Monday, December 13, 2004

Can't I Just Watch My Lakers Play Basketball

Even I am getting tired of this garbage.

Kobe Bryant is in the middle of yet another controversy with the Lakers….this time feuding with one-season Laker Karl Malone. A week ago….there were an imminent deal on the table to send guard Kareem Rush to the Charlotte Bobcats for table scraps….essentially opening the door [and a roster spot] for Karl Malone to return to the team.

After that….bam!

Kobe Bryant went on a local radio station to defend his team…and basically say that it unfair to the guys that were there and already put the time in for the Lakers to speculate what a guy that hasn’t even committed to the team may do. Karl was miffed about the comments…complaining that he doesn’t want to be a ‘distraction’. The media descended on Kobe because of yet another former teammate has a rift with him. Kobe backed off a little…saying he didn’t mean to offend Malone by his comments. Since then, it has speculation about where Malone will end up and why Kobe’s a jerk. Then the story took a Soap Opera twist over the weekend.

Now the story is here: Karl Malone hit on Kobe’s wife Vanessa the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. On November 23.…the Bucks visited the Lakers. Vanessa Bryant was sitting at the game and on her cell phone with Malone’s wife Kaye. Vanessa, seeing Karl sitting with his son in the front row, asked Kaye to call Karl and have their son come up and sit with her since he was looking bored. Kaye gave Vanessa Karl’s cell number….so Vanessa called [which was the first time Karl and Vanessa had talked without either Kobe or Kaye around]. And the speculation turns.


When Vanessa called Karl…he apparently replied “Why don't you come over here and sit next to me and give me a big hug”' When Vanessa asked why…Karl replied, “If you do that it will be on the cover of every magazine in the country.”

“Do you like me?”…Karl asked. Vanessa told him that she was a married woman and that Karl was old enough to be her father [zing!]. Karl zinged back with “Oh, like your daddy?” Eventually, Karl’s son came up to sit with Vanessa. After the game ended…Vanessa walked the young Malone down to Karl. That’s where the capper comes in.

Vanessa: “Hey, cowboy…what are you hunting?”

Malone [wearing cowboys boots and hat]: “I’m hunting for little Mexican girls.”


On the ride home…Vanessa told Kobe of the incident. She then called Kaye and told her of the incident. Kobe called Karl about the incident. And that leads us to this past week.

Just another chapter in Days Of Our Lakers. Frankly…I am growing sick of it. I love my Lakers [yeah, I said ‘my‘]. I’ve been a Laker fan since I learned about basketball….when I was about 10...and the only teams on TV were the Lakers and Celtics. Magic Johnson grabbed my attention….and I was a Laker Lover ever since. I’ll defend ‘my’ Lakers to the fullest.

But, I will also smack them when I feel appropriate. Now…there really is nothing inheritably wrong with any reactions of this past week. I somewhat agree with Kobe’s original comments about Malone. I somewhat agree with Malone’s reaction to it. And I somewhat agree with Kobe’s feelings of Malone if this incident is true. I also see the irony of Kobe vehemently defending his wife’s honor…after he embarrassed her by cheating on her with a hotel clerk in Colorado that pretty much laid the foundation for everything that has gone on over the last 17 months.

As Laker fans, we’ve had to deal with Kobe’s sexual assault case, deal with the explosion of the Shaq/Kobe/Phil triangle, Gary Payton going Gary Payton, getting spanked in the NBA Finals, the entire revamping of the roster, Kobe testing the free agent market, to deal or not to deal Shaq, getting a new coach in, Phil’s book, defending the trade of Shaq, Shaq’s comments lobbied about everyone, blah, blah, blah. People we loved….we now hate. People we hated….we loved….then hate again.

                     Kobe Bryant

I’m not a “KobePhile”…as some Haters love to moniker all Laker fans. I’ll support Kobe and the Lakers as my duty as a fan. He’s one of the best players in the NBA…and has accomplished quite a bit at his age. But, I’ve always said he’s a jerk. He’s a jerk. He’s a egotistical jerk. I’ll never deny that. But, he’s one hell of a player….and as a player for a professional team, who cares if he’s a jerk?? He’s our jerk.

But the jerk is quite the lightning rod. He’s the most loved and hated athlete right now. Many defend his greatness….many shoot that theory down. There are Laker writers who see no wrong in him…and there are Laker writers [read: Shaq guys] that blame everything on him. He can’t win either way. So, Kobe…here is some advice. Screw them. Don’t try to please them. You can’t. You could win a championship with this crew….and they’d still find fault in it. So why bother.

I just want my normal team back. You know, a team where you can watch the game and not have some sort of cloud overhead or Jim Gray hiding under bleachers. I mean, I’m glad the ol’ “Kobe getting off the plane from Colorado and walking down the tunnel minutes before tip out” camera is gone. I’m glad the ol’ “Shaq and Kobe running down the court not acknowledging the others existence” tapes are wearing thin. I’d love it if the ol’ “let’s hear Stephen A. Smith’s meaningless take on the situation” went down the tubes as well [on a side note….Smith’s “at the end of the day” staple is my new pet peeve].

Just give me normal…like when Van Exel and Magic are pushing refs….lol.

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