The Best Lakers Team Kobe’s Been on?
Kobe Bryant won three NBA championships on Los Angeles Lakers teams with Shaquille O’Neal. The 2003-04 Lakers also had a talent-heavy roster that included Bryant, O’Neal, Karl Malone and Gary Payton, even though they lost in the NBA Finals. And Bryant’s last two titles came with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum by his side.
Yet, Bryant now looks around at his current teammates – a star-filled group that includes Gasol, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash – and calls this season’s Lakers his most talented supporting cast ever.
One thing is for certain: After acquiring Howard and Nash in the offseason, these Lakers won’t lack for attention. More than 300 media members attended the opening of the Lakers’ camp, overwhelming the air conditioning at the team’s practice facility. Excited Lakers fans peered over a fence in the morning prior to the start of media day hoping to get a glimpse of anyone in gold and purple.
“For me, my expectations are to prepare to play, to improve, perform and build a team,” Nash said. “When you’re concentrating on that, you don’t focus on what other people’s expectations are. You set your own standard. You set your own expectations. You try to live up to those every day.”
Bryant and Howard say they are on the same page and will do what is needed to succeed. Bryant is still the Lakers’ top option offensively, but Howard will certainly want his touches in the post.
“It’s my team,” Bryant said. “But I want to make sure that Dwight knows that when I retire this is going to be his. I want to teach him everything I possibly know so this organization can ride as if I never left.”