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May 3, 2012 | By Mark Medina
As soon as he could, Kobe Bryant ditched the plastic mask. He couldn't right away. Bryant needed it to protect his broken nose and relieve pain after suffering a concussion during the 2012 NBA All-Star game. Even if he scored 342 points through 11 games while wearing the gear, Bryant sounded eager to ditch it after describing wearing the mask as "like a sauna on my face. " Bryant then joked he would donate it to "see if anybody is dumb enough to buy that sweaty mask. " Well, there's been 48 so-called "dumb" Bryant fans who have placed bids on eBay . The current bidding sits at $3,250 with five days remaining, and 100% of the proceeds will go toward the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation's efforts to reduce homelessness in Los Angeles.
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April 8, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
It could always be worse. The Lakers could have been pounded into a sad corner of team history with Dwight Howard in Houston's lineup. So they got hit with the next worst thing, losing to the Rockets without the injured Howard, 145-130, and clinching their most miserable win-loss record since moving to Los Angeles in 1960. With four games to go, the Lakers (25-53) already outdid the 1974-75 team that went 30-52. The Lakers keep seeking stability, a main reason team executives Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak recently sat down with Kobe Bryant for a clear-the-air meeting, The Times has learned.
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August 24, 2012 | By Mark Medina
A day has passed since Kobe Bryant turned 34, but that's hardly going to prevent friends and Lakers fans from showering him with gifts. Of course, the NBA's Larry O'Brien championship trophy remains the best present Bryant would ever want, even if he already has five of them. But no one can buy that. Not even Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss. They may have built a championship-contending roster by acquiring Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, but the Lakers still have to play together. So that puts the onus on Bryant's friends and fans to come up with different gift ideas, if they haven't already.
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April 2, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
SACRAMENTO -- Sad news for Lakers writers. There might be only seven games left to cover the eminently quotable, entirely likable Nick Young . But good news for Young: Lakers governor Jeanie Buss loves his personality, seeing a player who can connect with fans. It might not lead to more money when he becomes a free agent this summer, because Buss defers to her brother, Jim , and Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak to make the business decisions. But it can't hurt the player who calls himself "Swaggy P," the "P" still an unknown entity that Young is reluctant to reveal.
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March 1, 2012 | By Mark Medina
Game stories -- The Times' Mike Bresnahan calls Kobe Bryant the "masked marvel. " -- The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding highlights Bryant's 31-point effort in the Lakers ' 104-85 victory Wednesday over the Minnesota Timberwolves . -- The Daily News' Elliott Teaford marvels at Bryant's 31-point performance against Minnesota despite wearing a plastic mask. -- The Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda details how the Timberwolves struggled without Kevin Love.
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February 27, 2012 | By Mark Medina
  Game stories -- The Times' John Cherwa reports that Lakers guard Kobe Bryant suffered a nasal fracture during the 2012 NBA All-Star game and would be evaluated Monday in Los Angeles by an ear, nose and throat specialist. -- The New York Times' Howard Beck focuses on the Bryant passing Michael Jordan for the most points in NBA All-Star history. -- The Orange County Register's Janis Carr noted it was a rough night for Bryant and Andrew Bynum in the 2012 NBA All-Star game.
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October 17, 2012 | By Mark Medina
The competitive nature in Kobe Bryant forever lingers. But there's no reason for the Lakers star to fret about the team's 114-80 loss Wednesday to the Utah Jazz at Honda Center, let alone its 0-4 preseason record. Instead, Bryant has his mind on other things. Once a few media members trickled away from his locker room stall, Bryant quickly shifted focus to another result that bothered him. "The Yanks lost again, huh?," Bryant asked a reporter. They sure did. The Yankees' 2-1 loss Tuesday to the Detroit Tigers put them in a 0-3 deficit in the American League Championship Series.
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August 16, 2012 | By Mark Medina
Greeted by a forest of upraised arms, Kobe Bryant received a warm reception Thursday in China. Of course, Bryant gets this everywhere. When he enters and leaves a Lakers game at Staples Center. At the London Olympics. And, in the case documented in the photo above, at an event in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province as part of his yearly Nike tour. Bryant told The Times in February that he found that the Chinese were especially welcoming when he hosted a clinic in 1998. "I enjoyed being around that," Bryant said.
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April 19, 2012 | By Mark Medina
Even before Kobe Bryant went through a full pre-game workout Wednesday prior to the Lakers-Warriors game, Lakers development coach Phil Handy saw some signs earlier this week that suggested the Lakers' star would return to the court soon. Though Bryant had only shown he could walk pain-free while nursing a sore left shin, that didn't prevent him from working out earlier this week. Handy said he worked with Bryant for an hour on Monday followed by a 45-minute workout Tuesday, mostly centered on taking shots in the low post and on the block with minimal movement and jumping.
