|Kobe Bryant surprises everyone and played with the Nike-sponsored basketball team and the Smart Gilas Pilipinas during an exhibition game at the Araneta Coliseum. Photo by Rem Zamora for abs-cbnNEWS.com
MANILA, Philippines – Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant said he just does what he prefers to do even with the National Basketball Association (NBA) lockout: play ball.
“I just do what I do, it doesn’t change for me. I stay in shape. When the lockout’s over, I’m ready. Same ol’ same ol’,” the visiting Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard said in a press conference in Manila.
The NBA locked out its players early this month after negotiations between the league and the players’ union over the new salary cap system collapsed.
“I’m not sure how this is gonna turn out,” said Bryant. “We just have to address it and see what happens.”
Meanwhile, he said that it is the NBA players’ duty to stay in shape while waiting for the lockout to end.
“We have the responsibility to stay in shape and train,” said Bryant, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist and 2007-2008 NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Bryant, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to 5 NBA titles, is in Manila for the first stop of his 5-city Nike “Take Every Advantage” Asia tour.
Practice, practice, practice
Aside from being an NBA MVP, Bryant is a 13-time NBA All-Star, a 2-time NBA Finals MVP, a 9-time member of the NBA first team selection and a 9-time member of the NBA all-defensive first team selection.
He is also 5th on the NBA all-time scoring list for the regular season.
Bryant said there is no short cut to becoming an exceptional basketball player.
“There’s no magic formula to it, you just gotta continue to practice, practice, practice,” he said.
He said he’s just a normal guy and that he only became a good basketball player because of determination and consistency.
“It all comes from the same thing, which is loving the game. We all love to play. I did the same drills we did now when we were kids,” said Bryant.
“What you need to take advantage of is the ability to play the game. It’s just as simple as that.”