Kobe Bryant may not be fully physically able to play just yet - the veteran shooting guard sat out of last night's pre-season game against Portland - but he's in playoff shape when it comes to trash talking.
While watching the newly acquired All-Star point guard Steve Nash thread the needle with pinpoint passes, Bryant says he can't wait to really get on the court with the assist master.
"I'm salivating," the 34-year-old Bryant told reporters Wednesday at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
The always competitive (and cocky) Bryant compared his 2005-06 season with Nash's.
"I tell Steve, you won MVP but I was playing with Smush Parker," Bryant joked of his former teammate. "He's playing with [Leandro] Barbosa. I'm playing with Smush and Kwame [Brown]. My goodness."
When reporters needled Bryant for taking a lot of shots that season, Kobe fired back.
"I was shooting 45 times a game. What was I supposed to do? Pass it to Chris Mihm? Chris Mihm?” Kobe exaggerated - he only shot about 27 times a game that season.
But the player who got the most heat from Bryant was William Henry Parker who number 8 deemed "the worst. He shouldn't have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So we let him walk on."
There's little love lost between Bryant and Parker, who now plays in Venezuela. In an interview in 2009, Parker said that playing with the Lakers was "very overrated". The point guard had kind words for Coach Phil Jackson but not for the Black Mamba.
"The problem with that team starts with him and ends with him," Parker said of Kobe in 2009.
Parker wound up in Miami where he played with another former Laker star, Shaquille O'Neal, who he had nothing but compliments for.
People often criticize Bryant for not passing, but one of his best assists was a no-look through-the-legs pass to Parker who slammed it home: