Mike Acker of Rip City Project writes for the Willamette Week about Portland Trail Blazers guard Will Barton and his well-known appreciation for Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant. After the two went head-to-head last week, with Bryant dropping 47 points, Acker caught up with Barton for his reaction.
"Definitely it's surreal," Barton said of going head-to-head with a player he idolized as a youth. "I was just watching this guy in middle school and high school, watching all his highlights, emulating his moves, taking differing bits and pieces from his game and trying to put them into mine. I always looked up to him, and to play against him today it was kind of surreal."
"As soon as the ball tips, all I'm thinking about is competing, playing hard, defending whoever I'm playing against and just making winning plays," Barton said. "At the end of the day, we're all professional. I feel like I'm just as good as anybody else. He's Kobe Bryant. He is who he is. He's one of the best. [But] I'm not going to ask him for his autograph or anything like that."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter