Lakers star Kobe Bryant facing prospect of seeing Superman again

LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant is staring down the prospect of sharing the court with Superman again. Only this time, it’s Dwight Howard and not Shaquille O’Neal who’s wearing the cape that Bryant wants to tug on.

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant passes the ball to his teammate Derek Fisher

LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant is staring down the prospect of sharing the court with Superman again. Only this time, it’s Dwight Howard and not Shaquille O’Neal who’s wearing the cape that Bryant wants to tug on.

Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers will be trying to win their first NBA title without O’Neal when the finals open Thursday against Howard and the Orlando Magic.

They failed to do so last year, losing to Boston in a humiliating Game 6 defeat.

O’Neal was traded after Los Angeles lost the 2004 finals to Detroit, leaving Bryant the undisputed leader of a team that won three straight championships at the start of the decade. Bryant still bristles at implications he had something to do with that.

“People that really know basketball know that that stuff means nothing,” Bryant said Monday, deflecting questions on O’Neal. “It’s nonsensical actually. You want to win just to win it.”

Bryant, who turns 31 in August, is completing his 13th season. He kept to himself around his older teammates early in his career. Although he teamed with O’Neal to lead the Lakers to three straight championships, the two frequently zinged each publicly.

Adding a fourth NBA championship to the gold medal he helped the United States win at last year’s Beijing Olympics would burnish Bryant’s still developing legacy.

“You’re thankful to be in this position,” he said. “A lot of players never get to this position once in a career and I’ve been fortunate to be here for six times now. It’s been very, very lucky.”

Like O’Neal, Lakers coach Phil Jackson also departed after the 2003-04 season, and later wrote a book in which he called Bryant “uncoachable.” Jackson then returned after taking a season off and has had a seamless relationship with Bryant ever since.

But there have been big bumps in the road.

Bryant implored the Lakers to surround him with better players in the summer of 2007, then demanded a trade.

The team responded by adding Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, and Los Angeles reached the finals last year for the first time since 2004. Bryant also won his first league MVP award a year ago.

Just Posted

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

Red Deer RCMP look for fraud suspect

Red Deer RCMP are looking for public assistance to identify a fraud… Continue reading

Blood donations needed in Central Alberta: Canadian Blood Services

357 donors are needed before Aug. 26 at the Red Deer clinic

WATCH: Red Deer man shaves beard for Mustard Seed

‘I have spent 30 years of my life being addicted to both alcohol and drugs’

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

DETROIT — Aretha Franklin, the long-reigning “Queen of Soul” who sang with… Continue reading

Italy says death toll will mount in Genoa bridge collapse

GENOA, Italy — The death toll from the collapse of a highway… Continue reading

US newspapers to Trump: We’re not enemies of the people

NEW YORK — Newspapers from Maine to Hawaii pushed back against President… Continue reading

Liberal MP Iqra Khalid accused of giving award to purveyor of anti-Semitism

OTTAWA — A Liberal MP is under fire for presenting a ”certificate… Continue reading

Ottawa intervenes to get 13-year-old ball player to Little League World Series

OTTAWA — Thirteen-year-old Dio Gama will get to play baseball in the… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month