Kevin C. Cox
Bryant's severely sprained ankle was the result of a questionable play on the floor, and he didn't hesitate in expressing his displeasure with the officials' failure to protect him.
Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant went down in a heap when Atlanta Hawks guard Dahntay Jones undercut him on a late-game jumper from the wing, resulting in a severe ankle sprain and some quotable gold from the Black Mamba.
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In an interview with Time Warner Cable Sportsnet following the game, Bryant said, "First and foremost, I think officials really need to protect shooters. You can contest shots, but you can't walk underneath players, that's dangerous for the shooter... He Jalen Rosed me."
Bryant echoed his sentiments later on Twitter. He maintained that Jones' defense was dangerous and shouldn't have happened.
"You just can't go underneath shooters man, that's a dangerous play."
When asked if he thought that Jones' defense was dirty or intentional, Bryant was reluctant to slap that label on it. But even though he didn't want to outright blame Dahntay Jones, he still felt that players need to be more aware of such dangerous plays on the defensive end.
"I don't ever want to put that on somebody. I really don't. I just think players need to be made conscious of it, and I think officials need to protect shooters, period."
What does it mean to protect shooters?
"I'm always conscious of it. When I go to contest shots I'm always very conscious about making sure I don't walk underneath them. It's just a very, very dangerous play. Especially if I'm fading away, there's no rhyme or reason why I should come down anywhere near somebody's foot. "
What's next for Kobe Bryant? He's obviously going to work hard to get healthy and return to the Lakers' push for the playoffs. But right now, all that's on his mind is the next time that he'll get to play against Dahntay Jones.
"I don't know, I can't get my mind past the fact that I gotta wait a year to get revenge."
You can watch video of Bryant's post-game interview below:
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