Now we officially have a feud! Of all the stuff Kobe Bryant said about some of his former Lakers teammates after practice the other day, his shots at Smush Parker were the most vicious. [Read Kobe's comment here]
Yesterday, Smush went on a radio show and fired right back at Kobe. Larry Brown Sports has the transcribed interview. From LBS’ post:
Parker played in China the last two seasons and says he’s preparing for another season there in December. What was his response to Kobe bringing up his name on Wednesday?
“I’m lost for words. It makes me blush. For my name to still come out of that man’s mouth? It makes me blush,” he told Hard 2 Guard.
Parker says he values his two seasons playing with the Lakers (from 2005-2007), but not his time playing with Bryant.
“The two years in LA were a blessing to me,” he said. “People who ask me how it was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. People ask me how it was playing with Kobe Bryant. I said in 2008 that it was an overrated experience.”
Though Parker termed playing with Kobe “overrated,” he respects the five-time champion’s game. He just doesn’t like his personality.
“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 â€” you’ve seen that throughout his career.
“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.
“Basketball is a team sport. It is team-oriented. It is not an individual sport. It’s not tennis or golf, it is a team sport. When you are the star of the team, you have to make your teammates feel comfortable. You have to make them feel welcome. And he did not do that at all.”
Though Kobe said Parker didn’t deserve to be in the NBA, Parker says he earned a spot on the Lakers. That didn’t matter to Kobe, who he says completely disrespected him.
“I had a workout with the Lakers, beat all the guards out for the starting position, earned a spot on the team. Midway through the first season, I tried to at least have a conversation with Kobe Bryant â€” he is my teammate, he is a co-worker of mine, I see his face every day I go in to work â€” and I tried to talk with him about football. 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.”
Smush says the talking they did was strictly on the court.
“We’re teammates, we talk basketball on the court. [Our talks were] about getting him the ball pretty much.”
Parker described Kobe as someone who kept to himself. He says while he was on the Lakers, he never saw Kobe make an attempt to develop any kind of friendship with any one of his teammates.
“On road trips, he traveled with his security guards. Those were the guys he talked to. On the team plane, he sat in the back of the plane by himself.”
Parker even told a story about a time when the team was in Phoenix preparing for a playoff series against the Suns. Smush says that coach Phil Jackson gave Lamar Odom his black card to take the team out to a nice dinner as a bonding experience. Parker says the entire team sat at one table, and that Kobe Bryant had his own table in a corner.
Recalling the memories prompted Parker to mention the nickname he has for the team: the Los Angeles Bryants.
“Whenever Kobe is happy, the Lakers are happy. Whenever Kobe smiles, the team smiles. They should be the Los Angeles Bryants.”
Parker says he wasn’t a good fit on the team because he didn’t idolize Kobe the way he was supposed to. He even says he stopped passing Bryant the ball on purpose.
“The reason I wasn’t a Laker after my second year is because I didn’t bow down to [Kobe]. I didn’t kiss his aâ€“. I wasn’t kissing his feet. Quite frankly, towards the end of the second season, I stopped passing him the ball. I stopped giving him the ball. I started looking him off.”
Kobe loner stories, dislike of “the man that he is,” the “Los Angeles Bryants,” FREEZING OUT KOBE!
Please, please, please let Kobe respond today…
Follow Dime Magazine on Twitter
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook