Kobe Bryant Says He'd Take Knee During Anthem If He Was Still Playing

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 5, 2017

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, who is injured, drinks a BodyArmor Superdrink on the bench against the New York Knicks during an NBA Basketball game, Thursday, March 12, 2015, in Los Angeles. The Knicks won 101-94. Bryant is an investor in the upstart sports drink BODYARMOR. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
Danny Moloshok/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant is no longer playing in the NBA, but he said he would kneel during the national anthem if he was still lacing it up.

Bryant responded "kneel" to a rapid-fire question asking him what he would do while appearing on The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast released Wednesday (via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com).

Bryant's comment comes after NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he expects the players in his league to stand during the anthem, per Ian Begley of ESPN. Begley noted Silver pointed to an NBA rule requiring players to stand.

Silver also said he will "deal with it when it happens," if a player doesn't stand, per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

Youngmisuk noted the Lakers met as a team and decided they will lock arms during the song.

"By locking arms, I feel like we are showing that there are issues in this country, and it is a chance for us to raise awareness and still make it a talking point," head coach Luke Walton said while acknowledging his respect for the military and flag.

The idea of kneeling during the national anthem as a way of protesting racial inequality and police brutality took hold last year when Colin Kaepernick did so as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

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A number of NFL players have participated in the practice this season, especially after president Donald Trump said during a rally in Alabama that NFL owners should "get that son of a bitch off the field right now" if a player doesn't stand during the anthem.

As for Bryant, he said he would tell Trump to "focus on serving, not leading" if he had the opportunity to speak to the president, via Youngmisuk.