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Kobe Bryant: Lakers will be contenders again soon

MANILA, Philippines – The Los Angeles Lakers have missed the NBA Playoffs for 3 straight years and just suffered their worst regular season in NBA history (17-65), but with a new head coach in Luke Walton and a young talented core, there is optimism the franchise will be back as title contenders sooner than later.

A Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant, shares that belief.

“Yeah, I think so,” was Bryant’s response when asked if Los Angeles will be back in the championship picture not too far in the future on Saturday, June 25. The recently-retired NBA star is in Manila again, this time for his Mamba Mentality Tour with Nike.

The Lakers (16) have the second most NBA championships in league history, just behind the Boston Celtics (17).

“The Lakers are one of those really rare franchises that, even though they may go through down periods, they inevitably find themselves back in contention,” he told the media at the Shangri-la Hotel in Fort.

Bryant played his 20th and final season with the Lakers last NBA season, ending his career with a 60-point performance in a win against the Utah Jazz. Much of Bryant’s final year was spent mentoring Los Angeles’ young standouts Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, and Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson.

In the 2016 NBA Draft, the Lakers selected Duke prospect Brandon Ingram with the second overall pick, adding even more talent to their nucleus.

“Luke and (assistant coach) Brian Shaw and the staff and the young players that they have, have a tremendous amount of potential and I think they will get there,” said Bryant, the third leading scorer in NBA history.

Bryant said that he still works out often, but his current multi-level business, Kobe Inc., also takes a lot of his time. An extension of Kobe Inc. is Kobe Studios, which focuses on telling stories through different forms of media.

“I look at it now as an opportunity to do more,” Bryant said about having more time following his playing career. “Cause now I can really travel, I can really communicate, I can really teach, I can really sit down and create content via animation, films, documentaries and things like that, that really inform and inspire.”

Bryant, who told the OC Register back in February that he is hands-on with his new endeavour, also said on Saturday that he wants to “create the products that then enable them to do great films.

"So I look at it now as like a great opportunity to just do even more.” – Rappler.com