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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: Bryant not concerned with former coach's book comments

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posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 05:04 PM
SAN DIEGO -- Kobe Bryant is shrugging off criticism of him by former Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

"He's just trying to sell books. I'll just leave it at that," Bryant said Wednesday at the Lakers' training camp at the University of San Diego. "I wish him the best at whatever he's doing now. I have responsibilities here, and that's what I have to take care of. That's it."

The diary of the 2003-04 season, titled "The Last Season: A Team in Search of Its Soul," Jackson said he no longer wanted coach Bryant.

The book will be released this month, but an excerpt will be published in next week's issue of Los Angeles magazine. The Los Angeles Times printed excerpts from the magazine article on Tuesday.

Jackson wrote he became so frustrated with Bryant that he told general manager Mitch Kupchak in January: "I won't coach this team next year if he is still here. He won't listen to anyone. I've had it with this kid."

The Lakers conducted a morning tape session and then returned to practice after an 87-80 loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in their exhibition opener Tuesday night.

Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich praised Bryant for his postgame leadership in the locker room of the revamped Lakers, who have just six returning players from last season's squad.

"He was fantastic," Tomjanovich said. "He addressed the team and said, 'Some of you have your heads down, but we worked hard. No one should leave thinking we didn't give a lot of effort.' "

Bryant, who had 35 points, said a leadership role is not new to him on the club.

"Right now, people are paying attention to it more so than in the past," Bryant said. "I've always been a leader out here on the floor."


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