Sports

With a Turbulent Season Looming for Lakers, Kobe Bryant Demonstrates an Early Calm

Kobe Bryant

Billy Witz, THE NEW YORK TIMES

LOS ANGELES (The New York Times)—It was an unusual scene. Here was Kobe Bryant, casually comfortable in his hooded sweatshirt, calmly reflective late Friday after theLos Angeles Lakers lost their third consecutive game to start the season.

Their 118-111 loss to their hallway rivals, the Clippers, was sealed when Bryant — the sneering, lip-biting closer supreme — missed a pair of shots late that might have been the difference between defeat and victory.

“I couldn’t be more pleased in this loss, actually,” Bryant said. “I think we figured a lot of things out.”

There was no sarcasm, no seething. Bryant, once notorious for his hair-trigger impatience — with teammates, coaches, the front office and any sort of losing — was now wrapping his arms around a moral victory, prompting a question about the last time he had felt so good after a loss. “Probably never,” he said with a shrug.

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