel?
Again … not really.
“We got those guys pretty much at the end of their careers,” Bryant said. “If you look at Gary’s game and my game, we were kind of similar in how we played and how we liked to post up and where we like to catch the ball and operate.
“And Karl liked his area on the mid-post as did Shaq. There was a lot of similarities between that group. Although it fit pretty well, we didn’t finish the year out the way we wanted to." (The Lakers lost in the 2004 Finals to Detroit.)
"But with this group it’s different in the sense we all truly do something different,” Bryant said.
If you sense a theme developing, you would be correct. Bryant kept using the word "different." This latest version of the Lakers has the potential to reset the standard and resist old comparisons.
There is the short-term goal, as in this specific season, and Bryant offered a longer-range view when he was asked about Howard.
It is Bryant’s team now…
“But I want to make sure with Dwight, when I retire this is going to be yours,” Bryant said. “I want to teach him everything I possibly know so when I step away this organization from right on it’s (like) I never left.
“I mean, listen, this organization has done so much for me. I’m so thankful. That’s one of the things, the conversations that Jimmy (Buss) and I had over the summer. We have an opportunity to get it right here.”
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