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September 28, 2012 | By Mark Medina
Kobe Bryant's smile widened. The Lakers star then placed his hand on his head and winced. His facial expressions suggested he was watching a home video of his childhood past. But as he appeared Friday on Ellen," Bryant actually saw Ellen DeGeneres' previous interview with Dwight Howard. There, the Lakers center recalled a conversation where he told Bryant he's making progress on his back rehab. "That's good," Howard said in Bryant's scowling voice. "I need you at 100%. Trying to win a ring.
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March 19, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
Let there be no doubt. Jeanie Buss is the Lakers' most powerful executive. "Ultimately the buck stops with me," she said in an interview with Time Warner Cable SportsNet. "I'm president and governor of the team and I have empowered the basketball operations, the front office, to put together a basketball team, working within the confines of the collective-bargaining agreement. " She indicated why the Lakers gave Kobe Bryant a two-year, $48.5-million contract extension last November before he returned from a torn Achilles' tendon.
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March 19, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
The Lakers lost a game to the San Antonio Spurs, but it wasn't an entirely bad day for them. Kobe Bryant didn't throttle anybody when given the chance. He even showed some sympathy toward Coach Mike D'Antoni several hours before the Lakers lost to the Spurs, 125-109, Wednesday at Staples Center. Bryant was noncommittal when asked whether D'Antoni should return next season - "I don't know," he said on the Dan Patrick Show - but he acknowledged all the losing wasn't necessarily D'Antoni's fault.
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March 17, 2014 | By Eric Pincus
For the Lakers in Week 20, what happened off the court was far more interesting than the road losses against the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. It wasn't surprising that the team fell to the top teams in the NBA on successive nights.  The Thunder beat the Lakers 131-102 and the Spurs had an easy night with a 119-85 victory. On Wednesday, the team announced that Kobe Bryant will be out for the rest of the season . Bryant had said he was frustrated by the slow progress of his knee injury, which has kept him out of action since mid-December.
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March 17, 2014 | By Eric Pincus
The Lakers played just two games during Week 20, a pair of losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. Off until Wednesday, the Lakers will host the Spurs, Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic. Given the Lakers' positioning for the 2014 NBA draft, a win over the Magic could be more damaging than three straight losses. Through 66 games, the Lakers have just 22 wins, three behind cumulative expectations at 22-44. Wednesday vs. San Antonio Spurs The Spurs (50-16)
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March 14, 2014 | Mike Bresnahan
The triangle offense is back in Los Angeles, but not in a way that would make Phil Jackson smile. There are three distinct entities on these triangle points -- Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni -- and they have some differences to sort out. The rapidly expanding gap behind the scenes overshadowed the Lakers' 131-102 loss Thursday to the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Bryant doesn't like D'Antoni's spread-the-floor scheme, according to a person familiar with his thinking, and wants a more traditional offense such as the triangle or a post-up system.
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March 13, 2014 | By Eric Pincus
Kobe Bryant is done for the season, but he's already eyeballing next year with high expectations. "It's my job to go out there on the court and perform. No excuses for it. You have to get it done," Bryant said in a news conference on Wednesday, after being declared out for the season. "Same thing with the front office. The same expectations they have of me when I perform on the court, the same expectations I have for them up there. " The Lakers will have financial flexibility, a high pick in the 2014 NBA draft, and designs on future free agents like Kevin Love in 2015 and Kevin Durant in 2016.
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October 12, 2012 | By Mark Medina
Kobe Bryant always believed any passes he made to Smush Parker would go unfulfilled. But after Bryant dished at length this week about how Parker didn't belong in the NBA, his former teammate fired some shots back. “You can't knock the man's legacy, you can't knock what he's done in basketball," Parker told Hard 2 Guard Radio , as transcribed by Larry Brown Sports . "His work ethic is tremendous. There's not an ounce of hate in my blood whatsoever. The guy can play basketball -- you've seen that throughout his career.
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April 21, 2012 | By Mark Medina
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.
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March 13, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
OKLAHOMA CITY - Pau Gasol heard about Kobe Bryant's front-office rant. He understood it. "I respect a guy that speaks his mind and I respect a guy that wants to win," Gasol told The Times on Friday. "And that's what Kobe's trying to do, to make sure everybody's doing the best they can for him to be in a position to be able to win. " A day earlier, Bryant challenged Lakers upper management to bury any differences, singling out team executives and siblings Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss.
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March 12, 2014 | By Eric Pincus
In late January, Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson declared a cease-fire on the Lakers, deciding to halt his public criticism of the team. Johnson has been critical of owner/executive Jim Buss, and the decision to hire Mike D'Antoni to coach the team over Phil Jackson. On Wednesday, Johnson couldn't hold his tongue. I love Jim & Jeanie Buss, but we need Phil Jackson to be the face of our great organization, the Los Angeles Lakers. - Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson)
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