City Sports Report

Kobe Bryant’s Biggest Career Issue Has Been… Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant Has Left Another Teammate Behind (Photo by Marc Rasbury)

In the NBA’s

Kobe Bryant Has Left Another Teammate Behind (Photo by Marc Rasbury)

Kobe Bryant Has Left Another Teammate Behind (Photo by Marc Rasbury)

Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking up at the competition. They drafted two young pieces to help them rebuild this season (power forward Julius Randle and guard Jordan Clarkson), but their development could take some time. The state of the Lakers now is a far cry from where they used to be. It was almost a guarantee at one point in time that the Lakers would be in the playoffs. Nowadays it’s only a hope, as the team has some young pieces along with some mature, unproven ones. But the question remains as to what happened to make the Lakers this way? Was it management or coaching? Management had their hand in the Lakers problems, but so did one of the best players in team history.

Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in NBA history. But for as great of a player he is, he has not been the greatest teammate. Bryant has work ethic that rivals the greats in any sport. But like some great players before him, he can sometimes push players over the edge. Some bring up Michael Jordan when speaking of being hard on his teammates. That was very true of him at one point, but Jordan learned over time that some people have different ways they do things. As Jordan learned that, he became a better teammate and helped guide the Bulls to even higher heights as an organization. In the case of Kobe, I believe he cost himself some championships with his way of approaching things. Back when he and Shaq were winning titles for the Lakers, both were bickering behind the scenes a lot. It was perceived as a power struggle, but it was far more than what most would think as shown in this ESPN article from 2003: . Kobe’s way of doing things was not the same as Shaq’s. And it’s because of that, Kobe felt the need to go on record to talk about the shape Shaq was in as a player, among other things. Of course Shaq did not like what was said and the unrest between both (among other things) led to Shaq being traded to the Miami Heat. Shaq’s way of training for the season was not known to be the greatest (Shaq was rumored to show up out of shape), but instead of taking it to Shaq, Kobe took it to the media, something he should have never done. As a result, it rubbed Shaq the wrong way and he eventually was gone, breaking up one of the best tandems in recent basketball history.

But the rubbing of folks the wrong way did not end with Shaq. Kobe has long been known to have a high standard that he keeps for himself and others. There is nothing wrong with having high standards, but there is a way to handle others who do things differently in a professional manner. Another example of him rubbing folks the wrong way was the Dwight Howard mess in Los Angeles. When Howard and star point guard Steve Nash were traded to the Lakers, plenty believed the Lakers were headed to an NBA title. But as the season wore on, it was proven that this team was nowhere near title ready. Sure, the Lakers made the playoffs, but it seemed like the Dwight/Kobe relationship was frosty at best. All season long, there were talks of how they did not get along at all. Dwight’s jovial demeanor most of the time seemed to irritate Kobe, especially when things did not look so good. And it all culminated when Dwight left Los Angeles for Houston. In his free agent meeting before his decision, Kobe met with Dwight, along with Lakers brass to discuss how he could help Howard win and show him how to be a champion. In other words, he wanted to show Howard how to do things his way and not understand who Dwight was. Kobe’s words, along with Howard’s own thoughts of himself led to him leaving the franchise, and for less money at that.

The problem with the Lakers can be said to be ownership and coaching, but the truth is the Lakers will not begin their upward movement until Kobe Bryant gets out of the way. Kobe, throughout his entire career, has shown that he prefers playing with guys that are not as strong-minded as he can be. And though it has never been said, his persona seems to be a turnoff from other stars or rising stars from coming to the Lakers organization to play with him. Kobe, like some other superstars before him, did not seem to be willing to pass the torch to the next star of the organization. And even though words have been said to make people think he is willing to do so, we all know the truth. Kobe and his legacy are the most important thing going in Bryant’s world at this point in time. But what he failed to realize is if he would have accepted the other ways people do things and had been willing to accept potentially another alpha male in the organization, he may have had more championship rings over his career than Michael Jordan. Instead he is now wasting away with a Lakers team that may be one of the worst in the Western Conference without any proven heir apparent in sight.

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One Comment

  1. Pingback: Blame Kobe Bryant, the $46 Million Man

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