LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Kobe Bryant says he would be kneeling during the national anthem if he were still playing in the NBA.
The retired Lakers legend made his first public comments on the kneeling controversy during an appearance on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast on Wednesday, where he was asked about what he would do amid the wave of protests in the NFL and NBA.
“Kneel,” Bryant said.
While the Lakers as a team have yet to take a knee before their first three preseason games, the team has locked arms during the anthem, which head coach Luke Walton says he expects to be an “every night thing” this season.
When asked whether he had a personal message for President Donald Trump, Bryant said he would tell him to “focus on serving, not leading.”
During his playing days, Bryant was never shy about sharing his political views: at a game against the Sacramento Kings at the Staples Center in Dec. 2014, Bryant wore an “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt to protest the death of Eric Garner.
More recently, Bryant accused Trump of sowing “division and anger” following the president’s comments on Colin Kaepernick and others protesting the anthem.
“A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can’t possibly “Make America Great Again”, Kobe tweeted.