NBA Agents: Nobody Wants To Play With Kobe, Has He Lost His Juice?
BY: John “Hennry” Harris
Let me start this off by saying, “I am a Lakers fan and have been one since before Norm Nixon blew out his knee, when Magic, Kareem and Worthy dominated before anyone ever coined the term “Big 3” and before anyone knew about a Kobe Bryant.”
Kobe Bryant, self-admittedly patterned not only his game, but himself, after Michael Jordan and is one of the most determined competitors in the game of basketball. However, he also has assumed the prickly demeanor and polarizing personality that Jordan reportedly displayed which was subtly hidden behind great marketing and even greater achievements on the basketball court.
ESPN recently ranked Kobe, a 5-time NBA championship winner, who looks to be on the downside of his career after only playing six games last season due to injury, as the 40th best player in the league. Kobe responded by calling the writers at ESPN “idiots” and now ESPN seems to be on the attack.
Henry Abbott, in the new ESPN The Magazine, wrote an absolutely brutal article which points to Kobe as the reason for the Lakers inability to sign quality players because no one wants to play with him. Abbott relies heavily on anonymous agents as sources and even cites people who say that Kobe has sabotaged free agency negotiations with other “big names” since 2011.
One anonymous “source close to Lakers decision makers” told Abbott:
“He wants to win. 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.”
Other sources had more personal offerings about Kobe:
“Peek behind the banners,” says one longtime NBA agent, “and it’s rotten.”
Another agent with current Lakers clients was asked whether Bryant undermined the team’s rebuilding by alienating would-be free agent recruits. “Well, duh,” he replied. “Isn’t that obvious?”
“I’ve had a lot of clients in the last five years, good players, who didn’t want to play with Kobe,” says an agent who has had numerous NBA stars. “They see that his teammates become the chronic public whipping boys. Anyone who could possibly challenge Kobe for the spotlight ends up becoming a pincushion for the media. Even Shaq.”
Is this treatment that Kobe is getting just the “chickens coming home to roost?” Or is the Lakers situation just the manifestation of Jerry Buss‘ declining health, and ultimate death, leading to a long string of bad moves from Buss’ son, Jim?
BOSSes, can the Black Mamba strike again? Or has he been turned into a garter snake?
Kobe, the ball is in your court .. what are you going to do?
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