Kobe Bryant made headlines on Wednesday night when he took he some very funny, but sort of mean-spirited shots at his former teammate, Smush Parker. Kobe and Smush, you will recall, played together from 2005-2007 – a time during which the Lakers were mired in mediocrity and could not advance past the first round of the playoffs. Their relationship was never particularly great (remember how Smush tried to rain on Kobe’s parade following his 81 point game?), but it really soured once Smush was gone.
A day after Kobe said that Smush “shouldn’t have been in the NBA, but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard” and lamented that he “almost won the MVP with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown on my team,” Smush decided it was time to fire back.
“I’m lost for words. It makes me blush. For my name to still come out of that man’s mouth? It makes me blush,” he told Hard 2 Guard.
“The two years in LA were a blessing to me,” he said. “People who ask me how it was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. People ask me how it was playing with Kobe Bryant. I said in 2008 that it was an overrated experience.”
And what is it, specifically, that Smush doesn’t like about Kobe?
“You can’t knock the man’s legacy, you can’t knock what he’s done in basketball. His work ethic is tremendous. There’s not an ounce of hate in my blood whatsoever. The guy can play basketball — you’ve seen that throughout his career.
“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.
“Basketball is a team sport. It is team-oriented. It is not an individual sport. 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.”
This, by far, was the best quote:
“I had a workout with the Lakers, beat all the guards out for the starting position, earned a spot on the team. Midway through the first season, I tried to at least have a conversation with Kobe Bryant — he is my teammate, he is a co-worker of mine, I see his face every day I go in to work — and I tried to talk with him about football. He tells me I can’t talk to him. He tells me I need more accolades under my belt before I come talk to him. He was dead serious.”
Larry Brown Sports has some more great tidbits from that interview – particularly ones where Smush discusses how he stopped passing Kobe the ball. They offer a lot of insight into why the pair’s beef is so crazy right now.
All that said, take this with a grain of salt. Smush’s side of things is just that – Smush’s side of things. Kobe has had a lot of teammates over the years, and yet nobody else has ever come forward and said that he told them they couldn’t speak to him.
People rarely act like that unless you give them a reason to.
Then again, with Kobe, you never know.
(Kudos Larry Brown Sports)