- Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Just like a lot of folks, the Los Angeles Lakers are watching their weight this holiday season.
Kobe Bryant, who said he weighed in at 225 after not playing a game in nearly eight months because of his torn Achilles, has already lost five pounds by his estimation since returning to the lineup. His playing weight the last couple seasons had been around 200 pounds.
Now Bryant, 35, is trying to get Pau Gasol, 33, to join him. 'Tis the season to be dieting.
"I told him I thought the thing that really helped me out, I dropped some weight," Bryant said after practice Thursday. "I told him he should probably measure it himself, see if that's something he needs to do himself. As we get older, our metabolism slows, we quietly become a little heavy."
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said that he would leave it up to Gasol to manage his body.
"I think that's between him and [conditioning coach] Tim [DiFrancesco] and the strength guys," D'Antoni said. "I think coming off of inactivity this summer, I think he is a little sluggish, but I think that will go away if he keeps playing. The biggest thing is just, everybody to a man has got to play harder and worry about things less."
Gasol is listed as 275 pounds in the Lakers media guide. The weight is based on what the player tips the scales at during training camp. He was listed at 250 pounds last season.
After the Lakers' 122-97 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, Gasol said he is now at 259 pounds after starting the season closer to 270 and that his body fat percentage is "probably the best I've been."
Gasol came into Friday averaging 14.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists this season while shooting a career-low 41.7 percent from the field. He had 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting with seven rebounds against the Thunder.
He admitted that he has noticed a stricter diet benefiting other aging All-Stars around the league.
"It's good to have a good solid muscle, but as you get older you want to help your joints by losing a little weight," Gasol said. "Tim Duncan has done that. I think Dirk [Nowitzki] has slimmed down. I think that's a way to prolong your career. So, I understand where [Bryant is] coming from."
D'Antoni, 62, who is coming off of reconstructive knee surgery from last November, has not let age or injury act as an excuse in trying to personally stay in shape.
"I've lost a little weight," D'Antoni said with a smile. "I've done my part."
7hAmin Elhassan and Baxter Holmes