After news spread of Rice's abuse, thanks to a clandestinely shot video of the coach screaming gay slurs, shoving and even throwing a basketball at the heads of his players, Bryant tweeted his disapproval, calling Rice a bully.
In an interview with Jim Rome, Bryant said he would have "smacked the hell out of him" if Rice had tried the same thing on him.
"No question about it," Bryant said. "That probably wouldn't have been the best way to react to it but that's how I would have reacted to it."
Now Kobe is hardly a shrinking violet -- at 19, he recalls, "I was going at it with Shaq[uille O'Neal on the Lakers], think I'm going to let a coach throw a ball at my head?" -- but as one of the most accomplished players in the game, Bryant's condemnation is all the heavier.