Nick Young has never been afraid to take a bad shot, but he might want to rethink the volleys he's been tossing Kobe Bryant's way during training camp.
“I’ve been talking trash to him to get him back out there. We all have. He wants to be out there.”
It's great that Young and the rest of the Lakers are doing everything they can to hasten Bryant's recovery. But they'd better be careful not to lay on their trash talk too thick.
Bryant has borrowed almost everything in his game from Michael Jordan, and one of the most obvious traits he has appropriated is a nearly pathological competitiveness. Remember, Jordan's Hall of Fame induction speech devolved into a defiant, "I'll show you" diatribe that revealed a man desperately looking for challengers long after he'd vanquished all of them.
Bryant is wired in a similar way. He'll laugh at the barbs now, but when he gets himself back onto the practice court, Young had better watch out.
Apparently, Bryant has been scouting out his teammate from the sidelines, clearly preparing to take advantage of any weaknesses. Young told Medina:
"He’s already talking to me in the locker room. He’s saying he’s watching me going right too much and that I need to go left."
See that? Bryant is already stalking his prey.
Young, boisterous and fun-loving as ever, doesn't seem concerned.
It looks like we're in for a very different season with the Lakers this year. The personal sniping from Young bears no resemblance to the chatter that took place between Bryant and Dwight Howard a season ago. That back and forth always seemed to be tinged with real vitriol.
Now, the guys are just goofing around.
Nobody outside the organization expects much from a Lakers team that took a step backward in the talent department, but at least the locker room morale is improved. Well, at least it will be, until Bryant eviscerates Young upon his return to the practice floor.