updated 09/28/2012 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 09/28/2012 AT 2:15 PM ET
L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant is one of the best players in the NBA, but there is one opponent he goes a little easy on: President Barack Obama.
Bryant, who has played some games against the commander-in-chief at the White House, says Obama is “very, very good” on the basketball court, but Bryant was tentative about going full-out during their competitions.
“The thing that s interesting is that if he makes a nice move, you kind of catch yourself,” Bryant tells Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show Friday. “I m going to steal the ball from him. Then all the sudden, I start peeking around looking for the CIA. I say, you know, I should just let him go.”
DeGeneres agrees, advising Bryant, “Let him win.”
But Bryant says he couldn’t hold back when it came to some harmless trash-talking on the court – but he swears he didn’t start it.
“He talks a lot of trash,” Bryant says of Obama. “You know he’s from Chicago – the Bulls through and through. He always talks Bulls this, the Bulls that. I’m like, my goodness. Can I talk trash to the President?”
Asked if he did indeed trash-talk right back, Bryant says, “Of course I did. I couldn t help it.”