Kobe Bryant on Larry Nance Jr. tweet: 'We've all done things we regret'

ByBaxter Holmes ESPN logo
Monday, June 29, 2015

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant says he has talked with first-round draft pick Larry Nance Jr. about a tweet Nance posted in 2012 that referred to a sexual-assault case involving Bryant.

Speaking at the BET Experience held at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on Saturday night during a sit-down interview with ESPN's Jemele Hill, Bryant said "there's no need" for any further discussion about the matter.

"The kid figured it out himself," Bryant said. "He's a kid, man. He actually sent me a great message [Friday], which is really funny. I looked at it [the message], and it was like, 'This is when you know it's about time to hang these things up, when your teammate writes you, Hi, Mr. Bryant.'

"I was like, 'What the f---?' But it was really nice and apologetic about what had happened. I said, 'Dude, listen. We've all said things and done things that we regret and wish we could take back. It's water under the bridge, man. Welcome to the team.' He writes back, 'Thank you, sir.'"

Nance's tweet, which was deleted within minutes of his selection by the Lakers with the 27th overall pick Thursday, read: "Gee I sure hope Kobe can keep his hands to himself in Denver this time." It also included the hashtag "#rapist."

Later Thursday night, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said the team had spoken to the former Wyoming forward about the tweet and that it was something Nance and Bryant needed to talk about between themselves.

Bryant was involved in a 2003 sexual-assault case in Colorado. A woman accused him of raping her in his hotel room. All charges were dropped after she refused to testify. A civil suit was later settled, and Bryant publicly apologized, though he admitted no guilt in the matter.

Bryant touched on a number of other topics in the wide-ranging interview with Hill.

Asked about what he has learned from his many strained relationships with various teammates over his 19-year career, Bryant brought up Shaquille O'Neal, with whom he won three NBA titles.

"There are certain things that were strengths of his, like putting his arm around the guys and helping them be better emotionally and giving them support," Bryant said. "I wasn't very good at that."

Bryant also said he once made a teammate cry.

"He was really, really bad," Bryant said. "I said, 'Dude, you might want to reconsider what your life purpose is. Maybe it's not this.' It came out that way. I was like, maybe 20 something years old. I don't know, really young."

It remains unclear if Bryant -- who will be 37 when next season begins -- will want to play beyond 2015-16. That will mark the final year of his current contract with the Lakers, during which he'll be paid a league-high $25 million.

Kupchak has said Bryant has indicated to him that next season will be his last with the team. Bryant said he has yet to make a decision.

"It might be," Bryant said. "You gotta retire sometime. I'm not Benjamin Button, man."

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