Basketball / Sports

Bryant is supportive of Gasol's rant at Lakers teammates

NEW YORK -- Kobe Bryant wasn't smiling when an angry Pau Gasol went wild in the Los Angeles Lakers' locker room a few nights ago. Nobody was.

But Bryant revealed Sunday that he supported Gasol's post-game rant after the Lakers lost to the woeful Orlando Magic on Friday. Gasol lit into teammates and hurled his basketball shoes in the locker room that night.

"That was the most irritated I've seen Pau in a long, long time," Bryant said. "I haven't really seen him come in and have a tantrum in the locker room, which is good. It's something that needs to be done.

"It can't be something where we're losing and it becomes accepted. Or the whole 'We gave it a good effort' sort of thing. We don't do that around here. That's not what it's about. It's not about giving good effort. It's about winning championships."

Bryant has played only six games this season. He's well aware of it.

He's had to watch from afar as the Lakers (16-29) lost 16 of their last 19 games, including 110-103 Sunday against New York. He's more than ready to ramp things up if he gets doctors' clearance this week.

"I'll finally do more things than just riding a bike," he said. "That's killing me. Absolutely killing me."

Bryant hasn't played since sustaining a fractured knee Dec. 17 in Memphis.

This being New York, Bryant was asked by reporters about the plight of Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, a proven scorer who has never won an NBA championship and could become a free agent in July.

Bryant relates to Anthony, remembering the pressure he personally put on the Lakers' front office in the summer of 2007 to help them become champions again. The Lakers acquired Gasol in February 2008 and went to the NBA Finals three consecutive times, winning twice.

"It's important for the organization to understand the level of competitiveness that you have, that you won't tolerate having a team that's not in contention for an NBA championship, which is what I did," Bryant said. "You rub a lot of people the wrong way but sometimes you've got to kick down a few doors ... and trust that it will pay off in the long run.

"It's one of the reasons I was so frustrated with this (Lakers) organization going back to 2006 and 2007. I didn't want to be known as a scorer. I wanted to make sure I had a team around me that could contend for a championship.

"This is a team sport. A lot of times you have to work with what you have around you. You have to be lucky in a sense that you have an organization that can put a good team around you and be successful."

What about Anthony playing for the Lakers? It's a longshot but Bryant was careful because of tampering rules.

"Everybody wants to play in Los Angeles ... palm trees and beaches are a little bit more appealing," he said. "If he wants to call me for advice later as a friend, I'd be more than happy to give it to him."

Everybody had to ask: What did he think when Anthony scored 62 points Friday to break Bryant's record of 61 at Madison Square Garden?

"I got a lot of messages from people saying, 'Melo's going after your record tonight,' " Bryant said. "It's amazing. He went to work, he got hot and didn't cool off."


The Lakers signed reserve guard Manny Harris to a second 10-day contract. He is averaging 8.3 points in six games since being signed out of the NBA's Development League.

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