Kobe Bryant has proven this season that he can still mix it with the best of them on the court, averaging 28 points per game in this his 18th season in the NBA.
His trash talking hasn't been bad either, with one particular incident with former teammate Dwight Howard in game one of the 2014-15 season showing that Bryant's fiery temperament hasn't cooled in his latter years.
Kobe and Howard got into it during the Lakers - Rockets season opener. With the Houston big man having appeared to throw an elbow at Bryant, Kobe sent a volley of abuse in the direction of his ex-Lakers teammate with officials having to step in the middle of the two stars to ensure things didn't boil over.
"In moments of confrontation during a game you’ll say things during the heat of the moment."
The incident added fuel to the pair's long running feud, and with Kevin Durant also throwing some words Howard's way this past week, it seems the Houston star has taken his fair share of criticism this season.
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But today Kobe Bryant has tried to downplay the incidents, admitting regret over what can be said in the heat of the battle.
"I don't feel that way and I don't thin Kevin does either," the Lakers star told Make Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
"In moments of confrontation during a game you’ll say things during the heat of the moment. I know Dwight, I’m sure Kevin does. We don’t feel that way about him. It’s like when you get in an argument with somebody you’ll say things out of frustration or anger that you really don’t mean.”
Caught on camera
Bryant went on to suggest that, during the high intensity environment of an NBA game, things get said without the usual social checks adding that he is more aware of what he says during games nowadays thanks to social media.
"Everybody had a camera. You try to be conscious as possible in the fact that kids are watching."
An apology of sorts then from Kobe Bryant which is about as much as you can expect from one of the most competitive guys in the business.
Whether Dwight Howard himself feels the need to respond and apologize himself for throwing elbows remains to be seen.