Kobe Bryant is getting too old for this shhh… One thing that annoys him the most about the new NBA, is the finesse style spreading around the league. It's a small ball era defined by the Miami Heat and birthed from Steve Nash and Mike D'Antoni's 7 Seconds or Less offense in Phoenix. Yanno, the same D'Antoni coaching the Lakers right now.
The same D'Antoni who's probably happier to miss the playoffs while running his offense the way he believed it should rather than being bogged down by a future Hall of Famer in Bryant and a plodding big man in Dwight Howard. It's odd that teams have tried to emulate that small ball style when it hasn't produced any championship fruits for all of its labors.
"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."
"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 ass over tea kettle. So I think playing the game back then required much more skill."
In the end, Bryant reverted back to his trademark humble persona when asked whether he benefitted from the hand-check rules instituted during the 2004-2005 NBA season.
"Probably not," Bryant said. "Us players, upper-echelon players, are going to do what they do no matter what the rules are. It's not going to make any difference."