Jeff Weiss is a writer bored and bred in Los Angeles. He edits the Passion of the Weiss and has let the domain names expire on several fansites devoted to Sedale Threatt.

We’ll probably never know what a goon is to a goblin, but it’s clear what happens when goblin meets goon. It looks like Andrew Bynum going full Macho Man Savage on an undrafted Puerto Rican ex-boy scout named J.J.

Suddenly, the Lakers’ Three Mile meltdown was symbolized in a few frames, the footage as hideously memorable as a Craig Sager suit. Bynum’s crack up was one of those moments that crystallized every Lakers flaw: their lead-footed resistance to defensive rotations, their sour petulance, their inveterate ability to turn every middling point from Aaron Brooks to Goran Dragic into the second coming of A.I.

Somehow, J.J. Barea — whose greatest prior achievement had been landing this woman — smacked the taste out of the Lakers mouth and made Mark Cuban jizz … in his … pants. Apologies for the grotesque imagery, but there is no other way to explain those flushed Frankenstein victory faces.

No complaints. Two consecutive championships and the existence of “Khloe & Lamar” safeguard any sane thinker from offering sympathy. Not when Cleveland exists. Worst of all was watching this lethargic entitled squad get shot down like a Wasilla aerial wolf hunt — or the hoops equivalent of Tyler, the Creator’s “Goblin:” brutal, sluggish, and filled with unfunny figurative rape. No Eagle County.

In the aftermath, the press has feverishly dissected their failure. Rumors I have read: Kobe Bryant’s wife spiked Pau Gasol’s gazpacho with barbiturates. Lamar Odom had been taking basketball tips from Bruce Jenner and Turtle. Dwight Howard hired Vladimir Shpunt to create foul telepathic juju to make the Lakers trade for him. Naturally, no one blames Kobe Bryant.

After all, this is Los Angeles. Paradoxically, the city of Sunset Boulevard worships dried-up Lakers in a way that Norma Desmond (or Brittany Murphy) could only dream of. Magic Johnson owned part of the team until last year. Kareem taught Andrew Bynum everything but DOS C++. Big Game James could order hookers on game day and still end up with a plush Channel 9 hosting gig. Obviously, Kobe Bryant is the Third Rail of Purple and Gold politics: untouchable, inviolate, and mildly insane.

Insane is a strong word. Delusional narcissist is probably more fitting. After all, no right-minded soul would agree to that all-white photo shoot. No one would meet Michael Jordan and tell him that he could beat him one-on-one. No one with less rhythm would record this song, let alone one called “Thug Poet.”

Let’s wind that one back — Kobe Bryant, who thinks hardcore is making a lockjaw pelican face, once recorded a song called “Thug Poet.” And I am supposed to trust him? Kobe Bryant doesn’t have teammates, he has serfs. This inevitably explains why Luke Walton is on the team. He seems like a pretty chill bro.

Only a slightly deranged person wakes up one morning and decides to tell other grown men to call him “The Black Mamba.” But unlike George “T-Bone” Costanza, Kobe Bean actually got his wish. When you can drop 81 points in a game and win championships, people accept flaws as autistic eccentricity. There is no such thing as a bad shot if you make it.

But that streak is smoke. Granted, Kobe might acquire some stray plutonium and human growth hormone and eke another very good season or two out of his weary and surgically repaired frame. But for all practical purposes, his days as a number one option on a championship team are finished. Of course, this is no surprise to anyone who has been vaguely following the team. Last year’s Game 7 against the Celtics exposed the severity of the decline. Only a Kendrick Perkins injury, a Queensbridge miracle, and a total Celtics collapse allowed the Lakers to overcome Kobe’s 6-for-24 fiasco.

Saying the Lakers run a “Triangle Offense” is like saying that the Chinese are “Socialist.” No team takes more tough shots than the Lakers and it all begins with Bryant, whose limited offense slate involves hoisting 25-footers or jackknifing fadeaway jumpers over one or more defenders. Barring Bynum bullying around various big men in the low post, they never got an easy look at the rim. And even if they did, they couldn’t hit it.

Derek Fisher, the one-time 4th quarter savior turned into a torso of a Greek statue — immobile, overly muscled, and sans legs. Blame Kobe’s insistence on re-signing the only person that would watch ”Burn Notice” with him, Phil Jackson’s over-reliance on veterans, and Los Angeles’ inate inability to acknowledge the ravages of time. Even in his prime, Fisher couldn’t start regularly on Golden State, but somehow the Lakers had the hubris to think that at nearly 37, he could helm a championship team. Rather than start Shannon Brown, the team’s only raw athlete, they opted to let the Captain sink.

You can play the blame game all day. Kobe never practiced. Pau Gasol showed the toughness of a Swiss sommelier. Ron Artest developed a caveman touch as though he’d been tutored by Mike Smrek. Steve Blake and Matt Barnes were such poor free agent signings that you’d think Frank McCourt had been a special advisor. Lamar Odom invited a reality camera crew into practices and spent the rest of his days hanging out with a guy who I’m pretty sure is Bobby Bottle Service. Yes, distractions.

But any New York or LA team will always suffer from the same stigmatisms. Shaq spent his off season’s hanging out with Biggie, Mobb Deep, and Jay, and he was usually good for 30 and 12. It wasn’t that they didn’t give a fuck, it was that they didn’t give a fuck about each other. Two straight championships had left them lazy and exhausted, unable and unwilling to play defense, and running an offense that would seem disorganized at Venice Beach.

Until Phil writes his next tell-all, our only glance into the disarray was one telling quote from Andrew Bynum, the only one who didn’t play like he couldn’t wait to go butterfly hunting in the offseason. “The Lakers had trust issues.” Trust issues. We were supposed to believe that a three-peat and $91 million in salaries were going up in smoke thanks a plot point from “I Love You, Man.” The franchise tried to spin the Biden-worthy gaffe by making it a veiled reference to their lack of help D, but it’s pretty clear what Andrew Bynum meant — they hated each other.

It was evident every time they ran their constipated offense. Kobe gunning as many shots as Gasol and Bynum combined. A team of scorers, but no spot-up shooters. Without ball movement or easy baskets, they could never catch fire. Couple that with five exhausted players suiting up for all 82 games (Kobe, Artest, Lamar, Pau, and Fisher) and you have the worst outside shooting team in the playoffs.

And then there was Kobe, quietly seething at the deterioration of his abilities, but unwilling to face reality. Even his most impressive performance, his 36-point paroxysm in Game 1 vs. Dallas was tempered by his inability to get a single assist. He seemingly only comes in two modes, The Terminator who takes every (bad) shot, or the smug pass-first facilitator who plays like his primary goal is to prove that he’s not selfish.

These are grown professionals getting paid obscene sums of money, but sometimes, human emotions trump all. There are trust issues because Kobe remains the cold, cruelly intelligent magician no longer able to wriggle out of handcuffs. His teammates’ eyes roll, they tune out his time out sermons, his unasked-for suggestions. You don’t need to hire Khloe Kardashian’s personal body language guru to spot it. It was tumorous and it metasized with every loss.

It leaves the Lakers in an untenable position. There is the toxic Barry Bonds of basketball — child of a pro, blessed with superior advantages since birth, unable to relate to a single soul in the locker room. You have a roster built to beat Boston, suddenly forced to compete in a volcanic, freakishly athletic era. Miami, Oklahoma City and Chicago could all ransack the Lakers. To say nothing of Dallas, whose crafty star is the same age as Kobe, yet continues to evolve and thrive.

Magic Johnson called for the Lakers to be blown up, but no one wants these contracts. This is a franchise that has to pay Luke Walton and Derek Fisher $20 million over the next two years, let alone the eight figure sums owed almost every starter. Phil Jackson’s gone and Chris Paul and Dwight Howard don’t come on the market for another year. They need to get younger, quicker, deeper, and learn how to shoot straight. And at the core, they need the Thug Poet to come to grips with his own mortality. Give Bynum 20 shots a game, look for Gasol’s shot before his own, and stop making that fucking lockjaw caveman face. It’s really weird.

