The Sports Center

Kobe Bryant on what Luke Walton brings to the Lakers: "a championship foundation"

Retirement has been treating him so well, he forgot how he played the game!

Kobe Bryant spoke to Time Warner SportsNet’s Mike Bresnahan about how retirement is treating him (he has a beard, for example) and as you’d expect, the Lakers came up. Bresnahan asked Kobe what he thought of Luke Walton as the newest head coach and Bryant didn’t disappoint.

Bryant spoke about a possible return to the game (it isn’t happening), the transition into life after the NBA, the announcement of his third child, the Lakers’ young core and what kind of role he’ll have with the organization moving forward, but his comments about the style of play Walton will bring to Los Angeles were simply too rich to go unnoticed.

Let me preface my snark with how much I enjoyed Kobe on the court and how much I’ll miss watching him play. He’s the reason I and so many people are so passionate about the Lakers and, by extension, the rest of the NBA, but his lack of self-awareness here is truly remarkable.

Well, he’s (Walton) going to have them playing the game the right way. The foundation of the team is going to be a championship foundation. It’s not going to be isolation ball. It’s going to be a lot of ball movement, but (also) ball movement with purpose. So players are going to understand why they’re moving the ball in certain situations, which makes you a very dangerous team, because now you have players on the floor that can think on the fly.

Just take that in for a second. Absorb it. Let is wash over your body. Kobe Bryant, he of one of the highest isolation rates in NBA history, just said that a system in which ball movement is priority is the right way to play the game. Amazing.

Now, this isn’t me saying he’s wrong. I’m looking forward to watching the Lakers go in a completely different direction from the archaic sets they’ve run over the last two years. The irony that it’s Kobe saying these things when, for the vast majority of his career, it’s been in his hands where ball movement went to perish violently is simply too much.

Later in the interview, Bryant said he’ll be around the team if his schedule allows and I really do hope so, as many guys on the roster would benefit from his mentorship however they can get it. Selfishly, I can’t help but hope he spends the occasional evening analyzing the Lakers in Time Warner studios for delectable morsels like we saw Tuesday afternoon.

You can follow the author of this article on Twitter, @AnthonyIrwinLA.

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