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Thursday
Oct052017

Kobe Bryant says he would kneel during national anthem if he were still playing

Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant would choose to kneel during the national anthem, if he were still active, Bryant has said.

Appearing on The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast, Bryant was asked how he would handle the anthem during a rapid-fire segment. The five-time NBA champion responded simply "kneel."

The question comes after President Donald Trump criticized NFL players for choosing to kneel in protest of injustice in the United States.

Bryant was also asked what he would say to the commander in chief, if he could speak directly to him right now. "Focus on serving, not leading," Bryant said.

The Lakers have decided to lock arms during the national anthem, something they have done for their first three preseason games. "We are in this together," head coach Luke Walton said. "I think they chose to show that we are united in this and that obviously they have a ton of respect...well, I will let them speak for themselves, but I have a ton of respect for the country, the flag, the military."

Bryant, an 18-time All-Star in 20 seasons with the Lakers, will have both of his jersey numbers (8 and 24) retired at halftime of the team's December 18 game against the Golden State Warriors.

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