Call it the no-look quote.
Bryant has been doing this for years, his normal confidence level going into beast mode whenever his team is truly in peril. The swagger he brings into the final minutes of a game is wildly heightened when his team is in the final minutes before a meltdown.
In Bryant's world, it's always dawn before the darkest.
In the real world, of course, if there is a whistle, that train is real, and hopes will be crushed, and thus there is always one way to confirm the Lakers are in serious trouble, and that's when Kobe Bryant says they are not.
Remember last season, in December, when a loss in Oklahoma City dropped the all-star roster to 9-11 and Bryant was asked if he still thought they could win a championship?
"It doesn't seem like it, but I do. I do," he said. "I think we have to shore up a few areas execution-wise, but I think we'll be fine."
They promptly lost 10 of their next 16 games and were never fine.
Two seasons ago they were one loss from being knocked out of the postseason by Oklahoma City, and there was Bryant again, claiming nobody was the least bit shaken by the Thunder.
"We're all upset and extremely frustrated, [but] I don't think anybody is worried about going into Oklahoma City and getting a win," he said.
Two days later, they went into Oklahoma City and were walloped by 16, ending their season.
Remember in 2011 when the Lakers trailed Dallas three games to none in their second-round series?
"I might be sick in the head or crazy because I think we're still going to win the series," Bryant said.
Two days later the Lakers were swept into the summer with a 36-point loss.
Bryant, bless his impenetrable heart, was it again this week when he was asked about a team that has lost its bounce since he and his repaired Achilles' tendon joined it.
The Lakers have been stripped of the confidence they built when they were 10-9 without him. Where they were once playing freely, now they are fidgeting. Where they were once embracing the big moments, they are once again watching the big moments. Like a cocky teen whose older brother just returned from college for Christmas break, the Lakers seem like strangers in their own house.
All of which led to a Bryant quote that pretty much dooms everything.
"Last year was really, really dire straits. It doesn't feel like it's that type of situation here," he told reporters this week. "I don't really sweat it too much. There's certain things that we can correct and fix."
Wait, last year with Dwight Howard was dire straits? Hmm. Now he tells us.