In case you were worried that old age was going to cause him to step aside and be just another player in the NBA, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant wants the world to know that this is still his team.
Speaking to reporters at a media session (via ESPN.com) on Monday, Bryant was asked whose team this was now that he was approaching old-man status, at least by NBA standards. He replied:
I don't want to get into the, "Well, we share ..." No, it's my team. But I want to make sure that Dwight, when I retire, this is going to be his. I want to teach him everything I possibly know so that when I step away this organization can ride on as if I never left.
Apparently Lakers owner Jerry Buss has sold his stake in the franchise to make sure that Bryant can get his ego stroked enough to remain happy.
Does it really matter whose team this is? Bryant should be speaking about how happy he is to have players like Steve Nash and Dwight Howard on the roster so now they have a real shot to win an NBA title again.
Who Will Be The Best Player for the Lakers In 2012?
To be fair, Bryant did say that he wants to get Howard comfortable playing in front of the Los Angeles crowd and media so that he can take over as face of the franchise when Bryant eventually retires.
The Lakers are, as usual, a fascinating story right now. You have two huge egos in place with Bryant and Howard, which could end up being as successful as the Bryant-Shaquille O'Neal pairing from the early-2000s or as disastrous as the end of their run together.
Not to mention Nash, who specializes in controlling the ball to set up his teammates. Bryant has controlled this offense basically for the last decade, and he needs the ball in his hands at all times.
Right now, the Lakers look great on paper, and they will certainly be around for the postseason, but it is going to take some time for all these new pieces to jell in this system. Bryant will do all he can to make sure they get where everyone thinks they should be.