After seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall with his family, Bryant called Johnson and said the conversation was “very helpful. . .
“We just talked about some of the experiences he went through and some of the systematic changes that he had to go through after Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) retired and how he kind of managed through that and how he dealt with that,” Bryant said to the media after the Lakers shootaround in preparation for their game against the New York Knicks on Thursday.
Bryant was guarded about the specifics of the conversation, saying, “The advice I get from Magic, Michael (Jordan) and those guys, that’s always sacred. That’s going to the mountain top and talking to Buddha, know what I mean? That’s privileged information.”
Johnson expressed his displeasure with the way coach Mike D’Antoni has used all-star big man Pau Gasol, said it “doesn’t make sesnes.” A 7-footer with immense talent in the low post, D’Antoni has him playing on the perimeter mostly, which means the team has not been maximizing his skill set.
Bryant remained relatively calm after the Lakers lost their fifth in six games at lowly Cleveland Tuesday night. But the fact that he called on Johnson speaks to his concern at his team’s 9-15 record going into Madison Square Garden.
It would help Bryant and the Lakers if point guard Steve Nash could get healthy. He has missed all but one game with a leg injury that still will require another two weeks to heal, he said.
“He’s getting closer,” D’Antoni said of Nash. “He worked out pretty well today. We see some flickers at the end of the tunnel.”
Then he added: “He hasn’t progressed that far. But we’re getting closer. I just don’t want to build up expectations and he has a little setback and then everybody goes crazy. It’s going to be a whille. But a while, I don’t know what that is.”