As a former radio producer and host, I realize how hard it is for stations to get interviews with basketball stars. Unlike football and baseball, there are only 12 guys on the team and maybe 15-20 superstars in the whole league. When Gary Payton was “the man” in Seattle, we would get him on the station once or twice a year per year and it was a three to four month process. If he wanted to do the interview at 7 pm on a Sunday (which he did once), we would come in on the weekend and tape it.
You’ve heard interviews with some great athletes here at SRI, but only a handful of NBA superstars. And when those NBA superstars come on, they’re usually pimping something. Like when Dwayne Wade was pimping for T-Mobile. Anyway, not complaining, just stating the way it is. So when I saw Kobe Bryant being interviewed on ESPN Radio Chicago on Friday. I knew he was schilling something.
Kobe was in town for a weekend game against the Bulls and he was debuting his brand new shoes “The Black Mamba” that were designed by Chicago area high school kids. The shoes say venom on the side.
Here are some excerpts from his interview with the Afternoon Saloon on ESPN Radio Chicago:
On what it’s like when he plays at the United Center where Jordan won all the championships:
“It’s beyond a great honor. It’s something that we as players, not only myself, but us as a team take a lot of pride in. Especially because we’re being coached by the same coach and the same coaching staff that led the Bulls on those historic runs. So it’s a great sense of pride that comes along with that.”
On Derrick Rose:
“He has a lot talent. He’s a phenomenal talent. He has a lot of speed. What you see from a lot of guys that have a lot of speed is they normally play in one gear, but what he does is he understands how to shift gears and to adjust his speed…to slow up and then attack, which you normally don’t see from guys that fast.”
On rumors of Shaq wanting to finish career with the Lakers:
“Man, I haven’t heard nothing. He and I obviously we talk. He said nothing to me about that. I don’t know where that’s going.”
After the jump, more quotes from Kobe Bryant including his thoughts on the MVP debate and the full interview.
On how important it is to get back a healthy Andrew Bynum:
“It’s going to mean a lot. Particularly, everybody talks about the defensive presence that he brings to the ball club which is a huge factor as well as rebounding, but also what he does…our bench is going to become a lot better.”
Kobe was asked who’s the MVP of the NBA this year:
“Ah, dude, that’s like an endless debate. I hear so many people come up with different criteria, mathematical formulas and data. It’s so silly to me. I don’t know.”
Listen to Kobe Bryant on ESPN Radio Chicago (3:30 into podcast)