76ers Coach Doug Collins calls Kobe Bryant ‘a basketball genius’

Philadelphia 76ers Coach Doug Collins says of the Lakers' Kobe Bryant: "He wants to answer the bell every night for his team, and that's what great players do."
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Before the Lakers battled the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, Coach Doug Collins had high praise for Kobe Bryant

“He’s a basketball genius,” Collins said.

“As guys get older, for the guys who are really the savants, the game comes easier. They don’t waste energy. When you’re younger sometimes, you chase your tail; and you get older and the game slows down,” Collins said. “He knows where he wants the ball, how he wants to get it, how he’s going to get it and what he’s going to do to you once he gets it.”

Collins marveled at Bryant’s longevity in the league, playing at such a high level.


“That’s an incredible confidence he has. He works incessantly on his body to be stronger,” Collins said. “You just watch him, the way he takes care of himself. I mean the guy’s got 52,000 career minutes, which is amazing.”

Collins coached Michael Jordan both with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. He said Jordan and Bryant have maintained similar goals through the regular season.

“He and Michael both, a badge of courage for them would be playing 82 games, not winning the NBA scoring title,” Collins said. “When you play all 82 games, all that other stuff’s going to happen. He wants to answer the bell every night for his team, and that’s what great players do.”

So far, Bryant has played in all 30 of his team’s games, averaging 38.7 minutes a night.


Lakers retire Jamaal Wilkes’ jersey

Dwight Howard, Lakers whip Blazers, 104-87

Matt Barnes calls time with Lakers ‘a bad situation’

Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.