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Mitch Kupchak on awkward Lakers presser: ‘It was kind of comical’

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An incredibly awkward moment occurred earlier this week during a Los Angeles Lakers presser where Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams and Brandon Bass were introduced. Kobe Bryant did not attend, but his hovering presence was surely felt when the Lakers’ biggest acquisitions of the offseason were asked if any of them has had any contact with the Lakers superstar.

Total silence, accompanied by awkward side-glances exchanged between the three players, ensued. In fact, it lasted about 10 seconds before a reporter broke the excruciatingly comical tension with a benign question.

Mitch Kupchak on Friday made an appearance on Sirius XM NBA Radio and was asked about what had transpired during Wednesday’s introductory presser. The Lakers general manager essentially found the entire scene somewhat amusing.

“It was a good moment in television, it was kind of comical,” he quipped.

That may not be how others view it, but Kupchak certainly seemed to be doing his darnedest to downplay any notion that there is any relevance or importance to the fact that Bryant apparently hasn’t take a moment to reach out to any of his three new teammates.

Charles Barkley also chimed in on the eerie silence elicited by the question about Kobe, but didn’t believe it meant all that much, either.

“Do I think it’s unusual? No. Kobe is a loner,” Barkley said, via FOX Sports. “He’s obviously one of the 10 greatest basketball players ever, and he’s always treated me with respect. But he’s a loner. He’s got a one-track mind as far as basketball goes, and I don’t think he’s the type of guy — doesn’t make him a bad guy — who’s gonna reach out to guys like that. He will see them in training camp.”

Speaking of camp, it became abundantly clear that Bryant is still running the show in L.A. when Kupchak intimated later in the interview that the young players and rookies on the Lakers roster will have to prove to Kobe in training camp that they belong.

Same as it ever was.

[H/T Black Sports Online]