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Kobe Bryant thanks Hornets for trading him to Lakers

Prior to putting on the purple & gold of the Los Angeles Lakers, and winning five NBA championships and an MVP Award, Kobe Bryant was a member of the Charlotte Hornets, briefly.

After being selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 Draft by the Hornets, Bryant was famously traded to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. And the rest is history.

18 years later, Bryant took the opportunity to thank the Hornets for the trade that sent to him L.A. by posting the above collage on his Instagram account with the following caption:

“On this day 18yrs ago the hornets told me right after they drafted me that they had no use for me and were going to trade me. #thanku #Believe #usmnt #lakers #jwest #drbuss #letsGo #USA”

The Mamba never forgets.

Sydney Leroux partners with Kobe Bryant’s drink company

Sydney-Leroux

One of our favorite soccer players in the world is officially partners with Kobe Bryant and his sports drink. Bryant, who owns more than a 10% stake in BodyArmor Super Drink, announced on Thursday that Sydney Leroux is the first female athlete the beverage company has signed.

“Proud to announce @drinkbodyarmor has signed our first female athlete @sydneyleroux,” Kobe wrote on Instagram. “She’s taking over the @drinkbodyarmor Twitter handle and live tweeting during #usaVgermany match #upgradetheroster #upgradetheathlete #upgradeyoursportsdrink #ladymamba.”

Lady mamba? That’s some serious praise from the five-time NBA champion. In addition to being a soccer player, Leroux has also tried her hand at boxing and even toyed with golf. She also happens to absolutely dominate a bikini. Her endorsement of BodyArmor has won me over.

Kobe Bryant uses LeBron’s cramps to plug his Body Armor sports drink

Kobe Bryant Body Armor drink

Kobe Bryant wasn’t about to sit back and watch the LeBron James “cramp game” take place without getting a piece of the action. He — or most likely his marketing reps — seized the opportunity to plug Kobe’s sports drink — Body Armor.

As you can see above, Kobe’s Instagram account shared a photo of the Body Armor sports drink along with this commentary:

“Pro and college players should be allowed to CHOOSE what sports drink hydrates them the best and not be FORCED to drink LEAGUE SPONSORS. #AthletesChoice 2 much on the line for cramping #UpgradeYourSportsDrink @drinkbodyarmor #AthletesFirst”

Gatorade, which is the official league sponsor of the NBA, went hard after LeBron for cramping during Game 1 of the NBA Finals. In the ultimate irony, we learned that LeBron was actually drinking Gatorade to hydrate during the game because the league only gives players two options on the bench — water or Gatorade.

Now that Gatorade can’t talk trash, that leaves us with Kobe’s sports drink as an alternative. We doubt the outcome would have been any different with his drink.

Byron Scott: I’m the perfect guy for Lakers job; Kobe Bryant has to change his game

Byron-ScottByron Scott believes he is the right man to coach the Los Angeles Lakers. The former Cleveland Cavaliers coach said as much during an interview with ESPN LA 710 this week, claiming he would be a “great fit” with the Lakers partly because of his relationship with Kobe Bryant.

“I am the perfect guy for this job,” Scott said, as transcribed by Pro Basketball Talk. “I’ve got a great relationship with Kobe. I know the team, know the roster, watched them all season long. And I just think it would be a great fit.”

The Lakers are coming off one of their worst seasons in team history. They won just 27 games under Mike D’Antoni, who was a lame duck for most of the year. Scott found no success in three years with the Cavs and was fired during the 2012-2013 season. His coaching resume is not impressive, so an endorsement from Kobe might be his best bet.

How comfortable does Scott feel with Kobe? Comfortable enough to talk about how Bryant will have to change his game going forward.

“Obviously, if I get the job, the first conversation with Kobe,” Scott said. “We have to talk about the future of the Los Angles Lakers. We have to also talk about the type of direction we’re going to be taking and also talk about the type of game that he’s going to be playing, because he’s going to have to change his game a little bit, and I think he knows that.

“We’ve got to sit down and talk about the minutes and things like that. We’ve just got to come to an agreement. But he knows me. I’m an old-school type guy, old-school type guy. … But I think the biggest thing is, No. 1, I respect the hell out of Kobe, and I think he respects me. That’s the first hurdle you’ve got to get past, and then other things, we’ll solve all those little issues.”

Kobe has dealt with some issues of mortality over the past year or so. He battled back from an Achilles injury only to suffer another serious injury and appear in just six games this past season. There’s no way he’ll ever be the player he once was, and Scott understands that. Getting Kobe to understand that could be more of a challenge. Whether or not Scott is the man to handle that challenge is for the Lakers to decide.

