Kobe Bryant is Mr. MVP
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LAC: How essential to the team’s success do you believe Jackson’s leadership is?
KB: It’s extremely critical. [The team] has been a part of him since 2000, so the execution of the game stems from his coaching, from the way he views the game, the way he teaches the game. We all have those same philosophies; we have those same beliefs; we play with the same.
LEFT: Sweater ($825) and shirt ($360), Dolce & Gabbana. 312 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; dolcegabbana.it. Suit pants, Ted Baker (suit retails for $845). 131 N. Robertson Blvd., LA; tedbaker.com. Black Mamba MVP watch, Nubeo (price upon request). Westime Beverly Hills, 254 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; westime.com. Bracelet, David Yurman ($4,300). 371 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; davidyurman.com
RIGHT: Suit ($2,275) and tie ($175), Dolce & Gabbana. 312 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; dolcegabbana.it. Shirt ( $375) and collar bar ($25), Anto Beverly Hills. 258 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills; antoshirt.com. Cuff links, David Yurman ($375). 371 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; davidyurman.com. Black Mamba MVP watch, Nubeo (price upon request). Westime Beverly Hills, 254 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills; westime.com
LAC: You grew up in Italy and speak fluent Italian. How do you believe that’s shaped the man you are today?
KB: I think if anything it gave me a 360-degree view of the world, in terms of believing that everything’s possible and believing there’s a bigger world out there. I didn’t grow up with blinders on. I grew up believing I could accomplish anything. In first grade, when I was six years old, I went to an Italian school. Growing up and looking back on those kinds of things, I think it can’t help but broaden things for you.
LAC: Do you dream in Italian or English?
KB: I think both actually. [Italian has] been a part of me for so long, but I have to tell you, I have to brush up on my Italian skills. I feel really dumb. I went to school there from first grade all the way up to seventh grade—in an Italian school system—and now I’ve forgotten so much of it. I feel like I’ve done a serious injustice to all my teachers.
LAC: You’ve grown up on the court. Can you tell us any life lessons you’ve learned through basketball?
KB: I think the biggest lesson is how to think externally. In other words, looking at other people and things they’re going through and being able to kind of help them through various situations—whether it’s on the court or off the court, just kind of managing personalities. I think the thing I’ve learned to do and the thing that’s changed the most from my younger playing days to where I am now is just being able to manage the team. I’ve been playing basketball since I was two, so I’ve learned so much from the game, which is what I try to teach kids now when I’m at clinics and camps. There are so many life lessons that can be learned through the game. So you’re not preaching to kids, you’re teaching them the game. But through it they learn selflessness; they learn about leadership; they learn about healthy competition; they learn about hard work, attention to detail and so on and so on.
LAC: You’ve won five rings and an Olympic gold medal, and you are the leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. What continues to motivate you now?
KB: Just the love of the game. I’ve never played for anything else but that. As a consequence of that, I wind up working hard, but I do it because I truly enjoy it. To be honest, I just love the game of basketball, and I’m constantly looking for ways to improve, but that all stems from the fact that I enjoy what I do.
LAC: We have to talk about the big news: LeBron James going to Miami. What are you anticipating for this season with LeBron being on the Heat?
KB: I anticipate they’ll do great. I think they have a marvelous team. I think they’ve put together a great crew, so all in all, I’m just happy for him.
Styling by Paige Geran
Grooming by Mark Graham for Hair Architects
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.