Bill Plaschke: Question lingers about Kobe's Game 7 in 2006 series vs. the Suns
So what about the idea that he was making a statement? And that maybe that statement worked? Because of that loss, and the following year's first-round loss to Phoenix, the Lakers eventually rid themselves of Parker and Brown, and acquired Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol.
"Hell, no," he said, shaking his head in amazement. "That's not my thought process. I don't think like that. I think about one thing and one thing only, and that's kicking butt."
Bryant shook his head in apparent amazement.
"If I'm going to send a message to the front office, I'm going to do it by going up there and raising hell," he said. "There is no way I'm going to be doing it on the court, losing a game. That's not who I am."
There have been other times when I thought that's exactly who Bryant was, most notably in April of 2004, when he took one shot in the first half of a game in Sacramento after Coach Phil Jackson had criticized his ball hogging. Since then, he has been known to occasionally and briefly pout, even as recently as Game 4 of the first-round series against Oklahoma City, when he didn't take a shot for the first 15 minutes.
But knowing what we know now about his unnatural drive and his unreal competitiveness, it does seem silly to think he would purposely lose a Game 7, doesn't it?
"That's just not my nature, you just have to know me," said Bryant.
We're trying, we're trying.
(c) 2010, Los Angeles Times. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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