When Bynum hacksawed Barea, it was a manifestation of a deeper unrest within their psyche. Their decade-long reign of terror was expiring as rapidly as a bad Bin Laden joke. A team built for seven brutal games of trench warfare got swept by one whose best player played so little D that he was once called “Irk.” Bynum was the only goon and suddenly, footnotes like J.J. Barea could destroy them. It’s not that the Lakers need to be blown up. It’s that they need to start living on planet earth.

Jeff Weiss is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He edits the Passion of the Weiss and regularly contributes to the LA Times, LA Weekly, and the NME. On his best days, he has been mistaken on the basketball court for Luis Scola. He can be found lying on Twitter here.

Comments (34)

  1. As a fellow lifelong Laker diehard, I must say that this was really difficult to read, and even cringe-worthy at points… but impossible to disagree with.

    Really well-written. Great job.

  2. Agreed, I got a little bogged down in the constant witticisms and pop culture reference. But amongst all of that was a great argument.

  3. please don’t ever feature this guy again. this kind of black and white thinking is one of the main reasons why most sport-related articles outside of tbj suck. the second-to-last paragraph does make sense, but i just wasted valuable minutes of my life reading the other 28481 paragraphs of irate and borderline-stupid ad hoc logic. chill bro!

  4. This article will be featured on Bill Simmons will eat Jeff up.

  5. As a huge Laker fan, I can honestly say that this is the most on-point written decimation of the Lakers I’ve read this year. It really hurts to admit this, but all of the arguments are completely true. It’s gonna be a long summer…

  6. These are the types of Laker fans/critics that need to get their heads checked.

    With the extra time off this summer, there are 3 keys advantages everyone who’s jumping off the Laker bandwagon seem to miss:

    1. Andrew Bynum will be able to spend the offseason working on his game and building strength and muscle rather than rehabbing his knee.

    2. Pau is still one of the premier power forwards in the league and an All Star. Remember when he got punked by the celtics the first go around. How did he come back the following year? Check the stats and kiss the ring. Enough said.

    3. Extra rest for weary veteran legs.

    You’re an idiot if you don’t think this club is still top 3 in the western conference and top 5 in the league next season even if they come back with the exact same roster. Now I agree, we obviously need an upgrade at our starting point guard position. One with speed, youth, and shooting ability. I also agree Kobe needs to switch and evolve his game yet again. But its really just one simple tweak: Work off more movement and screens to get to his spots (much like Kevin Durant in Game 7 against Memphis).

    There’s a reason why only 5 teams in the history of the game have three peated. Its a fucking hard thing to do. The show will be back next year.

  7. A goon to a goblin is “Nothing, nothing!” Duh, it’s the next line of the song. A goblin wouldn’t care about a goon is his point. See, it’s so much clearer now. :-P

  8. I get that a Lakers fan is going to want to dissect “what went wrong”, but this is SO dismissive of the competition. They ran into a much better team, plain and simple. In the 3rd to last paragraph you actually say “To say nothing of Dallas…” which is true, you said nothing.

    “Footnote”: JJ Barea would’ve been the Lakers’ starting PG all year. And it’s not even close.

  9. Lakers need to dump Kobe’s contract.

  10. Or convince him to play the game differently, according to his age/experience. Good luck with that…

  11. The substantive criticisms of the Lakers play and overall character are justified.

    Pointing out Kobe’s recalcitrance (though it surely hasn’t gone unnoted- even by Laker fans, despite what you may think) is also justified, and speculating that he will have trouble aging gracefully over the next three seasons is spot-on.

    And as a Laker fan, it’s wierdly cathartic to read an evisceration of your team after they royally sh** the bed in the playoffs. You give voice to our frustration and anger.

    But it’s cheap, weak, and totally immaterial to go after 18 year old Kobe’s misguided attempt at a rap album (back when every other athlete was doing the same.) To make fleeting, puckish reference to the (dropped) rape charge levied against him. To cowardly insinuate that he’ll turn to performance enhancing drugs in the years ahead, slanderously undermining his finest quality- hard work without shortcuts. To infer from silly photoshoots and silly nicknames and silly quotes from over a decade ago, the like of which, again, could be attributed to nearly ANY other star athlete, some sort of personality disorder. What you’ve offered is an incoherent, scattershot cross section of a career’s worth of Kobe-loathing, presented in no particular order or pattern. You even lay out in stark terms the enduring paradox of the anti-Kobe fever-swamp: Whether Bryant passes or shoots, he can never do right. When he racks up the assists, he MUST be doing so out of some sort of spite.

