By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Since the early Kobe and Shaq days, it seems like the Lakers have continually stayed relevant and interesting in the NBA world, filled with five titles and unlimited drama.
But despite that incredibly successful decade-plus, there was a brief downward spiral — known as the Dark Ages — in Lakerland. Between 2005-07, they failed to make the second round of the playoffs, missing completely during one 34-48 season.
Coming off a strong five-year stretch since, that included two titles, and with unprecedented talent still surrounding him, Bryant candidly reflected on those dark days with some sharp shots toward his former teammates.
“I tell Steve (Nash), you won MVP (in 2005 and 2006), but I was playing with Smush Parker,” Bryant told reporters. ”He’s playing with Leandro Barbosa, I’m playing with Smush and Kwame Brown. My goodness.”
But Bryant wasn’t done berating Parker.
“Smush Parker was the worst,” Bryant continued. “He shouldn’t have been in the NBA, but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. We let him walk on. Smush Parker, with Tierre Brown as the backup. I’m taking 45 shots a game. What was I supposed to do, pass the ball in to Chris Mihm? Chris Mihm?”
Tell us what you really think Kobe.
And if you were wondering what Parker thought of the comments, well, Smush successfully fired back a few haymakers.
“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,” Parker told Hard 2 Guard radio. “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.”
“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,” Parker continued. “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.”
Among his other revealing comments, Parker said that Bryant sat in the back of the plane and rarely talked to teammates, preferring rather to converse with his security guards.
“Whenever Kobe is happy, the Lakers are happy,” Parker said. Whenever Kobe smiles, the team smiles. They should be the Los Angeles Bryants.”
But the feud wasn’t over there. There was no way Kobe wasn’t getting the last word.
I gave him his little 30 minutes of fame again,” Bryant told the LA Times. “I wish him the best of luck. He’s playing China right now, right? I wish him the best of luck. Maybe he can get back to the NBA one day, see what it’s like up-close again.”
Doesn’t matter who’s side your on. With this kind of hilarious public feud, the likes of which we rarely see nowadays, we all won.