Kobe Bryant says there are no hard feelings between him and new teammate Larry Nance Jr. concerning a disparaging tweet the 27th overall draft pick posted about the Lakers legend three years ago.
Bryant told ESPN's Jemele Hill on Saturday night that "there's no need" for the two men to discuss the matter any further after an exchange of messages, initiated by Nance, on Friday.
"He actually sent me a great message," Bryant said of Nance. "Which is really funny, I looked at [the message] and it was like, 'This is when you know it's about time to hang these things up, when your teammate writes you, Hi, Mr. Bryant.'
"I was like, 'What the [expletive]?' But it was really nice and apologetic about what had happened. I said, 'Dude, listen. We've all said things and done things that we regret and wish we could take back. It's water under the bridge, man. Welcome to the team.' He writes back, 'Thank you, sir.' "
It could've gone much worse. Soon after the Lakers drafted Nance with their second first-round pick Thursday night, a tweet of his from May 2012 started making the rounds on Twitter. In it, the former Wyoming forward wrote: "Gee I sure hope Kobe can keep his hands to himself in Denver again.. #rapist"
Bryant was arrested in July 2003 on allegations of sexual assault in Colorado. The criminal charges were eventually dropped and he settled a civil lawsuit.
The original tweet was quickly deleted from Nance's account. Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said he didn't know about the tweet before drafting Nance and suggested the two players would need to talk it out.
But Bryant said Nance prevented the situation from growing into a lingering problem.
"The kid figured it out himself," Bryant said.