    I hope you enjoyed writing this article. It appears you’ve been waiting for this moment for years.

    I’m speaking to the Laker fans out there now: This is not a constructive or cathartic piece of writing. It’s coming from a place of gleeful opportunism at LA’s demise. Rapid-fire venom in a stream-of-consciousness cavalcade of pent-up resentment and mean-spirited schadenfreude. Guys, this article was written by Bill Simmons’s raw “id”. A gnashing, unnecessary exploitation of an opportunity that would never have been acted upon for any team other than, possibly, the Miami Heat. The Boston Celtics suffered a “gentleman’s sweep”, winning only one game in the 2nd round. Where’s the article disemboweling that franchise?

    The price of greatness- exacerbated by the fact that Los Angeles in general is seethingly resented for a host of reasons all over the hateful reaches of this country (and apparently the frozen runoff-ditches in Canada as well)- is that nobody will sympathize when we fall. We’ll lick our wounds and regroup on our own. There is nothing wrong with staring into the abyss and admitting faults. To have them magnified, twisted and flung in our faces by a euphoric, gloating detractor is a bridge too far.

  12. Very well said.
    Good luck to the next coach getting them to play as a team!

  13. The observation from the outside appears accurate. Great breakdown. I disagree that the Lakers are in trouble. They lost the Dallas serious because of 2 things: 3-point shooting and shot decisions within the last minute (I’m going back to game 1).

    I still think Blake and Barnes are good signings, they just needed to make their shots. Going cold happens, just wished it wouldn’t happen in the playoffs.

    Hopefully they can get a better point guard and a coach that can fill in Jackson’s shoes. Last thing I want to see is another Rudy T situation where they beg Jackson to come back. The man deserves the break.

    Thank you Lakers for all the great years and for more to come. Thank you Phil for getting LA 5 championships. Still on the wagon.

  14. One final though- and it should be noted that i’ve now realized that the author of this post- not a TBJ persona (my apologies, therefore, to Canada)- is a Los Angeleno himself. Nothing like self loathing.

    How anybody could watch the Dallas series and conclude that Kobe’s play or behavior, on or off the floor, was to blame for this loss is beyond me. This post is a deeply emotional and hysterical reaction to a peice of very-bad-laker-news that is being used as an opportunity to, once a-f***ing-gain, psychoanalyze Kobe Bean Bryant, from his parentage and childhood to his body language and speech patterns, as a means of pinning the Lakers’ recent heartache on him.

    Seriously, if you would rather have had Dirk Nowitzki over the past fifteen years, you can have him. Now’s certainly a good time to jump on his bandwagon. Dude’s ballin’. But if you’re somehow trying to shoehorn the argument that the present somehow makes up for the past fifteen years of Kobe as compared to Dirk, I fear you’ve gone ’round the bend, as it were. You really think Kobe has failed to “evolve”?

    Other than that, I stand by everything I just wrote.

  15. I am a Lakers fan and nothing infuriated me more than seeing Kobe jack up one of those contested, turn-around, fadeaway 25-foot jumpshots every game instead of passing it down low in the post or kicking it to a wide open shooter. You’d think at least half of his shots would go in considering his work ethic reputation. I also hated the fact that he would bitch at his teammates for his mistakes. Dude, accept responsibility for your mistakes….please. Nevertheless, I hope he can get the point next season….pass the goddamn ball dude.

  16. Hey @Mr. Satan- Kobe has averaged 5 assists per game since time immemorial. The “Kobe Needs to Pass More” canard is old. COULD he pass more? Probably. Maybe he will next year. But that’s not the player he is. He’s a 5 assist-per-game kinda guy. He’s won a shit-ton of championships as that guy.

