Smush Parker, who Kobe Bryant called “the worst” in an interview this week, hit back with full force yesterday.In an interview with Hard 2 Guard Radio (via Larry Brown Sports), Parker painted Kobe as a diva and a bad teammate.
Some of the allegations: Kobe refused to let Parker talk to him about football because he didn’t have enough “accolades under his belt,” Kobe once sat at his own table when the team went out for a big dinner, and their relationship got so bad that Parker stopped passing him the ball in 2007.
He also said the Lakers should be called the Los Angeles Bryants.
All this is in response to Kobe saying of Parker, among other things, “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.”
Here is a sampling of what Parker said:
“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.”
“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.”
“On road trips, he traveled with his security guards. Those were the guys he talked to. On the team plane, he sat in the back of the plane by himself.”
“The reason I wasn’t a Laker after my second year is because I didn’t bow down to [Kobe]. I didn’t kiss his a–. 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.”
It’s no secret that Kobe has a reputation for being hyper-competitive and demanding a lot from his teammates. That’s part of what makes him one of the best players ever.
But it’s clear that some guys, like Smush, were total mismatches with that sort of leadership style.
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