Posted by Art Garcia
LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant is an old man. Well, he seems to want us to believe that. Or believes that we think that already.
Three months shy of his 32nd birthday, Kobe has taken to alluding to his age often lately. Take questions offered up after the first two games of the Western Conference finals. The Lakers lead the Suns 2-0 with Game 3 in Phoenix.
Asked if being out of the game early in the fourth quarter Wednesday night was about rest or taking stock of the game, Bryant replied: “I’m old, what do you expect?”
A Game 1 query about why he’s been in such a good rhythm — Kobe had scored at least 30 in his last six games at the time — was answered with: “Old age.”
Both answers were followed by that mischievous Kobe smile and guffaws from the assembled media. He is up there in basketball years — 14 seasons, more than 1,200 games and nearly 45,000 minutes logged — but why the focus on age? Is something eating at Kobe?
“It’s assuming that something has gotten under my skin,” he said Friday. “That’s the assumption. It’s entertaining. It’s not something that’s gotten under my skin, but it’s something that I find funny, enjoyable.”
What is exactly funny and enjoyable?
“The notion that I’m old and that I won’t figure things out,” the four-time champ added. “That’s the part that’s really funny to me. Like I said, they should know me better.”
With age comes wisdom. Just ask Kobe.