Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Kobe Named MVP: News Conference Highlights

I attended the NBA news conference Tuesday to announce that Kobe Bryant had won this year's MVP award. Here are some of the items that stood out to me.

*The entire team showed up in support, except Andrew Bynum who had flown to New Jersey to get another check up on his injured knee.

*The only coach I noticed missing from the festivities was Kurt Rambis.

* The Buss family was very well represented with Jerry, Jim and Jeannie.

*Three Basketball Hall of Famers were in the house: Phil Jackson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West

*Corey Maggette of the Clippers also attended the news conference. In addition to he and Kobe sharing the same agent (Rob Pelinka), Corey is also one of Kobe's closest friends in the league.

*Besides the MVP trophy named in honor of the late Maurice Podoloff, the first commissioner of the NBA, Kobe also received a brand new 2009 Kia Borrego for winning the award. Don't expect Kobe to be cruising through the OC in a Kia, however. He promptly donated it to a local chapter of the Boys And Girls Club.

*One of the first things JA Adande and I noticed was that Kobe seemed genuinely nervous when the news conference started. Something he later admitted himself. Both of which were equally shocking. I can only think of one time where Kobe actually looked nervous, but for him to admit something like that is even more impressive.

*Kobe praised his current teammates throughout the news conference. He even referred to the honor as a team award. At one point, he said his teammates make him look better than he actually is. What a difference a year makes! Last summer, Kobe laughed at the notion that Andrew Bynum would turn into a proven starter, criticized team ownership and management for not surrounding him with a better supporting cast, and threatened not to play for the Lakers ever again. If Kobe was truly sincere (he definitely seemed to be) in complimenting his teammates, it shows a tremendous amount of growth as both a teammate and a person.

*Kobe was asked about the turnaround from the beginning of the season until today's news conference. He called it an "emotional roller coaster." He admitted that if given the chance to do it all over again, he would have handled things differently. And he even gave GM Mitch Kupchak credit for pulling off the moves that enabled the Lakers to post the best record in the Western Conference.

*There were a few particularly funny moments during the news conference as well. 1) Luke Walton using one of the media microphones to ask Kobe, "Since you couldn't do this without your teammates, do you plan to hook them up with some special gifts?" 2) Tex Winter, who also made use of a media microphone, introducing himself as Lakers assistant coach, consultant and "insultant" before asking, "So Kobe, how do you like the triangle?" To which Kobe replied, "I love it, Tex!"

*In case you were wondering, Kobe becomes just the fourth LA Laker to ever win an MVP. Kareem, Magic and Shaq were the others.

1 comment:

NUBIA said...

Kobe has a way with words everytime he is interview; but this conference seemed so much more inviting cuz it was humble and genuine Kobe; who was so glad to finally receive his well earned and past due trophy. But more than that it was playful conference. I LOVED IT; it felt as if it in a neighbors backyard where it was all happening. HE EARNED IT....L.A LOVES YOU KOBE!!!