Now that Tom Thibodeau has joined Mike Krzyzewski's Team USA coaching staff, some reporters were wondering if he'd make a pitch for Kobe Bryant to play in the 2016 Olympics.
"He can try all he wants," Bryant answered. "I love Thibs. We go way back."
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Bryant is not planning to make another Olympic appearance at age 38, but it was an opening for Bryant to talk more about his old training days with Thibodeau. In the mid-1990s, when Bryant was a Philadelphia-area high school star, Thibodeau was on the 76ers coaching staff and the two would often work together.
"He put me through way more defensive drills than he did offensive drills. It was fun, though," Bryant said. "I don't know if he's changed much. I haven't been in a locker room with him or like on the practice floor with him. I can only remember what he was like when he was working me out after practices and stuff like that. He was really, really intense. I don't know if he's scaled back much at all."
Bryant is out indefinitely with a fractured left knee. He played in six games earlier this season after coming back from a torn Achilles tendon.
Kobe misses rough old days:
Speaking of the 1990s, Bryant also reminisced about his fondness for old-school, physical NBA basketball when meeting with reporters before Monday's game.
"It's more of a finesse game," Bryant said of today's game. "It's more of small ball, which personally I don't care much for. I like kind of smash-mouth, old school basketball, because that's what I grew up watching. (Now) it's much less physical. Some of the flagrant fouls I see called nowadays make me nauseous.
"Nowadays, literally anybody can go out there and get to the basket because you can't touch anybody. Back then, you had guys put their hands on you, you had to have the skill to be able to go both ways, change directions, post up. You had to have a midrange game, because you didn't want to go all the way to the basket because you'd get knocked (rear) over teakettle."
The Lakers and Bulls have something in common, since both teams are struggling to survive without their star player. Kobe Bryant has played in six games for the Lakers and Derrick Rose made it through 10 games with the Bulls before injuring his right knee.
Bryant said he hasn't spoken to Rose since the injury, but would look for him on Monday.
"Really, there's not much you can do about it," Bryant said. "It's unfortunate, but you've got two options: One is to lay down and not do anything about it. The second is to get up and get to work. The second one is more appealing."
Hinrich hurts hamstring:
Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich suffered a right hamstring injury midway through the third quarter and did not return. Hinrich appeared to lose his balance and fall awkwardly as he lost the ball. It's too early to tell how long he might be out.