Kobe on how the rules have changed the game:
"It's more of a finesse game," Bryant said before the Lakers played the Chicago Bulls on Monday. "It's more small ball, which, personally, I don't really care much for. I like kind of smash-mouth, old-school basketball because that's what I grew up watching. I also think it's much, much less physical. Some of the flagrant fouls that I see called nowadays, it makes me nauseous. You can't touch a guy without it being a flagrant foul."
Kobe on hand-checking:
"I like the contact," Bryant said. "As a defensive player, if you enjoy playing defense, that's what you want. You want to be able to put your hands on a guy. You want to be able to hand check a little bit. The truth is, it makes the game [where] players have to be more skillful. Nowadays, literally anybody can get out there and get to the basket and you can't touch anybody. Back then, if guys put their hands on you, you had to have the skill to be able to go both ways, change direction, post up, you had to have a mid-range game because you didn't want to go all the way to the basket because you would get knocked *** over tea kettle. So I think playing the game back then required much more skill."
On One and Done:
"We probably see players that came out of high school were much more successful on average than players that went to college for a year," Bryant said. "It seems like the system really isn't teaching players anything when they go to college. You go to college, you play, you're showcased and you come to the pros. That's always been the big argument: As a player, you have to go to college, you have to develop your skills and so forth and so on and then come to the league. So, we kind of got sold on that, sold on that dream a little bit and, fortunately, I didn't really listen too much to it. Neither did KG [Kevin Garnett], neither did LeBron [James] and that worked out pretty well for our careers."
On passing the torch:
"I've never looked at it as the torch is being passed," Bryant said. "Even when the Magic [Johnson], Michael [Jordan] or [Larry] Bird, that kind of transition from Dr. J [Julius Erving], as a kid growing up I always looked at it as athletes represent different things. It's like what Magic represents to the game, what Bird represents to the game is different than what Michael represents to the game. It's not the same torch. They're picking up their own thing and they're carrying their own generation their own way.
"So, I don't look at it as a passing of the torch. I look at it as different athletes doing different things. What LeBron does is different than what KD [Kevin Durant] does. What they both do is different than what I do and so forth and so on."
On his chances of playing for the USA, with a parting shot to Pau:
"Nope," Bryant said. "I'll go and spectate. Maybe I'll go watch Pau [Gasol] win another silver."