Kobe Bryant reportedly on vacation in France before Lakers’ season ends

Kobe BryantThe Los Angeles Lakers are wrapping up a disastrous season on Wednesday night in San Antonio, and Kobe Bryant did not want to be around to witness it.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Bryant took off with his family for a vacation in France either Tuesday or Wednesday.

By contrast, Pau Gasol made the trip to San Antonio with the team even though he’s not playing because of his vertigo. Both players are considered team leaders.

Additionally, The Times says Bryant was heard muttering his unhappiness about being associated with such a bad season during the team photo.

Perhaps word of Kobe’s European excursion becoming news made it back to No. 24, because Bryant sent out this tweet expressing his attitude about dealing with the bad season:

He’s right — that’s about all you can do. And, of course, the Lakers will hope to get a good draft pick and turn it into a winner.

But it’s hard not to view Kobe as a frontrunner after reading this.

Chest bump to Pro Basketball Talk

Mitch Kupchak: Lakers won’t consult Kobe Bryant on coaching decision

Kobe BryantOn Tuesday, we shared with you a somewhat surprising report indicating that the Los Angeles Lakers are leaning toward keeping Mike D’Antoni at the end of the season. Less than a day later, a conflicting report from ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Dave McMenamin claimed that the exact opposite is true and that D’Antoni is likely to be fired.

Toss in the John Calipari rumors and it is obvious no one outside of the organization really knows what the Lakers’ intentions are. What we do know is that general manager Mitch Kupchack insists Kobe Bryant has nothing to do with the coaching decision.

“We will not consult with him,” Kupchak told Sam Amick of USA Today Sports on Wednesday. “No, we won’t consult with him.”

The most recent news we have heard about the relationship between Bryant and D’Antoni came last month, when it was reported that Kobe has “no interest” in playing for D’Antoni next year and is hoping a new head coach will be in place by the start of the 2014-2015 season.

“We won’t consult with him,” Kupchak said emphatically. “Our decisions going forward — we’re not going to do knee-jerk stuff. We’ll let the season end, and take some time. We’ve got a lot of injuries and surgeries to sort through. That’s a lot to accomplish. We have the draft coming up.”

The Lakers are 25-53 this season, but most would argue that D’Antoni has not been given a fair shot due to injuries to Bryant, Steve Nash and others. Jim Buss chose to hire D’Antoni over bringing back Phil Jackson, so you would think he wants to give the decision a chance to work out.

Given the rough state the Lakers are in, Kupchak also admitted that competing for a championship next season is something that may not happen. Amick followed that up by asking how Kobe will feel about that.

“He’ll be fine. He’s got no choice,” he said. “He’ll be fine. When we lose, he’ll rant and rave and be upset and be hot and won’t talk to anybody, but that’s the way it is. You’ve got to take the good with the bad.”

The $48 million extension the Lakers signed Kobe to this past season is looking worse by the day. It’s tough to imagine him staying healthy after suffering two serious injuries in the last year, and the team has now committed big bucks to a franchise icon who may grow more and more unhappy by the day. If Kobe truly is not involved in selecting the next head coach, he won’t be pleased.

Kobe Bryant on Shaq: ‘It used to drive me crazy that he was so lazy’

Robert-Horry-Phil-Jackson-Started-Shaq-Kobe-FeudShaquille O’Neal relied more on natural talent than hard work throughout his Hall of Fame NBA career. When you’re 7-foot-1 and 325 pounds, the game tends to come to you. Kobe Bryant, on the other hand, is a perfectionist. It’s no secret that the difference in work ethic between Shaq and Kobe contributed to the demise of their relationship.

During a recent interview with Ben McGrath of the New Yorker, Bryant reiterated that he did not approve of the level of effort — or lack thereof — that Shaq put forth on a daily basis.

“It used to drive me crazy that he was so lazy,” Kobe said, via Serena Winters of Lakers Nation. “You got to have the responsibility of working every single day. You can’t skate through s—.”

Shaq and Kobe seemed to skate through three straight championships from 2000-2002, but Shaq injured his toe after that third Lakers title. Rather than having surgery right after the season, he waited until training camp so he could have the procedure done on company time.

As Phil Jackson reminded us a few weeks ago, that injury had a lot to do with Kobe giving up on Shaq. Bryant wanted to win four championships in a row and couldn’t understand the lack of urgency from his teammate. Jackson also said that Shaq played the “clown role” on the team while Kobe was one of the hardest workers he has ever seen.

Kobe desperately wants to win a sixth championship and tie Michael Jordan. If he doesn’t get there, he’ll always feel that Shaq was partially to blame.

H/T Lakers Nation