Kobe Bryant Reportedly Delivers Passionate Speech To NBA Players At Lockout Talk

Kobe Bryant was among players who met with union officials to talk NBA lockout in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and according to CBS Sports' Ken Berger, the Lakers star gave a strong speech urging the group to stand together in solidarity as the stoppage rolls on.

Before a star-studded audience of about 75 players in Los Angeles Tuesday, Bryant was "up front" and "deliberate" in a speech in which he urged players to maintain solidarity and "stand behind the union" during the lockout, according to a person who was in attendance.

Kobe is one of the few dozen players who were around for the 1998-99 lockout that cost the league 32 games and All-Star Weekend. One of the key struggles in 1998 was the lack of sober leadership from the player ranks; Patrick Ewing was the president of the union at the time, and there were a number of gaffes attributed to him. The union also saw infighting as resolution came to a head in January 1999.

With Derek Fisher -- a close friend of Kobe's, to be sure -- at the helm now, things look more promising in terms of unity among the players. But time will tell. Berger reports that union officials are attempting to schedule a bargaining session with NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver for next week.

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