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The late-night host asked the Los Angeles Lakers star if, now that the league has ousted Clippers owner Donald Sterling, he would buy the rival team
Normally never at a loss for words, the former MVP looked highly uncomfortable touching on the controversial topic of Sterling’s alleged racist rant and lifetime ban, replying: “No. … I know that’s not a possibility as terms of brand appreciation goes.”
He went on to say that he had met with Sterling in the past to talk about playing for the team, explaining that the reason he didn’t make the move came down to money rather than racism.
“At the time, the biggest concern was if he was willing to spend enough to have a championship team,” he said, adding that since then, “he has spent the money to go out and keep Blake [Griffin] and DeAndre [Jordan].”
Despite Kimmel pushing Bryant to discuss the issue that has rocked the NBA and even prompted a comment from President Obama, Kobe dodged it as best he could.
“Chris [Paul] is a friend of mine, so I sent him a message throughout this whole fiasco,” he said, revealing that he was happy that his division rivals were powering through the playoffs.
“It doesn’t matter to me because I’m not winning. I think it is great for the city, it is great for competition. I love it when they do well.”
The Jimmy Kimmel Live! host had started off Thursday’s episode by taking a dig at Bryant’s flailing team, saying: “Up until last week, the Lakers were the most screwed up team in L.A. — then the Clippers came along.”
And as for the Lakers’ terrible year, which was plagued with injuries including his own torn Achilles and knee problems that kept him out of much of the 2013-14 season, Kobe told Kimmel sarcastically: “It has been highly enjoyable. I would rather stay at home and eat paint chips. It was tough.”
After unpopular coach Mike D’Antoni resigned last week, former Lakers great Magic Johnson blatantly celebrated with a jubilant tweet, which reminded Bryant of The Wizard of Oz.
“The first thing I thought of was seeing the munchkins on the yellow brick road singing that the witch is dead,” he joked.
“Mike was dealt a really bad hand dealing with all the injuries we had,” he added.
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