Kobe Bryant has 'basketball geek' conversation with Rajon Rondo

Kobe Bryant has 'basketball geek' conversation with Rajon Rondo
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo warms up before a game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 23. (Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)

Kobe Bryant said his breakfast Thursday with Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo was a "basketball geek" conversation.

They talked about their two trips to the NBA Finals against each other and discussed "old memories," Bryant said Friday.

Bryant, however, chose sarcasm when asked if he ever thought about Rondo as a future teammate.


"No, I haven't thought about having any future teammates before," he said.

Rondo is a free agent next July and could end up on a new team. The Lakers will have enough money to sign one player to a maximum-salary deal or two players to fairly solid contracts starting at about $10 million next season.

Rondo, 28, currently makes $12.9 million. He is averaging 8.3 points, 10.9 assists and 7.4 rebounds a game.

Bryant says Rondo is "extremely intelligent" and a great creator on the court. He said he also admires how Rondo gets so many rebounds despite being 6-foot-1.

The Lakers (5-14) and Celtics (5-11) are experiencing another down season after finishing with two of the NBA's worst records in 2013-14.

Maybe Bryant and Rondo had to cheer each other up over breakfast.

"Like a mutual intervention?" Bryant said with a smile.

Bryant, 36, is under contract only one more season, likely making Friday's game against the Celtics one of his last trips to TD Garden.

There were many games to remember here but Bryant said the one that stood out for him was losing Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals by a near-record 39 points.

"It will always sit with me," he said. "It was a drubbing."

On the plus side for the Lakers, it became a focal point of their title drives in 2009 and 2010.

"It launched us, really propelled us to win back-to-back championships because we understood the aggressiveness that we needed to play with," Bryant said.

Bryant said he isn't nostalgic as he works his way through his 19th NBA season, each stop another step toward the end of his career.

But the road games have become more meaningful, he acknowledged.

"Just kind of looking around and digesting it a lot more so than I have in the past. Just kind of taking it all in a little bit," he said.

The Lakers' next road trip could be special to Bryant for a different reason.

He is 98 points behind Michael Jordan for third on the all-time NBA scoring list. After Friday's game, the Lakers are scheduled to play twice at home before hitting the road next Friday in San Antonio. Then they're set to play in Minnesota and Indiana.

Wherever and whenever he passes Jordan, Bryant said he isn't thinking about the accomplishment even though many of his contemporaries say it means a lot to him.

"I only think about it when I'm asked about it," Bryant said. "It's something that's going to come eventually."

Bryant disagreed with his former coach, Phil Jackson, who has written about and discussed what he says is Bryant's single-minded desire to top Jordan in championships and other achievements.

"People who say that don't really understand me," Bryant said. "It's a myth. Phil likes to say things a lot of times to create good content and create good stories. But the reality is I've always taken pride in the building of my [career]. If I really was hell-bent on passing records, I would have went to college and came to the pros and been ready to play ... and not sat on the bench for three years" with the Lakers.