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OAKLAND – An hour before making his Warriors debut Thursday night, Steve Blake stood in the home locker room at Oracle Arena meeting local media, explaining his style of play and responding to a reverential tweet from former teammate Kobe Bryant.
Bryant took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon, making clear his displeasure with Blake being traded from the Lakers, tweeting that he was “not cool” with the move “AT ALL.” Bryant described Blake as one of his closest teammates and a “psycho competitor.”
Who better than Kobe to recognize a psycho competitor? It's a sign of esteem, which is exactly how Blake took it.
“Kobe and I had a great friendship while I was there,” he said. “He's one of the best teammates I ever had. So I'm definitely going to miss him. I appreciate his support throughout the years. I can't lie; I'll definitely miss him.”
Warriors coach Mark Jackson also was aware of Bryant's tweet and took a moment to ponder its significance.
“I don't think (Bryant) says that about anybody other than probably Michael (Jordan),” Jackson said. “(It's a) heck of a compliment. It says a lot about his respect, appreciation and love for Steve Blake, and who he is as a basketball player and a person.
“Playing alongside him, practicing with him, you get a higher appreciation for a guy when you are in battles. That's why we got him and we are fortunate to have him.”
Blake arrived from Los Angeles around 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon, checked into his hotel, changed clothes and joined his new teammates at the arena for a pregame walkthrough.
“Now to have a chance to be on a winning team, have a chance to get in the playoffs and do something big, is huge,” he said. “I look forward to that challenge.”
Blake, who signed with the Lakers as a free agent in July 2010, said he plans to follow the same blueprint as he did in L.A., describing himself as a point guard who enjoys nothing more than setting up shots for teammates.
Yes, Kobe will miss him.
Bryant, out with a knee injury, concluded his tweet by endorsing the trade from a Warriors perspective, referring to it as a “#smartmove.”