Kobe a Strong Advocate for Raja Bell to Join LA
LA Times – A season after Ron Artest stormed cross court to get in Kobe Bryant’s face during the 2009 NBA playoffs, Bryant welcomed his arrival in L.A. with open arms. Four seasons after Raja Bell clotheslined him in a Lakers’ playoff game against the Phoenix Suns, Bryant apparently is doing the same thing.
Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that both the Lakers and Bell share a “strong mutual interest to reach agreement on a deal,” with Bryant being what Wojnarowski described as a “strong advocate” for a deal to happen. For those wondering how Bryant can go from enemy to friend in a heartbeat simply don’t understand that he views adversaries and teammates simply in the context of basketball. It’s fair to say Bryant doesn’t have many friends in the game within his inner circle, although he created bonds with several teammates in the 2008 Olympics. It’s also fair to say that even if Bryant feels personal satisfaction in dominating opponents, that animosity quickly dies once the game ends and if they wind up becoming his teammate.
That’s why in addition to Bell’s defensive toughness and effective outside shooting, Bryant’s endorsement of Bell means the Lakers would highly benefit from his presence. Bryant likes a player if he believes their work ethic is solid and they have good intentions in helping the team. Even when Artest went through his struggles last season in shooting and understanding the triangle offense, for example, Bryant forever praised him because of his solid defense and willingness to play hard every game.
“There’s been times where I’ve been on the road where I couldn’t sleep and I’d go to the gym and work out at 12 o’clock at night and Ron’s in there,” Bryant said during his exit interview. “He’s working there and we get a chance to talk about the season and the commitment to winning. I think that’s where bonds are forged.”