Sports | October 5, 2017 2:06 pm

Kobe Bryant Said He Would Kneel During National Anthem If Still Playing

The retired NBA star also said President Trump should 'focus on serving, not leading.'

Kobe Bryant
Legend Kobe Bryant attends a WNBA game between the Phoenix Mercury and the Los Angeles Sparks with his daughters on June 18, 2017 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.(Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

While appearing on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, Kobe Bryant said that he would kneel during the national anthem before NBA games if he were still playing today.

Bryant was asked what he would do during the anthem if he had a game tonight, reports ESPN, during a rapid-fire question-and-answer portion of the podcast. He said, “Kneel.”

The retired Los Angeles Laker star was also asked what he would say if he could speak directly to President Donald Trump right now, reports ESPN. Bryant responded, “Focus on serving, not leading.”

The current Lakers team met to discuss what they wanted to do during the anthem in the wake of President Trump’s comments about firing NFL players who kneel during the anthem. The team decided to lock arms, which they and the coaches have done for the past three preseason games, reports ESPN. 

Lakers coach Luke Walton said the team is “in this together,” reports ESPN. He also said that the team decided to show that they were in this together. Walton said that he himself has “a ton of respect for the country, the flag, the military,” but by “by locking arms, I feel like we are showing that there are issues in this country, and it is a chance for us to raise awareness and still make it a talking point,” according to ESPN. He then said, “If you do nothing, then it kind of goes away, and if it goes away, then nothing changes.”

Before he retired in 2016, Bryant was an 18-time All-Star, and won five championships with the Lakers. On Dec. 18, his No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys will be retired at halftime during the Lakers game against the Golden State Warriors.