While covering the U.S. national team practice at the Cox Pavilion on the
campus of UNLV, a gang of reporters earnestly chronicles an interview between a
surprisingly cordial Kobe and longtime critic T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles
Times. This proves conclusively that, even in Vegas, there is not nearly enough
to do. During the interview Kobe says he and Bynum have talked and "we're
Kobe hits the game-winning shot in an intrasquad scrimmage that caps a
successful U.S. training camp. Watching at home, Bynum notices at least two
teammates who were open when Kobe took the shot.
MediaTakeOut.com, a website specializing in "urban gossip," reports
that Bryant and wife Vanessa are on the verge of divorce. (The story is picked
up by the website of L.A.'s CBS affiliate but quickly removed.) Recent
headlines from this site--we're not making this up--include: WHY IS DENZEL
WASHINGTON AND HIS GREASY JHERI CURL HUGGIN' UP ON JULIA ROBERTS!!! AND R&B
SINGER MARIO: MY MOTHER IS A CRACK HEAD!!! Kobe denies the divorce story and
defends Staples Center regular Denzel's hair as "so not greasy."
Kobe gets a thunderous ovation from the Jimmy Kimmel Live audience and, looking
marvelous in white slacks and a light green blazer with cream pocket square,
reveals that he tweaked his back while vacuuming the house under orders from
Vanessa, whom Kimmel introduces to the studio audience. He shoots! He defends!
He cleans the damn house! Take that, MediaTakeOut.com!
As Kobe stands at the foul line during the United States' 123--59 rout of the
Virgin Islands in the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifier in Las Vegas, the crowd
surprises him with a chorus of Happy Birthday in recognition of his 29th. Kobe
ponders that rare arena serenade that doesn't include the phrase Ko-Be Sucks!
and goes on to play superbly as the U.S. storms through the tournament.
During the Nike-sponsored Kobe Bryant Supernatural Asia Tour, Kobe delights
audiences in five cities with a smorgasbord of slam dunks and gives thanks that
there are no teammates on the floor to pass the ball to.
At the Lakers' media day before the team opens camp, Bynum denies Kobe's claim
that they had talked over the summer. Kobe later clarifies his earlier
statement to say that they had exchanged text messages, though Bynum doesn't
remember that either. " Kwame Brown might not be much of a player," says
Bryant, "but you send him a text message, the dude is on top of it. I'm
thinking maybe he should start at center."
Responding to the previous day's out-of-the-blue comments by Buss that he
"would certainly listen" to trade offers for Bryant, Kobe cryptically
says in a statement that Buss's remarks "provided more insight to a
conversation we shared in Barcelona earlier this summer." Turns out Buss
didn't like the paella all that much either.
Kobe returns to practice after staying away for three days in a
might-be-a-minor-injury, might-be-a-boycott absence that is construed by many
as his stronger response to Buss's Oct. 10 remarks. As SI went to press on
Monday night, number 24 was still in the purple-and-gold fold--but if you run
into him, make sure the batteries are working on your camera. He might have
something to say.