NBA-Bryant wants voice in choosing next Lakers coach

Fri May 9, 2014 12:36pm EDT
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(Reuters) - Perennial All-Star Kobe Bryant, who has won five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, says he hopes the team will consult with him on finding their new head coach.

Mike D'Antoni resigned as coach of the tradition rich National Basketball Association team after an injury-riddled campaign that resulted in a woeful 27-55 record.

Bryant, who missed virtually all of the dismal season due to injury, told ABC television talk show host Jimmy Kimmel that he had no input in the team's coaching hires since the retirement of Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson in 2011.

"On the last two they didn't," Bryant said, referring to Mike Brown and D'Antoni, who both failed to last the length of their contracts. "On the third one, I'm hoping they do."

"Mike (D'Antoni) was dealt a really bad hand in dealing with all the injuries that he had here," Bryant said on the Thursday program. "This is a tough place, man. If you're not winning, you're not going to survive, man."

The Lakers had the second-worst record in the Western Conference.

Bryant said he had faith that Lakers president Jeanie Buss and her brother and personnel chief Jim Buss would put the team back on track.

"They're both on the same page and they want nothing but excellence here, so I have no doubt that we'll make it happen," he said.

Bryant would not be drawn into naming candidates, but said he expected to be part of the process. "We talk back and forth," Bryant said. "We'll text or I'll sit down with him."   Continued...

Apr 10, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant on the field prior to the USA soccer friendly against China PR at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports