Kobe Bryant made a bold statement recently when he guaranteed that the Lakers would make the playoffs. Now he has the support of his coach Mike D’Antoni and teammates Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. Read more after the jump.
“It’s not a question of if we make the playoffs. We will,” Bryant told Sports Illustrated. “And when we get there, I have no fear of anyone — Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Denver … whoever. I have zero nervousness about that.”
While Bryant’s counterparts weren’t as bold as he was, they did offer their support and stuck by his guarantee.
“That’s great,” Nash said on Friday. “You love it when your best player has that confidence and that challenge. In a way, he’s put it out for us to go get now.”
When Nash was asked if he would like to offer a similar guarantee, he laughed.
“Yeah, I guarantee it, too,” Nash said with smile. “What does it mean? Everyone guarantees something at some stage and everyone forgets. I feel the whole guarantee thing is … I don’t know. If I went and guaranteed it, would you guys care?”
D’Antoni said he wasn’t big on guarantees but didn’t mind Bryant making one, given the role he will play in making it a reality.
“He has a lot to say about it, so that’s good,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t mind as long as we back it up. I don’t mind at all. I think you have to have that mindset and I think everybody does. I’m not a guarantee kind of guy, but I’ll let him do the talking since he’s got to do the walking. Kobe’s good enough. I’m with him all the way.”
Like Bryant, Howard also believes the Lakers will be able to turn around their season and make the playoffs.
“I’m not going to sit up here and say, ‘No, we’re not going to make it,’ ” Howard said. “We got to have faith, and if we don’t, we’re not going to make it, but I believe that we’re going to turn this around and we’re going to be great.”
Despite the Lakers latest hot streak, making the playoffs will still be an uphill battle. They’re currently at 27-29 (.482) in the 9th seed and 3 1/2 games behind the Houston Rockets who have a hot streak of their own led by James Harden and Jeremy Lin. Their confidence and cohesiveness is definitely a step in the right direction.