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Kobe Bryant thinks Lakers can still win a championship

September 28, 2013|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Lakers star Kobe Bryant leads a training session at the Gems American Academy in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday as part of a health and fitness seminar.
Lakers star Kobe Bryant leads a training session at the Gems American Academy… (Marwan Naamani / AFP/Getty…)

Kobe Bryant, ever the optimist, still thinks the Lakers can win a championship.

"It doesn't matter what anybody else is saying. That's the goal that we have," he said Saturday.

Bryant, though, wouldn't be healthy enough to take part in the Lakers' first practice of training camp, talking to reporters and eventually ducking back inside the underbelly of the team's El Segundo facility.

He is still recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon and has started running on a special "anti-gravity" treadmill that allows him to essentially decrease his weight with an air-pressure chamber that envelops his lower body and reduces his running impact.

His next step will be to run on the court, but that's more likely to be weeks away, not days, meaning he won't take part in many pre-season practices.

It's not like he needs it. But even Bryant admits he's not in game shape yet. The Lakers begin the season Oct. 29 against the Clippers.

"It won't take me long to do that," he said. "When I get back out there on the court, I'll be good to go. I don't think I've ever played a season where I was 100%. So, like, 78% is fine."

Will 78% be enough for the Lakers?

Pau Gasol and Steve Nash both planned to be training-camp participants after finishing last season injured (Nash) or on the way to surgery (Gasol).

By all accounts, Nash seems recovered from the broken bone in his leg, and the accompanying nerve damage. Gasol is further behind after sitting out most of the summer because of a procedure to decrease persistent tendon pain in his knees. He'll ease his way into training-camp practices.

Everybody wanted to know about Bryant, though, and he was willing to share.

His thoughts on Dwight Howard bolting: "I really don't giveā€¦. It is what is. If he came back, it would have been great."

His thoughts on who will pick up the defensive slack without Howard and Metta World Peace: "I think you've got to look at Nick Young. I think you've got to look at Wesley Johnson. It's on us to kind of train them up a little bit, teach them various things and tricks to try to get them to that point."

His thoughts on his recent jump from a high-dive platform that earned a "not great judgment" label from General Manager Mitch Kupchak: "I got out and I jumped again. It felt great."

Almost predictably, Bryant, 35 and entering the last year of his contract, was bullish on what he sees down the road.

"Another championship. That's easy," he said.


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