TORONTO — Kobe Bryant’s final All-Star Weekend wouldn’t be complete without him reminiscing about his relationship with his idol, Michael Jordan, who won one more championship ring than Bryant.
“We always had great exchanges,” Bryant said. “The championship ring count isn’t one I can catch now. But one of my favorite memories is having discussions where we were all judging dunk contests.
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“Dominique Wilkins, Dr. J [Julius Erving], myself, MJ [Michael Jordan], we’re all standing there talking and Dr. J says, ‘Hey, man, I don’t know how you scored 81 in a game.’ And Michael kind of goes, ‘Yeah, wow.’ So I said to MJ, ‘The last time I played you in the NBA, I had 42 at halftime.’ And that was the only barb I really got in on Michael.”
Carmelo Anthony said he “might” play for Team USA this summer in Rio. He and LeBron James have a chance to make history by playing on four U.S. Olympic men’s basketball teams. “I’m thinking about it,” he said.
Kristaps Porzingis is thinking about playing for Latvia in the Olympic qualifying tournament but wants to work on his own game and focus on getting stronger. “When you’re playing, it’s hard to do that,” he said. “I have to make a decision [about] what I really want to do.”
Porzingis said he wants to focus on the rest of the Knicks’ season and won’t make his decision until it ends.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver would like to see some changes in the “Hack-a-Shaq” strategy but said nothing “will be enacted this season.” Teams intentionally foul poor free-throw shooters away from the ball, which has led to boring games.
In his state of the league address Saturday, Silver said he “would love to” have an All-Star Game in Europe but “it’s not going to happen in the next two, three, four years.”
He said the league continues to talk to the players association about the length of the season and preseason and when the draft should be. But he said, “It would still be our desire to finish the Finals and the draft in the month of June.”
Melo kickin’ it
Anthony said he’ll fly to Puerto Rico after the All-Star Game for some rest and to check in on the soccer team he owns, Puerto Rico FC of the NASL, before returning to practice Wednesday.