Kobe Bryant has a few words of wisdom to pass on to Blake Griffin, the star player of the opposing L.A. team. Bryant has publicly praised Griffin, even referring to him as one of the league's best players, and now the Black Mamba is saying that Blake needs to protect himself, as the high flyer frequently takes a beating from opposing players.
"I'd smack the f— out of somebody," Bryant told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Wednesday. "I've known him for a while and he's a really nice guy so I don't know if he'd want to do that. But I would. I would've done it early in the year."
Kobe went on to mention how he too had to deal with many harsh fouls early in his career and how important it is to stand up for yourself.
"At some point, you have to protect yourself," Bryant said. "I've had to do it many times in my career. I've seen Shaq do it many times, too. Some guys you just don't mess with.
I saw Shaq crack somebody his first year. I did it my first few years. Sometimes people feel like they can take advantage of you, they hit you and this, that, and the other.
Sometimes you have to say, 'Look, you're not going to do this to me. I'll take two games but you're not going to put my health at risk by injuring me potentially. It's not going to happen.' "
The Los Angeles Clippers have grown tired of the rough fouls that Griffin has endured this year and the organization contacted the league office to request that they do more to discourage distasteful fouls against their star (such as the dangerous clothesline that Griffin took from Suns' player Robin Lopez last week).
Players may foul Griffin to prevent a game changing dunk, or they could just be putting him on the free throw line because the guy only shoots 52.2% from the line and they like their chances.