Kobe Bryant‘s supporting cast this season is perhaps the best it’s ever been, championship seasons included. However, there were times when things weren’t looking so bright out in L.A., and Bryant doesn’t exactly have fond memories of those days.
So what does Bryant do when he’s not happy? Blame other people.
Bryant put together a tremendous season in 2005-06, a year after the Lakers shipped Shaquille O’Neal to Miami, averaging 35.4 points and garnering MVP consideration. Bryant’s supporting cast was rather lackluster, though, which is something he wanted to make perfectly clear when looking back on that 45-win season for Los Angeles.
“I almost won an MVP with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown on my team,” Bryant said Wednesday, according to The Orange County Register. “I was shooting 45 times a game. What was I supposed to do? Pass it to Chris Mihm or Kwame Brown.”
Clearly, Bryant isn’t a big fan of Smush Parker, Chris Mihm and Kwame Brown. That’s somewhat understandable when you look at how stacked the Lakers are entering this season, but calling players out by name six years later doesn’t make much sense.
The assault on Parker apparently continued, too, with Bryant calling him “the worst.”
“He shouldn’t have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So we let him walk on,” Bryant reportedly said.
Wow. Talk about smashing Smush.
Don’t worry, though. Parker, who is currently playing in China, responded on Thursday. And while it appeared he wanted to avoid any further verbal altercations, even praising Bryant’s basketball legacy, he did reveal some interesting tidbits about Bryant as a teammate.
“What I don’t like about him is the man that he is. His personality. How he treats people. I don’t like that side of Kobe Bryant,” Parker said after lauding Bryant’s work ethic and hoops resume.
“Basketball is a team sport. It is team-oriented. It is not an individual sport,” Parker continued. “It’s not tennis or golf, it is a team sport. When you are the star of the team, you have to make your teammates feel comfortable. You have to make them feel welcome. And he did not do that at all.”
Parker, who — unlike Bryant — feels he earned a spot on the Lakers’ roster that 2005-06 season, said that he tried to talk to Bryant, but that the 14-time All-Star was unwilling to partake.
“He tells me I can’t talk to him,” Parker said. “He tells me I need more accolades under my belt before I come talk to him. He was dead serious.”
Parker also described a team dinner in which Bryant sat at a separate table, which shouldn’t have been much of a surprise since, according to Parker, Bryant frequently sat in the back of the team plane by himself. In fact, Parker thinks it’s his unwillingness to give in to Bryant’s ways that ultimately led to his departure from the Lakers.
“The reason I wasn’t a Laker after my second year is because I didn’t bow down to [Bryant],” Parker said. “I didn’t kiss his ass. I wasn’t kissing his feet. Quite frankly, towards the end of the second season, I stopped passing him the ball. I stopped giving him the ball. I started looking him off.”
Looking Bryant off probably wasn’t the smartest idea when trying to win games, so clearly the displeasure was pretty intense — so intense that Parker thinks a new team name might be in order.
“Whenever Kobe is happy, the Lakers are happy. Whenever Kobe smiles, the team smiles,” Parker said. “They should be the Los Angeles Bryants.”
Something tells me that wouldn’t sit well with Dwight Howard.
H/T to Larry Brown Sports
Smush Parker thumbnail photo (left) via Flickr/Keith Allison
Hey, someone check that kid’s ID.
We just kept telling ourselves, ‘This is not the last night of the season,’
–J.J. Hardy, whose Orioles lived to see another day by beating the Yankees in Game 4 on Thursday night
I guess I could walk on egg shells but I’d rather throw them at people with no sense of humor. #FreeThinker✌✌✌✌✌
— brandon spikes (@BrandonSpikes55) October 11, 2012
You might need earplugs, but happy Friday!