    If you’re a Laker fan, you’ve got to accept that this is who your star player is. You live with it and you die with it- though i’d argue that Kobe had little to nothing to do with the Lakers’ second round exit. Pau, Fish, Artest, Phil, and the invisible Bench all bear more responsability than Kobe, who played relatively well. Chris Paul passes a lot. So does Deron Williams. That Nash fella seems like a great guy, and LeBron dishes the rock willingly. They have zero championships between them, but hey, if you love passing…

    It’s like, if you bitch about your wife all the time, you probably shouldnt be married to her. If
    you really can’t stand the way Kobe plays (and he’s been the same guy, more or less, with various evolutionay iterations) then follow a different team.

  17. Martin,
    The Lakers have never taken full advantage of the mismatches that Gasol and Bynum have on offense. That is because Kobe was not willing to, and because Phil’s technique of letting him figure it out himself doesn’t work with someone that stubborn. The team (and Kobe) had enough talent that they were able to win in spite of that, but it was going to catch up to them eventually, and it finally did this season.

  18. @exhelodrvr

    You’re not wrong- the Lakers have certainly failed to exploit matchups- but I don’t think that’s the crux of their problem, nor do I think it can be boiled down to “Kobe doesn’t pass enough”.

    The problem is defensive rotation, as this article actually does point out. The problem is the Lakers as a whole being eclipsed athletically by half the league, seemingly overnight. Any team with a pesky scoring point guard has the Lakers’ number. That isn’t Kobe’s fault. He certainly takes a handful of ill-advised shots a game, coupled with bailout shots and momentum-swing three point attempts, but if you think the Lakers’ main problem over the course of the 2010/2011 season was their OFFENSE, you weren’t watching the same games I was.

    Pau’s emotional and mental engagement is spotty and uneven. Bynum’s surgeries and injuries leave him perpetually unconditioned, and therefore an unreliable permenant or consistant option. Ron Artest can’t jump over a phone book and has the most horribly awkward offensive game i’ve ever seen. Shannon Brown shoots with the confidence of Kobe and none of the skill, and the Laker bench at large failed to show up the entire year.

    Kobe Bryant may be old, but he’s not dead. Perhaps if he were Steve Nash, he’d devote himself to the long-term project of coaxing consistency and excellence from his teammates with a loving, distributive hand. But he’s not Steve Nash, and when Pau’s mind is off with his girlfriend someplace, Andrew Bynum is sucking wind and Ron Artest is thinking about what clubs he’s going to hit after the game, you bet your ass i’d rather have a dialed-in, committed and focused Kobe Bryant taking 20+ shots a game.

  19. Martin,
    The problem was as much on offense as it was on defense. If you would rather have someone shooting mid-40s taking the most shots, when there are players shooting mid-50′s available, you don’t understand the concept of taking advantage of the most favorable matchups. Or else you’re just being stubborn and putting Kobe ahead of the team. Much like he is doing.

  20. Man, I knew the Kobe articles were coming soon after the Phil scapegoat articles, but this one I think encompassed every argument ever made against Kobe Bryant. I give you Kudos good sir, for bringing your inciteful work to TBJ.

  21. @OhHai

    I assume the “inciteful” typo was intentional. Well done.


    No, I understand what you’re talking about. I appreciate that the highest-percentage shot is always the best shot. But, unlike baseball, you can’t tell the story of a basketball game through numbers. Statistics are an imperfect agent through which to judge or quantify a game that relies heavily on intangible factors.

    Kobe shoots under 50% because, among other things, he often has to create difficult shots off of broken plays, shoot bailout shots at the end of a shotclock, and is expected to take difficult heaves at the ends of quarters and games.

    Pau and Bynum shoot over 50% often because Kobe is double teamed, and often they are the beneficiaries of easy tip-ins and put-backs. Kobe’s three-point shooting, furthermore, means that, if he’s shooting 35% from three, it yields more points-per-shot than shooting 50% from 2, since the shot is with 50% more. Yet FG% is quantified only on shots-made versus shots-missed.

    I’m not saying any of this to illustrate or argue that Kobe should just gun away without conscience. I’m saying it’s a complicated matter that goes deeper than “get the ball inside” or “Kobe should pass more”.

