Kobe Bryant had plenty to say about how he wants to help end homelessness among youth in Los Angeles. The NBA superstar had nothing to say about new Lakers coach Mike Brown.
Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, appeared together at a nonprofit in Hollywood on Tuesday to announce the formation of their new foundation focused on improving the lives of youth and families in need.
Bryant has remained publicly mum since Brown was hired last week over his choice of Brian Shaw, a longtime Lakers assistant under recently retired coach Phil Jackson.
In his first public appearance since then, Bryant refused to answer questions about Brown.
“Right now is not the time nor the place,” he said in a stern tone. “We’re here to focus on bigger issues, greater issues, and that’s these kids that are here at the back. It’s not fair to them. When the time comes, I will address that, but right now is not that time.”
Asked when that time would be, Bryant cut off his questioner, saying, “Now is not the time.”
The Bryants spent about 20 minutes talking privately with some of the young people who frequent the nonprofit A Friend’s Place on Hollywood Boulevard. They told them how they ended up homeless.
“We want to help them kick butt,” he said, drawing laughter.
Bryant and his wife, who live in wealthy Orange County about an hour’s drive from Hollywood, are “kind of brand new” to the issue of homelessness, he said.
“We’re still educating ourselves and will continue to do so,” he said. “The important thing for us is that we’re going to attack this.”
Dressed in a navy polo shirt and navy slacks, Bryant towered over everyone in the youth center. Vanessa Bryant, sporting a coral mani-pedi and an off-the-shoulders creme top, didn’t speak.
Bryant said he’s seen homeless kids on the streets outside Staples Center, where the Lakers play.
“It shocked the hell out of me because I had no idea,” he said. “After a game, driving home you kind of see the issue around you, but you don’t see it. It’s all around us. It’s something that we can solve.”