Kobe Bryant’s role in getting Shaquille O’Neal and Phil Jackson off the Los Angeles Lakers eight years ago is a thing of a legend. Despite the fact that some of the popularly believed details of that whole ordeal have been proven to be false, and regardless of the fact that all three buried the hatchet a long time ago, Bryant continues to be the object of a lot of people’s scorn for what went down in 2004. To those who aren’t particularly fond of him, he is a Coach Killer.
With that in mind, it should come as no surprise to anyone that some people are holding Mike Brown’s recent termination against the Black Mamba. Even though he has said, repeatedly, that he liked his now former head coach, at least three prominent NBA personalities aren’t buying that.
Here was LeBron James’ take on the matter (via ESPN):
"I think it's unfortunate," James said Friday of Brown’s firing. "I just don't think he got a fair shake, honestly. With the shortened season last year, and five games into this year, he didn't really get a full season.
"I've got a lot to say, but I'm not going to say it right now. I wish him the best, but I just think it's unfortunate and it's just, you know, how the league is. They can do what they want to do."
Oh the irony. Here was Lamar Odom’s take on it (via TMZ):
And, finally, LaMarcus Aldridge’s take (via The Oregonian):
“I don’t know what to say -- if Kobe isn’t happy, then that’s tough,” Aldridge said. “I have been getting word that he wasn’t happy with how things were going, and if he’s not happy, then your chances there are pretty slim -- as we saw with Shaq. … Everybody talks around the league, and there was talk that he wasn’t happy. “
So there you have it: Bryant got his coach fired. Is that the reality of this situation? Probably not. But that’s going to be the popular sentiment anyway.
The truth of the matter is, Kobe probably has far less say in team operations now than anyone actually thinks. He has two to three years left with the Lakers, max. It is very doubtful, despite what Stephen A. Smith wants you to believe, that he is actually calling any shots at all. He was fine with Brown. He will be fine with Mike D'Antoni. He probably didn’t campaign for either one. It’s all the same to him. He will do whatever he wants do no matter who is in charge.