The kinder, gentler Kobe Bryant we’ve seen for most of this season took a night off Saturday. After losing their sixth consecutive game, the Black Mamba reportedly ripped into the team and more specifically their two young stars.
Bryant was not pleased with some players on the team smiling during another Lakers’ blowout loss, calling out rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell and second-year forward Julius Randle, the LA Daily News reported Saturday.
According to the report, Bryant spoke for about two minutes after Lakers coach Byron Scott addressed the team after the Lakers’ 121-103 loss to the Blazers.
"You know I don’t do the gossip [expletive]," said Bryant, who scored 10 points and added five turnovers in 25 minutes.
Maybe Kobe was a little testy after hearing boos for most of the game.
The Portland crowd mostly booed when Kobe was announced in the starting lineup and whenever he touched the ball. The Blazers even took a shot at him, opting to show a highlight reel of the team’s two previous victories over the Lakers instead of a video tribute to the Mamba in his final trip to Portland.
Bryant downplayed the reception.
"That’s what it’s been my entire career," Bryant said. "Why would I want it to be any different? Why would the fans want it to be any different? That’s the way it’s been. You want to go out. The big difference is at the end of the game with the chants and mutual respect. You can show it now because you know there’s no coming back. That’s the difference. The boos every time I touch it, I absolutely love it."