NBA legend Kobe Bryant takes player’s perspective in playoffs

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THE postseason of the 2017-2018 National Basketball Association (NBA) season got going yesterday with half of the eight pairings kicking things off.

And one of those excited to have the playoffs get started was NBA legend Kobe Bryant, a player who knows much about playoff basketball and championships from a two-decade Hall-of Fame career all with the Los Angeles Lakers.

But while most of the spectators at this stage of the competition in The Association tend to throw predictions left and right, the “Black Mamba” shared that he is taking a “cerebral” route to enjoying the playoffs and looking at it from a player’s perspective.

“Well, I’m just looking at it from the perspective if I was a player, right? If I was [James] Harden in the series, I just played this game, I’m watching the film, what would I be looking at. It’s basically me going back to my old ways of watching film, how I was breaking down series when I was playing. That’s that,” said Mr. Bryant in a global media conference last week for his new ESPN show Detail, the transcript of which was shared to BusinessWorld.

He, nonetheless, said he likes the chances of Houston and Golden State of taking it all albeit underscoring the outcome of these playoffs is still wide open.

“I try to stay out of the business of clairvoyancy. I kind of look at the raw picture of what I see in front of me from the execution standpoint. Obviously, a lot of it depends on the health of Golden State. Houston have put themselves in prime position with their length, versatility, their speed, their aggressiveness. They’re a very aggressive team. It’s a more aggressive team than [Mike] D’Antoni has had. Phoenix, they play with a lot of speed, but none of those guys are naturally physical. Houston has some real physical players, man. I like where they’re at,” the five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star said.

“Cleveland obviously with LeBron [James], the shooting they have around him, some of the youth they infused that team with is obviously going to be dangerous. [I’m] Curious to see what Toronto does. Kyrie going down makes a big difference in the Eastern Conference. I like Houston and Golden State, pending their health, as being my top two favorites. Like I said, I kind of stay out of the business of predictions,” Mr. Bryant added.

Two years removed from playing his last game in the NBA, Mr. Bryant, who recently won an Oscar award for his animated short film Dear Basketball, said he is settling well in retirement with his current endeavours and just enjoying watching games from the sidelines.

“…I don’t have a hard time watching it (games) at all. This is where me and Michael [Jordan] differ a lot. Where I was going through the process of retirement, I think people were kind of assuming Michael and I behave the same way from a competitive standpoint. We’re both ridiculously competitive, but it’s different to a point, right?” he said.

“I have this other thing that is calling me that I enjoy doing. I’m completely focused on that. I can watch a game, feel nothing at all. There’s no angst, there’s no, ‘Man, I want to get back out there.’ There’s literally zero of that. Thank God I haven’t completely struggled watching playoffs. I’d be going crazy, dude. So fortunate enough for me, like, I’ve really been able to move on from the game,” Mr. Bryant said. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo