Kobe Bryant is one of the NBA’s greatest competitors and one of the best winners the league has ever seen. Bryant also has had his fair share of controversy throughout his career and now that he is in the final stages of his career, some have wondered whether Bryant is hurting the Lakers.
ESPN’s Henry Abbott penned an article looking at the possible harm Kobe is doing to the Lakers today, with one of his sources saying Kobe only wants to win as long as he is responsible:
He wants to win,” says a source close to Lakers decision makers. “But only as long as he’s the reason we’re winning, as long as the performance is not affecting his numbers. No one works harder than Kobe. And no one sabotages his own efforts more. He’s scaring off the free agents we’re trying to get. We’re trying to surround you with talent and your ego is getting in the way.
That is an extremely scathing quote from someone supposedly close to the Lakers. The notion that Kobe only wants to win if he’s the reason is something that really can’t be proven. Three of his five rings came with Shaquille O’Neal as the primary reason for the success.
The free agent argument is also difficult to prove. As Abbott’s source said, no one works harder than Kobe, and it is well known that he tends to butt heads with players who don’t have that same work ethic. His rift with Shaq was based on that, and his issues with Dwight Howard were based on something similar.
However, there was a real possibility of the Lakers landing Carmelo Anthony this summer, and many reported that the Lakers were favorites to land him after their meeting. The timing of ESPN releasing this article will also raise eyebrows as Kobe did call ESPN ‘a bunch of idiots’ last week after they ranked him as the 40th best player in the league.
Kobe Bryant On Lakers Identity Moving Forward, ‘Smashmouth Basketball’