The Los Angeles Lakers introduced their three off-season pickups on Wednesday as Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, and Brandon Bass all had their introductory press conference. While all three spoke about what they will bring to the team next season, an awkward moment occurred when they were asked if they had spoken to Kobe Bryant as all three remained silent.
This obviously was an indication that Kobe hadn’t reached out to any of them and some wondered if this showed a lack of leadership on Kobe’s part. Charles Barkley of TNT Sports, however, appeared on The Mike and Mike Show and believes that Kobe Bryant is simply a loner and not reaching out isn’t a huge deal as transcribed by FoxSports.com:
Do I think it’s unusual? No. Kobe is a loner. He’s obviously one of the 10 greatest basketball players ever, and he’s always treated me with respect. But he’s a loner. He’s got a one-track mind as far as basketball goes, and I don’t think he’s the type of guy — doesn’t make him a bad guy — who’s gonna reach out to guys like that. He will see them in training camp.”
Kobe is surely a different type of leader than most other players in the NBA. While he has gotten better at mentoring young players, he will never be the cheerful guy who reaches out regularly to every new player the Lakers bring in. As Barkley said, once training camp comes around there will be no issues at all.
Bryant was great in helping Julius Randle after he was injured in the Lakers’ season opener and many players have spoken out about Kobe being a great leader. Kobe not speaking to Hibbert, Williams, and Bass really shouldn’t be too big of a deal and while it looks negative, everything will be forgotten once these players get on the court.