Kobe Bryant never has been afraid to speak his mind.
So, when U.S. men’s soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann mentioned the Los Angeles Lakers star in a recent interview with the New York Times, it was only a matter of time before Bryant responded.
That moment finally came Tuesday, when Bryant did an interview with ESPN in Brazil, where he is on hand to check out the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Bryant was asked for his reaction to the recent comments made by Klinsmann, who used the Lakers star as an example to criticize the tendency in American professional sports to pay athletes for past performances rather than future expectations.
“I thought it was pretty funny,” Bryant said. “I thought it was pretty comical, actually.”
Bryant argued that while he understands where Klinsmann is coming from, he believes the German-born coach is lacking some valuable perspective.
“I see his perspective,” Bryant said. “But the one perspective that he’s missing from an ownership point of view is that you want to be part of an ownership group that is rewarding its players for what they’ve done, while balancing the team going forward. … Jurgen is a coach, a manager. He’s not a GM or owner of the franchise. When you look at it from that perspective, it changes a little bit.”
The aging All-Star signed a two-year, $48.5 million contract at the age of 35 last November, so it’s really not surprising that Bryant disagrees with Klinsmann.
“But you probably could have used another player as an example,” Bryant jokingly added.
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