"Do I look worried?"
This was Kobe Bryant's reaction when my 710 ESPN colleague John Ireland asked if we should be worried about his right knee, recently revealed to the New York Post as lacking in cartilage. As Bryant phrased it, "almost bone on bone."
Scary words, but judging by the Mamba's explanation, the Laker Nation should remember to breathe. The knee is no worse than it was last season -- when the Lakers won a title, he reminded us -- and Kobe listens to his body. The knee won't be pushed further than he can handle.
(By the way, I guarantee "Do I look worried?" will become an iconic phrase associated with Kobe's career. Even if fans don't buy what Kobe's selling, the delivery was boss. Very Bruce Willis.)
Actually, Kobe had a few choice lines. He was later asked to compare his unhappiness in the summer of 2007 (fondly remembered as "The Radio Tour") to Chris Paul wondering this offseason about the Hornets' direction. That Paul even wondered at all is why Bryant didn't find the situations similar. "I knew what the direction was," noted Bryant. "That's why I was livid. They needed to change course, or I'll go some place else. It was as simple as that."
For that matter, dissatisfaction wasn't relayed in mirror fashion, either.
"He's a really nice kid. He's much more P.C. than I was," said Kobe with a sly grin.
With so much talk focused on Kobe's knee and his passing of Oscar Robertson on the all-time scoring list, the Lakers' actual victory almost felt secondary. Almost, of course. Below are thoughts on the W from Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, plus a trip down Knicks Memory Lane for LO while discussing Sunday's game.
The only bummer of the evening was Matt Barnes' sprained knee while pursuing a second quarter rebound. (Steve Blake expects to play Sunday despite turning an ankle.) "I came down on one foot and rolled my ankle and then my leg got stuck and I fell back," recounted the small forward. We were told the results of Saturday's MRI wouldn't be known until later in the afternoon. On the plus side, Barnes was able to leave Staples without crutches or assistance of any kind. Fingers crossed, that's the sign of a relatively minor injury.
And finally, a few words from D.J. Mbenga, who received his 2010 championship ring from Kobe and Derek Fisher before the game. Mbenga received a standing ovation from the fans, which was touching to watch.