NBA / May 8, 2009 / 5:38 pm

Is Kobe A Dirty Player?

Kobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

Kobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

SI’s Steve Aschburner isn’t even asking the question. He’s coming right out and saying that Kobe is a definitively dirty player.

“I’m coming with the good stuff right up top: Kobe Bryant is a dirty player,” writes Aschburner. “Not definitive enough for you? OK, then let the record show that Kobe Bean Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers is the eighth most dirty player in the NBA.”

Aschburner points to a couple of incidents as backing for this claim. (1) The elbow he delivered to Ron Artest. Aschburner says it was to Ron-Ron’s throat. Ron said it hit him in the throat, but the video evidence doesn’t prove where the elbow ultimately landed. (2) The punch he threw at Chris Childs in 2000. (3) The punch he threw at Reggie Miller in 2002. (4) An elbow he delivered to the throat of Mike Miller in 2005, which earned him a two-game suspension. (5) “Flailing his shooting arm” into the face of Manu Ginobili, and then doing the same to Marko Jaric, meriting a one-game suspension for each incident during the ’06-07 season. (6) A flagrant 1 that he earned for elbowing Kyle Korver in the jaw in March ’07.

That’s a more substantial resume than many NBA players. But is it enough to determine Kobe’s status as a dirty player?

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  • TL

    Thank god somebody finally speaks out. Don’t forget in Game 1 Kobe kneed Battier after they got tangled up and they were both trying to recover. That’s some BS! Can’t wait until tonight’s game!

  • http://www.j83out.blogspot.com Jwill

    Hahahaha what a joke! Wow, you found 6 incidents in what…a 13 year career? Congratulations. Any NBA player likely has just as many if not more, but because it’s Kobe, someone actually noticed and kept note of it. Kobe is a tough player, who is always taking shots from the opponent, so of course he’s taken a few back…but dirty? Not even close.

  • lax inc

    I read his article on cnnsi. And I thought it was one of the worst written articles I have ever read. Barely half of it made any sense and it just seemed like he knew that but didnt care cuz KOBE IS A DIRTY PLAYER was at the top and knew ppl would read it anyway.

  • Big Mike

    Players did much worse in the 80’s and 90’s. Kobe takes a lot of abuse so he has to dish some out. The L has gotten carried away with this ticky tack BS..


  • http://www.j83out.blogspot.com Jwill

    Oh and p.s. Battier is the punk for pulling the hand in the eyes move every time and face-guarding Kobe. You’re supposed to play the ball and every one who ever has played any basketball knows that move is a little b*tch move. You could say that is a dangerous play since almost every time he almost pokes Kobe in the eye or face. And Kobe still destroyed him.

  • stefan

    to be a defensive player of the year candidate you have to be a dirty player! but who says that’s a bad thing ?

  • Curtis G

    Good list, but he left off the rib shot and knee he gave Battier in game 1 this year. Those two things alone would qualify him as a dirty player more than the other things he listed. However, I won’t say that Kobe is dirty… he’s advantageous. He is only doing what he know’s he can get away with when he needs to do it. For example, he can go long stretches without a single incident such as the entire regular season this year. That fact alone should deny him a place on anybody’s dirty list since it is a well known fact that dirty players play dirty, well, all the time whether the situation merits it or not a’la Bruce Bowen. Dirty players like Bowen have integrated dirty tactics into their game so subtly that no one can really say if the tactics are intentional or not (which is the question always at the heart of a dirty player argument). In Bowen’s case, his tactics during a game (and there sometimes disconcerting results) may very well be unconsciously performed, but they sure as hell were learned and instilled in a very conscious way and to ask him to stop doing some of the things he does would be to effectively ask him to stop being Bruce Bowen! The issue with this argument though is covertness and, when it comes to Kobe, very little of what he does is covert. In fact, it is the other way. A flying elbow is VERY noticeable! However, a player like Kobe knows his status in the NBA (he’s an industry darling) and uses that to his advantage. Sometimes he gambles (read that as cheat) by hitting opponents and most times the NBA turns a blind eye. Sometimes he gambles though and the brashness of the act leaves the NBA little choice but to do something. Make no mistake about it that if Artest doesn’t say anything about the errant elbow, Kobe never gets the flagrant 1 even though Stu is sitting right in the f*cking audience! My point is that Kobe is not a dirty player (although he gets in his fair share of cheapshots), but hell, if the NBA is going to let me go ape sh*t crazy on people at will with little or no consequences, then you’re d*mn right I am going to hit a few people in the neck..err. chest every once in a while!

  • Curtis G

    @ J-Will:
    How is face gaurding a b*tch move? Any person that has ever played ball at any level all the way to middle school is taught some form of face gaurding whether it be the outright Battier type face gaurd or the ever popular clapping in a shooters face as they get ready to shoot, it all serves the same purpose of trying to get the shooting player’s eyes off the rim and out of rhythym. Hell, I know mofos that yanked from games for failing to do it! It is BASIC defense… not the best defense but very f*cking basic. I can’t believe you said that…
    Aside from that, I agree with you that Kobe isn’t dirty. He hasn’t done a hell of a lot more than most players.

  • Big Mike

    Curtis G,
    Well said… There is hope for you yet. All players pull tactics that they think they can get away with.

  • Curtis G

    @ J-Will:
    How is face guarding a b*tch move? Any person that has ever played ball at any level all the way to middle school is taught some form of face guarding whether it be the outright Battier (Duke) type face guard or the ever popular clapping in a shooters face as they get ready to shoot, it all serves the same purpose of trying to get the shooting player’s eyes off the rim and out of rhythym. Hell, I know mofos that got yanked from games for failing to do it! It is BASIC defense… not the best defense, but very f*cking basic. I can’t believe you said that…
    Aside from that, I agree with you that Kobe isn’t dirty. Because of his staus, sh*t he does tend to stick in people’s minds but the reality is that he hasn’t done a hell of a lot more than most other players.

  • Curtis G

    Sorry about the double post everybody…

  • Baby Huey

    Of course he is a dirty player, is this really news?

  • Ian

    curtis i agree with you i said something like that about bowen a long time ago that some of his dirty ass shit he does it without noticing but kobe is dirty imo btw nothing wrong with that.

  • dk

    The ass the wrote the article should be burned at the stake, twice! Downright fucking blasephamous* …

  • ERIC

    Watch ESPN Classic for a playoff series in the 80s or 90s and there several of these “incididents” per series…. this is just the “no handchecking”, cleaning up the reputation (fights in the stands) nature of the nba these days..

    Bruce Bowen sliding the foot under a jump shooters ankle – DIRTY…

    Players holding, grabbing, hits to the ribs are dirty…

    Getting frustrated and throwing an elbow here or there doesnt make someone dirty…MJ got in plenty of fights (with reggie, greg anthony, all of the ‘bad boys’ pistons)… everything gets overblown with all the media coverage these days.

  • liukz

    almost every star IS

    Jordan Was: wasnt him pushing russell for THE SHOT

    Lebron is: isnt he using his shoulders everytime

    Garnett: he does illegal screens EVERY TIME he sets one

    Pierce: always using his arm and shoulder too

  • dagwaller

    @ work but I must point out what he was doing to Shane Battier while Battier was trying to get up in game one…an elbow and a knee in the face?

  • Gerard

    What about that elbow he threw in Bibby’s throat during the inbounds pass way back when? He didn’t get called for anything either.

  • DWill8

    Ya’ll salty. Just because he’s the best in the league…

  • knock knock

    LEBRONS a dirty player. anyone see last nights cavs game where he tackled joe smith in the air. followed by josh smith yelling at the ref and receiving a tech. amazing that this guy is averagin less than one foul a game when i see 8-10 instances every game where his “defense” is hacking. refs let this kid play as dirty d as he wants.–

  • LakeShow84

    @ Ian – wow you think Kobe is dirty?? didnt see that coming.. dont forget overrated and not a great player right..

    I think Kobe is dirty.. but i think its because teams are allowed to play him a lot rougher than most other superstars.. when he elbowed Millsap earlier in the playoffs it was because Millsap held him after the play was over.. Battier (for some reason i dont know) is allowed to bump and put his body on Kobe on the perimeter which last time i checked was illegal.. he also doesnt get called for holding KB’s jersey nearly as much as he does.. my point?? the man doesnt get his due space because defenders are constantly smothering him.. so what do you do??

    Shit i’d throw elbows too.. But has he ever injured somebody?? nope so he cant be that dirty.. has anyone (who mattered) ever come out and call him dirty and all the other players agree?? nope.. Shit Lebron, Durant and the other young stars admire dude.. so he cant be that dirty..

  • L-Dubb

    Kobe is not a dirty player. He is a smart player. He realizes the small nuances of the game can help win or lose a game. All of the great players in the history of professional basketball used small tactics to win games, series, and championships. If Kobe is a dirty player, then so were Michael Jordan, Reggie Miller, Hakeem “the Dream,” Clyde Drexler, Mark Price, John Stockton, Penny Hardaway (in his prime), etc.

  • George W Kush

    What’s wrong with being a lil dirty?

    Why are Kobe lovers taking this as an insult?

    Kobe is a motherfucker. A lot of these motherfuckers are dirty, not all, but most.

    Jordan was dirty. Not Bruce Bowen dirty, but dirty.

    And that’s the point. I agree that Kobe is a lil dirty. He’s not squeaky clean like Grant Hill, so Kobe lovers, take a pill and calm down, there’s nothing wrong with being a lil dirty, just dont go being like Bruce Bowen who’s just completely dirty.

    Its getting really hard not to laugh at Kobe lovers. lol

  • http://www.pinpointbranding.net PJ310



    man, what happened to the NoBabiesAllowed NBA?

  • http://www.mylakersnation.com Lakers Nation

    maybe he is . . . maybe he isn’t . . . all we know is that Ron Artest is crazy as hell . . . and a team that has Dikembe Mutombo can’t say anyone is throwing elbows . . it’s like the pot calling the kettle black . . . it’s hilarious how everyone called the lakers soft and then when they finally show people they’re not, they gotta say something else . . so call them dirty . . after this, you can call them CHAMPS . . .

  • http://twitter.com/lakersnation Lakers Nation

    oh . . and i love how guys line this post up after posting an article “Rondo is a rising superstar” and you guys NEVER question how dirty that b!tch is . . EAST COAST BIAS . . . ALL DAY EVERY DAY . . . bring on the hate people . . . just keep it coming!

  • George W Kush

    @ LakeShow84

    I have to ask this question : How dirty would you say Kobe is?

    Because in the same post you started by saying ” I think Kobe is dirty.. but i think its because teams are allowed to play him a lot rougher …”, but you end the post asking ” so he cant be that dirty…”

    I personally have nothing against his “dirty-ness” and think its good that he has that in him. I do however find it hilarious that people are defending him as if he were Grant Hill. What do you think?

  • Ian

    lakeshow comon dont take things like that. hes a bit dirty and i said that is not bad hes a bit overrated and i still think hes a top 3 player tell me how im sayin hes not great.

  • QQ

    Kobe is as hard nosed as they go, but I got to admit, he goes overboard sometimes. But I’ll take that, seeing how talented he is.

    Soft fucks like T-Mac never get branded like this. I’ll take a dirty player who plays with fire than soft babies like T-Mac.

    PS: Orlando just DESTROYED the Celtics.



    PS: And where’s that one guy who said the Celts would SWEEP us?

  • maJic

    kobes dam dirty, that elbow he threw at bibby was piss poor and so was the leagues reaction

  • http://stonerodco.com dennis

    Like i said on the the other thread, Kobe is a real douche bag.

  • QQ

    Just saw the poll.

    Cats voted that the Magic would miss Rafer more than the Lakers would miss Fisher.

    Seeing just how my Magic ANNIHILATED the Celts, you guys really did a good job.

    So yeah, sleep on the Magic some more.

  • Derik

    Kobe elbowed Raja Bell in the face like 50 times

  • LakeShow84

    @ QQ

    We just whooped on the Rockets so lets call it even shall we :)

  • LakeShow84

    @ George Kush

    On a scale from 1-10 i would say he is 4.. like i said if defenders didnt get away with they way they play him he wouldnt need to throw bows cuz he is too talented..

  • Jon


    Just ask Raja Bell and Mike Bibby how many elbows they took to the face.

    Ask Andrew Bynum if kobe is dirty. hahaha

  • http://dimemag.com Thisarticleisstupid

    This is so stupid. Kobe has changed and matured. Look at the times he played Dirty. he was younger then. year 2000, 2001,2006 How bout now? we haven’t heard from KObe being dirty. That Guy is just who wrote this is just a Kobe hater or LeBron dick sucker. Can he post an article on how cocky LeBron is instead?

  • QQ

    @ 34:

    Your game was close with 4 minutes to go. We were up by 16 with 5 mins left. You whooped the Rockets, but we whooped green fools HARDER.

  • pig

    Every great player is/was dirty..some more,some less..You have to be dirty to be great defender

  • doc

    Kobe is a fucking baller.If u not dirty u a fucking scrub.So hell yeah he get down and dirty.And whoever think it dont belong in b-ball dont play besides the local bullshit playground run anyway.U aint never heard no baller who wasnt a bitch talking about somebody too dirty for them.

  • rocky lobs

    i lol’ed @ docs entire post

    and lol@ kobes flying kick, which is another move you guys failed to mention.

  • rootsradical

    when someone looks like a beached whale, i tend not to care what they have to say about basketball.

    stick to fantasy mr. aschburner.

  • baron von faulk

    kobe is nothin but a punk ass fag, as evidenced by all the ppl on here that like to suck his “dirty” D.

    bruce bowen is a far better player.

  • MSkittle

    Nah, he just plays harder than everyone else.

  • http://daddygreen09@gmail.com DADDY GREEN

    i wouldn’t say kobe is dirty but he gets his cheap shots in and he gets his revenge in. Im in dallas so maybe no one remembers this but do the research on this one. it was a few years back maybe 06-07 when kobe dropped 64 in 3 quarters on the mavs. in the 3rd quarter when kobe was really killin them he did the thing he always does when he gets stripped on way up rising for a jumper and the defender gets a hand on the ball and then kobe just throws his arms wildly (probably to make it look like a foul and bc its a natural bball reaction) and he slapped dirk right under the eye. dirks eye was swollen and everything and then dirk gets the tech for throwing his mouthpiece and cursing out the ref. buts its the exact same play kobe did to manu so its a common thing kobe does. not exactly dirty, but he knows he’s doing it

  • kobekold

    u only remember that because he killed u GUYS!! kobe is mentally tough and takes cheap shots and beatings everynight from the d. every great offensive player has tricks and some questionable moves in their reps. but so does every great rebounder, or every great defender.

  • Dank

    chris childs hit him with a closed fist, what was he suppose to do?

  • President_Nixon

    Kobe maybe a dirty player, but he isn’t worse than Bruce Bowen or Ron Artest. Michael Jordan made dirty plays. It’s part of the game. Regardless of what people think basketball is a physical sport. You have to establish yourself or be walked on. Plain and simple. People (including David Stern) are making basketball soft, but what he fails to realize is he has more fans when the games are nitty-gritty. So what I need people to do is toughin up and stop making basketball a pussy sport.

  • Ab

    ^^^^Michael Jordan made dirty plays? Not like that. He’s not elbowing people’s throats. COme on with that garbage. Kobe’s not a hard player, the game is soft but if this was 25 years ago he’d get clocked for doing what he did. Even today, Barnes dunks on him and he throws a forearm and then throws his hands in the air like a b1tch when Barnes gets in his face.