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Kobe Bryant opens up about long-time friend Lamar Odom

Kobe Bryant opens up about long-time friend Lamar Odom
Kobe Bryant plays in an exhibition game against Utah on Oct. 6 in Honolulu. (Marco Garcia / Associated Press)

Kobe Bryant was one of the first people to rush to the hospital after hearing Lamar Odom was found unconscious.

The Lakers were conveniently playing an exhibition in Las Vegas that night, not far from where Odom was found after an apparent drug overdose, and Bryant had already exited the game in the third quarter because of a bruised lower leg.

He hadn't spoken to reporters since that night, though that changed Tuesday, the day before the Lakers' opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"He's a brother, above everything else. It's important to see him get back on his feet," Bryant said after the Lakers finished practicing. "It's amazing to see him doing so well. It truly is remarkable."

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Bryant and Odom were teammates for seven years, appearing in three NBA championships together and winning two of them. It's safe to say Odom's ordeal hit Bryant unexpectedly hard.

"It puts things in perspective a little bit more," Bryant said. "This is what we do. This is not who we are. Sometimes basketball can get in the way of life and in the way of living."

Bryant, 37, is about to start his 20th and possibly last NBA season. His contract expires after this season and he has not committed to playing beyond it.

Bryant missed almost two weeks of exhibitions and practices because of his bruised leg but was expected to play in the opener "unless something crazy happens tonight or tomorrow," Lakers Coach Byron Scott said.

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