Kobe Bryant appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday. Part I of the interview is above. Parts II and III are below.
Here are a few highlights:
• On outscoring the Hornets 20-0 to close out Wednesday's comeback victory: "It was about time we started playing some kind of defense that night."
• On the Lakers' struggles to meet expectations: "It's Los Angeles. What's a Laker team in L.A. without drama? ... The start of the year was tough because you had so many different pieces coming in. We obviously had a coaching change. We had to adjust to the system, we had all these injuries. So it was a lot of moving pieces. But right now I feel we're in a good place."
• On his teammates' reaction to his playoff guarantee: "If anybody in that locker room would have said, 'Well, I don't know if we're going to make it,' I would have called the Buss family and said, 'Cut this guy right now. Get him out of here,'" Kobe said, laughing.
• On his summer basketball camp for kids: "We just try to teach them how to play the right way. It's funny -- I'll put them in the triangle offense. And I have these 8-year-olds running the triangle offense. It's hilarious."
• On whether he'd leave the Lakers if it gave him a better chance to win another title: "I'm not going anywhere. I couldn't possibly [leave]. I've been very fortunate to be with one organization. I just feel like you just try to do the best that you can to win with the organization you're with. If it happens, great. If it doesn't, it doesn't."
• On retirement: "[My career is] coming to an end. I'm happy that it will be in a Lakers uniform. It will be soon. ... When I came in the league, I had an Afro. I can't grow one now if I tried."
• After discussing Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea, Bryant and Kimmel had the following exchange:
Kimmel: Have you ever gotten any overtures from Kim Jong Un?
Bryant: I haven't heard anything yet.
Kimmel: Would you go over there and focus on stopping this potential nuclear warhead that could come over? That seems more important than the game.
Bryant: Yeah, but I'd probably pass.
Kimmel: You would pass on that one?
Bryant: I'd probably pass.
Kimmel: Oh, for once you're passing.
Bryant: Yeah [laughter].
Kimmel: White House gets burned down because you're passing.
See more of the interview here: