Think you had a bad day at your job?
Try spending the Memorial Day weekend making demands that your company hires a new boss that you like. Then, when that boss says he's really not interested, you leak out that you may want out of your place of employment.
Then, imagine going on national radio to say you never said that ... only to go on national radio the next morning, blubbering, to tell the world that you are unhappy. Then, as everyone in the sports world is talking about you ... you go back on the radio a few more times to say that it could be worked out if they fire someone.
Now, get back to work!
So goes the Kobe Bryant saga. I am a Laker fan and I think Kobe Bryant is the best player in the NBA. Easily. However, he may be the biggest jerk, too. And ... no ... this isn't something that is just coming out of my mouth now.
Do I blame him for Shaq leaving? Yes and no. See, unlike everyone else in the world, I think it was a combination of a lot of people. Shaq was breaking down, not worth $30M a season or $80M for three seasons; Kobe was a free agent and there was a feeling that if Shaq stays, Kobe leaves; the team had to do what it had to do.
The irony is that Phil Jackson talked Kobe down off the ledge. Cuz, ya know, Kobe trusts Phil. The same Phil that wrote a book and called Kobe "uncoachable".
Kobe is right about one thing: the front office is a mess. You have Dr Jerry Buss who loves having the spotlight team; his son, who has no basketball experience; his daughter, who's dating Phil Jackson; Phil Jackson, the coach who feels he has a voice in the franchise's dealings; Mitch Kupchak, the guy in charge of the personnel decisions for the team and who's a protege of Jerry West ... the guy Kobe wants back. This power structure has gotten nothing done since the shakeup of 2004.
My Lakers consist of Kobe Bryant, an enigmatic Lamar Odom, a castoff of Smush Parker, the youngest player in the NBA in Andrew Bynum, one of the biggest busts in Kwame Brown, fool Vlad Radmanovic, cast off Shammond Williams, and youngsters Jordan Farmar and Ronny Turiaf. They've used the midlevel exceptions on Vlade Divac, Aaron McKie and Vlad Rad.
The biggest bargaining chip they have is Andrew Bynum, which could've netted the team certain big time players ... especially Jason Kidd that coulda put the Lakers in position to be on the right track. Since Bynum is sorta untradeable, that's a message to Kobe that his best years are being wasted and he does have a right to gripe.
Kobe does what Kobe does. Instead of making his demands to the team [which has said they haven't talked to him], he calls Dan Patrick, Stephen A Smith and whomever has radio air time and airs out his laundry there. Listen to the interviews and it sounds like one of those psychologist's shows where they try to solve people's problems.
He says he can't trust the franchise. The same franchise that bent over backwards for him during his entire rape allegations in Colorado. Trust? This is from the same guy that cheated on his wife in that Colorado resort. Trust? The same guy who threw Shaq's name out of his mouth during questioning after being arrested. Trust? The same guy that will run to ESPN instead of the people who actually have control on his problems.
He's a jerk and will always will be. But this jerk can ball and I want him staying in the purple and gold.