Kobe Bryant says he'd kneel during anthem if he was still playing

Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant revealed he would kneel in protest during the US national anthem if he was still playing basketball.

Kobe Bryant's blissful retirement is the only thing stopping him from taking a stand.

Following NBA commissioner Adam Silver's reiteration of the league rule stating all players must stand during the United States national anthem, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to lock arms as a compromise ahead of their preseason games.

USA president Donald Trump has been under fire in recent weeks after tweeting that NFL players who kneel should be "fired", while he rescinded his invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House after Stephen Curry expressed hesitation regarding the team's trip.

Lakers great and five-time NBA champion Bryant revealed he would kneel in protest during the national anthem if he was still playing basketball.

"Kneel," Bryant replied during a rapid-fire question-and-answer portion during his appearance on The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast on Wednesday.

When asked what he would say to Trump if given the opportunity to speak with him directly, Bryant did not hold back.

"Focus on serving, not leading," Bryant responded.

Bryant, 39, retired at the end of the 2015-16 season after spending his entire 20-year career in Los Angeles.

The Lakers are scheduled to retire both his number eight and 24 jerseys during a pregame ceremony before the team's matchup against Golden State on December 18.