Patriots fans may have been slightly concerned recently when they heard that Rob Gronkowski was performing wrestling moves in Las Vegas while wearing a cast over his broken forearm. However, one unlikely Gronkowski defender said fans shouldn't get to worked up.
"Everyone is so worked up about what he did [in Vegas]. It's funny." Bryant told ESPN.com. "If there were camera phones back in the day, the biggest athletes in the world would have a lot of explaining to do."
Bryant talking about Gronkowski shouldn't come as a complete surprise. Bryant's ties with the Patriots go all the way back to June 2008 when Bill Belichick approached him after the Lakers lost to the Celtics 131-92 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, a loss Bryant called one of the lowest moments of his career.
"I'm sitting there on the bench, just beside myself, burning with frustration and I look over and Bill Belichick is walking toward me," Bryant said. "I had never met him. Never spoken to him. He had courtside seats across from our bench and with 20 seconds left in the game, he came over and said, 'Don't you worry about this, I know what you're going through. We just loss a tough one ourselves [Super Bowl XLII]. Just bounce back. Be ready next year.'"
Belichick's unsolicited advice seemed to impress Bryant. "He didn't have to say that. The clock was winding down, we were getting ready to walk off. I thought it was really cool, respect across our professions," Bryant said.
Bryant might admire Belichick, but he won't be looking for him in the crowd when the Lakers play in Boston on Thursday, he'll be looking for someone else, "I'm hoping Gronk will be there," Bryant said. "I like him. He seems to perform at a high level every time out. Last time we were in [Boston], we talked for a little bit. He's a fun guy."
Despite the respect for Belichick and budding friendship with Gronkowski, Bryant still wouldn't consider himself a Patriots fan, "I'm an Eagles fan, for better or worse," Bryant said. "I've got my fingers crossed that this Chip Kelly dude will work out."
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