    Furthermore, what I’m saying is that Kobe has shown extreme willingness to share the ball, provided it yields results. If you don’t believe that, again, I don’t know what you’ve been watching. The problem is that Pau isn’t assertive enough and gets pushed around and off of the block by physical teams, and Bynum, for all his flashes of brilliance, can’t stay on the floor due to either injury, conditioning or fouls, and as a result tends to find offensive rhythm elusive. If Pau wants to take 20+ shots a game, he should do it. Go to the block and go to work. He’ll get the ball. The “Kobe-as-ballhog” myth is hugely overblown. Kobe wants to win. Pau has NEVER been comfortable being that assertive.

    People like to defer to memes and clichés and easy, bumper-sticker-ready fortune cookie wisdom, because it gets them out of actually analyzing the problems before them. To pin the problems of the Lakers on Kobe is easy. Because we’ve always been at war with eastasia….

  22. I’d just like to point out that you’re all busily trying to examine how the Lakers beat themselves, but they didn’t, despite what Shannon Brown would have you believe. They got beat. Handily.
    You can beat yourself in a game once or twice, but you can’t sweep yourself. For fans so hell-bent on getting to the facts of the matter and dispelling tired memes, you all seem pretty unwilling to believe that this is not the same Dallas team you are used to.
    LA went up against a better team and lost. Are there improvements to make for next year? I’m sure there are, but none of them are going to erase the fact that this year, there was nothing you could’ve done about it.

  23. WHATS THE DEAL WITH YOU GUYS – THE LAKERS WENT TO THE FINALS THREE (!) YEARS IN A ROW AND WON IN THE LAST TWO! what do you expect them to do, win ten in a row?!?! how can anyone bitch about a franchise that’s the most successful of the last decade? i’m a lakers fan as well, just accept that they weren’t good enough this year. from reading this you get the idea that the article is about some perennial contender that never gets it done and frustrates everyone, but YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT THE GODDAMN LAAAAKEEEEEERS! IN THE LAST ELEVEN SEASONS THEY WERE IN THE FINALS SEVEN TIMES AND WON FIVE CHAMPIONSHIPS! and it’s not even clear that they can’t win another one with mainly the same team, so don’t overreact and settle down everyone (i know i just screamed in capital letters at y’all but still! easy now!)

  24. @adam

    You’re just upset because you want to read about how awesome the Mavericks are.

    There are plenty of articles to that affect. This just isn’t one of them. Just because we’re not talking about Dallas here doesn’t mean they’re being disrespected, or that we don’t realize what happened. This article (however poor it is) is supposed to be an “autopsy” for the Lakers. Go elsewhere for your sloppy Dallas blowjobs.

    That’s really one of my pet peeves: people who get butt-hurt that the team that lost gets talked about. “It’s disrespectful to Dallas to imply that the Lakers beat themselves”. No it’s not. It’s true. The Lakers were favored and were, by all accounts, the more talented team. But they got beat. They beat themselves AND they got beat by Dallas.

    So of course, you’re right that the Lakers got beat. Beat by a better team (although we’ll see if they keep shooting 65% from 3.) Beat every way but sunday. Dirk was the best player in the series, and it wasn’t really even close.

    But to imply that there was “nothing (they) could have done about it” is pretty silly. These are still the Lakers, but they played horribly. Nobody, least of all the Mavs, forced them to play horribly. The Mavs themselves, however, balled out of control, partially ’cause the Lakers forgot how to play D.

  25. Wow, I’ve read a lot of articles gloating the demise of Kobe and the Lakers, but very few articles reach as far back to his rap album…
    You know that jaw-jutting thing he does? Guess who really started that trend. It was Dirk. So if your gonna rip Kobe for doing that, it should be easy to rip a 7 foot German dude doing the same thing.. but it’s never about Dirk is it? The fact that so many people rip Kobe for doing this while completely unaware Dirk does the same thing with his mouthguard hanging from his lips, that just shows me a lot of people just plain and simple don’t like Kobe. It’s a shame, really, allowing their personal biases to completely overshadow what other players do.

    Also Game 7 last year, yea he shot 6-24. But I always thought it was stupid for haters to continually harp on that, it’s only purpose is to remind people who won that game… and guess who grabbed 15 rebounds (KG had 5….5!) not to mention scored 10 of his 23 in the 4th quarter to seal the deal? You guessed it…Kobe.

