Kobe Bryant: Old Interview Shows Lakers Star's In-Game Intensity Amid Celebration of Life

Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant's celebration of life memorial on Monday had those who met the Los Angeles Lakers legend reminiscing about their interactions with him. One producer shared a clip from a 2011 interview in which Bryant discussed his intensity on the basketball court and how he could keep anything from distracting him. Bryant died on Jan. 26 at age 41.

In the brief interview, Ahmad Rashad asked Bryant if he was "back in that playoff grumpy mode."

"I'm just locked in," Bryant explained. "That's all. I know we've got a job to do. These opportunities don't come along too often.

Rashad then asked Bryant about an infamous moment during the 2010 NBA Finals, when comedian Chris Rock appeared to be trying to get Bryant's attention during the game. Rock was sitting courtside with fellow comedian David Spade.

"I have no idea," Bryant said. "I've heard about it... People ask about it, like right after the game. But to be honest, I don't know what the heck they were talking about."

"That's how locked in you were?" Rashad asked.

"I really have no idea!" Bryant said with a smile. "I saw a clip of it, but I don't even remember it happening."

"That's focus!" Rashad said.

At the end of the interview, Rashad asked if that year's NBA Finals were special because the opponent was the Boston Celtics, the Lakers' historic rivals. Bryant shrugged that off though, saying the team's goal was just to win another championship.

"It doesn't matter who we play or who we face," Bryant said. "Our goal is to hoist that trophy at the end of the year."

The Lakers and Bryant did just that, beating the Celtics in seven games. It was the Lakers' second consecutive win and would be the last time Bryant won the NBA championship. It was also the last of three consecutive Finals appearances for the Lakers.

Last year, Bryant again told Complex he did not remember Rock sitting next to him during the game.

"It's just me and Chris Rock, but I'm looking dead-ahead," he said of the footage of the scene. "I don't even hear him. It's not even an acknowledgment, and he's right in my ear. That's the one that sticks with me the most. I didn't even know that happened. It was pretty funny to look back at."


Bryant and Gianna, his 13-year-old daughter, died on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash, along with seven others. On Monday, the Lakers hosted the celebration of life memorial at the Staples Center, since the date Feb. 24 lined up with Bryant's number 24 and Gianna's number 2.

Photo credit: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images