Kobe Bryant Olympic exhibition interview
The USA Basketball Senior Men's team today played their final exhibition game before the 2008 Olympics basketball competition will start, and looked very beatable as they edged Australia 87-76. Here's what Kobe Bryant said to the media after the game:
Q: Are you happy with the way your team played?
Kobe Bryant: No we are not happy at all with the way we played, I think we could have done much better.. As the tournament progresses we feel like we will be much more prepared to face them.
Q: The other game against Russia you were getting the MVP calls a lot, today the crowd seems to get behind the Australians in the third and fourth quarters, did you feel that?
Kobe Bryant: Yes, I think its great for the game, and it also prepares us for what we are going to face in Beijing. I think the crowd just wants to see great basketball. The Australian team played great basketball and they (the crowd) rallied behind them.
Q: Were there any particular players from Australia that stood out for you?
Kobe Bryant: No they all played pretty well, I wasnít familiar with any of them until today but they got some players today that are very good players.
Q: How are you dealing with the media pressure here?
Kobe Bryant: I think the important thing is try to elevate the game, when you look at Ď92, when the dream team first came, how basketball has evolved since then, it's a beautiful game. The more that we can do to raise awareness about it, the better.
Q: When you were preparing for this game, what was the reputation that the Australian team took into the game?
Kobe Bryant: Well they are a physical team, we knew they would go out there and be physical and play hard, but not to do anything dirty. We had a little incident out there but we understand that both teams are just out there playing basketball and trying to win and compete. Itís fun.
Q: That little altercation but then started maybe a little Australia versus USA.
Kobe Bryant: Everybody is accustomed to that, one thing I tell my guys is to try to keep your poise. Don't get rattled by it, understand it is a game itís nothing personal out here, just stay focused on what you do best, just playing basketball.
Q: How do you think your team needs to do when playing against a much more physical team?
Kobe Bryant: We are going to play much better defense; I think you have to give some credit to the Australian team, because they executed very well. Before we set out to face them again, it will be a very good test for our defense.
Q: Will your family go to Beijing to watch the game?
Kobe Bryant: Yes
Q: Will your daughter go to see you at the Games? Does she know that it is the Olympics Games?
Kobe Bryant: Yes, she knows it is the Olympic Games, absolutely.
Q: You guys were talking about defending the three, but then the third quarter, what happened?
Kobe Bryant: Well they knocked down threes. You are going to have teams where they shoot well, they did open opportunities and they made the most out of it.
For us, itís important to keep our composure when that happens and to try to get down more on defense which we were able to do.
Q: Were you surprised by the Australians tonight?
Kobe Bryant: No one was surprised, we knew they were a great team. They played extremely well; they came out of a great game against Argentina which they should have won. They are a very well coached team, they executed extremely well, and they played hard. So I think it was a great effort by them and I canít say that I was surprised.
Q: President Bush is going to be at the Games, they said he may be. What does that mean for the team, what does that mean for the run for the gold medal?
Kobe Bryant: Well it shows a great support obviously, it means the entire country is rallying around this kind of road to redemption theme that we have and for our President to come to watch us play the game and try to bring back the gold medal makes it even more significant.
Q: You mentioned that the gold medal means more than the NBA Championship is that correct?
Kobe Bryant: Yes.
Q: You think your teammates feel the same way that the gold medal is more important than the NBA championship?
Kobe Bryant: Yes.