“I don’t need to defend that [ranking],” he quipped after the Los Angeles Lakers’ 105-97 exhibition loss to the Toronto Raptors Thursday. “Nobody does, really.”
But the media not surprisingly does care about such matters, so when a reporter asked him to expand upon his thoughts about the ranking, Bryant wouldn’t bite.
“Please don’t ask me about silly stuff like that,” he said.
Whatever the case, Bryant appears inclined to downplay the ranking much more than he did last season after he landed at No. 40 on the list.
“I’ve known for a long time [that] they’re a bunch of idiots,” Bryant said last October.
A few fans attending the game apparently made comments about the now-controversial 3rd ranking, with one reportedly shouting, “You ain’t no 93!” at the Lakers veteran superstar.
“Yeah, I heard a couple of them,” Bryant acknowledged.
Regardless of whether the ranking is fair or unfair, arbitrary or otherwise, Bryant at least publicly isn’t going to engage in discussions about it this season. Instead, he’s more interested in discussing his return to the court after not playing since January and appearing in only 41 games over the past two seasons.
In his third consecutive preseason appearance, Bryant played a little over 20 minutes, scoring 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
“It’s coming, it’s coming,” he said. “I’m still taste-testing some things, but I feel great.”