    I have no idea if the Lakers are “done” or not. I’m inclined to believe a year of rest will help this team out a lot. But to say that Kobe is incapable of “evolving” is to show you haven’t really been watching this dude all these years. You give Dirk proper respect for constantly adjusting and maxing out his basketball skills, but what do you think Kobe’s been doing all these years?

    Meh, whatever. We’ll see what happens next year… assuming we even get to see a next year.

  26. @Jeff

    Hear Hear.

  27. “So of course, you’re right that the Lakers got beat. Beat by a better team (although we’ll see if they keep shooting 65% from 3.) Beat every way but sunday. Dirk was the best player in the series, and it wasn’t really even close.”
    Just wanted someone to say it. You’re the first person not from Dallas I’ve heard say that, media or no.

    and Jeff: you’re right. Dirk Nowitzki is just as much of an unlikeable showboat as Kobe Bryant is, obviously. Everyone knows that. That’s why you hear it all the time.

  28. I don’t know what is wrong with all you people bitchin about the lakers saying kobe should get traded. People who say shit like that hop on the wagon and are probably now claiming mia. i will always be a raps fan even though they are shit. Cheer up L.A atleast u win

  29. I stopped reading this “article” when the author said Kobe has “limited offense”. This is like saying Tim Duncan has limited offense now that he’s not averaging huge numbers. Yes players decline with age. No they do not suddenly lose the ability to create their own offense, hit shots (open, contested, etc.) and impact the game in ways most players in this league can.

    If you want to spout stupidity that Bryant’s game is lost or failing, you are sorely mistaken. You may make the case that his athleticism has taken a hit with the knee and ankle issues but even then, he had two dunks on Emeka in one game, so I struggle to pinpoint which Kobe you are really discussing.

    Yes the Lakers collapsed. Yes their bench failed to do anything. Yes Gasol evaporated. Yes Kobe failed to carry the entire team (and Phil, as many would argue Carlisle out-coached him) to 4 wins against a RED HOT Dallas Mavericks. None of those realities hold within them even the slightest hint of a caveat saying*

    *wait, Kobe is old and no longer “good enough” offensively.

    Seriously TBJ? I am disappoint.

  30. most players in this league cannot*

  31. it was too hard to read… fucking journalist

  32. Kobe SUCKS!?!

    As soon as someone says that Kobe is done, 20 more Laker fans rushing in to tell all of us how it is..

    Look, the issue with Kobe is not with his shooting or lost athletic ability. The issue is that he is a terrible fit on the Lakers team, since he does understand the flow of triangle passing game. He needs to pass a accept the fact that he is a 3rd maybe fourth option on offense. Instead ball stops in his hands.

    And on top of that he is a terrible teammate. Now if they can dump his contract for Monta or Stephen Jackson, that might turn things around. But Kobe has a player veto on any trades, so Lakers fans, good luck with more drama next year. At least you in playoffs!

  33. @sri racha

    CONGRATULATIONS! You have posted the dumbest comment in a post FILLED with dumb comments. There were some super dumb things written over the past few days, but, in the end, it wasn’t even close. You are the biggest idiot in the room. Soak it up.

    Either that, or congratuations on being posessed of a Swift-esque satirical wit.

  34. Kobe didn’t carry the team all by himself against the mavericks. How does this validate any of the claims made in the above article? Micheal Jordan and Lebron James playing at their best may have done so, so would have Kobe in his prime. Whatever he was still the best player on the team.

    The team played badly unless you can prove Kobe forced this then your article is hear-say. Who was the most mentally focused player this season- Kobe. If Kobe somehow despite his own focus bought the team down (he killed Shaqs laker career so its possible), then blame him. But until Phil relases a book telling us he did then your talking crap.

    Wow, Sri Racha.

    Kobe Bryant was the fifth highest scorer in the league. Yet he is the third maybe fourth worst offensive player in the team? I want to know who ranks number 3/4.

    Kobes game has evolved btw, if anyone hasn’t noticed. He dosn’t score as many 40+ point games these days.

    Tim Ducan and Shaq are two examples of non-factor players this playoffs. Kobe was a factor. He is not beyond use. He is still a valid choice for top dog offensively.

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