Andrew Rafner is a recently liberated fan and writer from Los Angeles. He owns two Sasha Vujacic jerseys and isn’t sorry about it.

Andrew Bynum is the worst. And not in a “You’re the worst, but we still love you because you’re so awful at everything you do” kind of way, like Britta from “Community.” He’s just actually the worst.

And why, you may ask is arguably the most talented true center in the league the worst? Well, to put it simply, Andrew Bynum is the worst because of his totally shitty attitude and penchant for making the worst possible decision at all times.  Honestly, the only dude in the league I can think of with worse body language than Andrew is Daniel Orton of the Magic, but that just may be his face, I dunno.

For the Lakers (specifically their King Douche, he of the rats-nest-under-a-baseball cap, Jim Buss) Andrew Bynum has represented the heir apparent to the hallowed throne of Laker big men, occupied honorably and valiantly by George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal before him. Thing is, while those before him were mysterious (Mikan), gregarious (O’Neal and Chamberlain) and aloof (Abdul-Jabbar), Bynum in his time has proven to be nothing but a petulant child.

In 2005, Andrew Bynum became the Lakers second-ever lottery pick (Eddie Jones was selected 10th in 1994) as they selected him 10th overall out of St. Joseph’s High School in suburban New Jersey. Bynum was taken ahead of a more proven talent, Danny Granger, simply for his potential and team’s history with world-class talent in the middle. The Lakers have always been obsessed with size, and Bynum’s massive — he was pretty fat in high school — frame seemed to fill the hole.

However, the challenge with Bynum was that he was young, just 17 years 0ld (and incidentally still the youngest person to ever play in an NBA game) and almost all the legendary Laker centers had come to the team via trade after having established themselves elsewhere. The Lakers would have to develop Andrew Bynum not only as a true NBA center worthy of the mantle, but also as a person, a fully functional human being. While they have succeeded at the former, the Lakers have failed miserably at the latter.

But this piece isn’t about what Andrew Bynum is good at. We all know that he has perhaps the best footwork of anyone over 6-foot-10 in the league. We all know he is deadly in the post. We all know that Andrew Bynum is a very good basketball player and vital to the Lakers’ success. We can all agree on that. What is currently up for discussion is that Andrew Bynum has a big-time attitude problem, one that has alienated this writer, a born and raised Laker fan, to the point of contempt for the team he was taught to love.

Early in his career, it seemed like Andrew Bynum could do no wrong. He talked about not falling into the trap so many preps-to-pros had. He lived with his mom in a non-descript neighborhood in Los Angeles. He dunked over Shaq as a rookie and jumped and celebrated like just a normal 18-year-old kid would. It was really cute. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was coaching him personally. He loved cars and computers. He was kind of a dork.

As time went on and his value to the Lakers was validated, he became something else. He became this picture of entitlement, this 20-something jerk that says whatever and does whatever they want with little to no regard for how it affects those around them. He was photographed parking horizontally across multiple handicapped parking spaces. He was photographed with a Playboy Bunny on his shoulders while rehabbing yet another knee injury. Andrew Bynum was establishing himself as an asshole.

In 2010, he did a lot to help his image by playing through a torn meniscus and calf muscle en route to the Lakers’ second championship in as many years. But as the Lakers melted down in the second round of last year’s playoffs, being swept by the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks, Bynum acted as the personification of said meltdown by body-slamming Maverick guard/Ewok J.J. Barea, earning him an ejection and a 5-game suspension to begin the 2012 NBA season. To Bynum, his despicable actions were met with his usual nonplussed hands to the sky followed by removal of his jersey as he was escorted off the court.

This year has been something entirely new for Andrew Bynum. In the past, we could expect him to do something stupid, yes, but it was never calculated. It was usually some kind of folly of youth or transgression easily assigned to inexperience or boneheadedness. In 2012, Andrew Bynum got mean. He became a dick.

He openly criticized Mike Brown at nearly every opportunity. He took inappropriate 3-pointers during meaningful possessions (not to say that it was any worse than the inappropriate 15-footers he’d been taking for years, but this just LOOKED worse), leading Brown to bench Bynum during the fourth quarter in a March game against Golden State. After being questioned about the incident, Bynum responded by saying “I don’t know what was bench-worthy about the shot, to be honest with you. I made one last [game] and wanted to make another one.” This guy.

Following Three-Pointergate came Huddlegate, an incident concerning Bynum’s admission that he doesn’t take place in Mike Brown’s huddles due to the fact that he is “getting my Zen on.” It was after this that, for the first time in his 8-year career, the Lakers fined him for “numerous infractions.” Andrew Bynum was out of control, and the Laker organization having coddled and protected him since he was 17 had no recourse.

With Andrew Bynum, it will only get worse for the Lakers. This is only the start. The shitty attitude, the lack of hustle on defense, the stray grey hairs, the insulting quotes before playoff games (see: prior to Game 5, when he said “close-out games are actually kind of easy.” And that “teams tend to fold if you come out and play hard in the beginning.” Non coincidentally, Denver won and JaVale McGee punked Bynum, going for 21 and 14.) You can’t allow bad behavior for eight years, and then all of the sudden when the monster you’ve created turns on you, expect a slap on the wrist will cure all the ills.

As far as Andrew Bynum is concerned, his attitude seems to be “Deal with it.” But as fans of a league filled with the most likable talent it’s ever had, should we have to deal with it? No. That’s why Andrew Bynum is the worst.

Comments (27)

  1. I think he is a douche as well, but considering the fact that his name was in trade rumors all year, I am not at all surprised that this immature punk started acting out.

    • Pau Gasol has handled similar rumors pretty professionally. That’s not a lot to ask.

      • Gasol handled his rumors by refusing to contribute offensively and making every Laker fan question if he was on the tail end of his career. Andrew is still young and needs to keep a more consistent focus, but the only reason he gets more flack is that he does not interact well with the media and is more honest than he should be.

        • What about the entire Celtics team that was involved in trade rumors all year? They were all professionals about it. Trades happen in the NBA. Some understand this and some are babies about it.

  2. A Martinez on ESPN radio in LA had a great argument for why this Lakers team is Bynum’s team and not Kobe’s.

    “If Andrew decides to play, they win.”

    I hate ESPN radio just as much as I hate that he is right. Bynum is a knucklehead. Kobe is just stroking his ego until they are out of the playoffs, then I’m sure he’ll strike with a vengeance.

    No way I see my beloved team going past OKC. Saddens me to see Fish with one more ring than Kobe (even though Fish deserves it).

    I hope that I am proven wrong and Lakers-Miami Final happens.

    • I bet you more than anything ABC is rooting for the Lakers in the finals. I don’t see OKC as a given to beat the Lakers though. Part of the reason OKC was able to sweep the Mavs was because the Mavs lacked any tough size, as Jalen Rose said on his twitter account KD was able to go down and guard their bigs. This is not the case against the Lakers. OKCs bigs will have to do some work against Gasol and Bynum. If Perkins is hobbled, or worse, out I could see the Thunder having some serious issues with the Lake Show.

      • kinda have to get past Denver first, though.

      • The same thing can be said about LA though. Part of the reason why they’re having a tough time against Denver is because the Nuggets are young and athletic, negating any size advantage the Lakers have. The difference is OKC is even more athletic in key positions than Denver. Westbrook > Lawson; Harden > Afflalo; KD > Galinari.

        Assuming they’re healthy, Perkins and Ibaka (OKC’s equivalent to the Manimal) could probably contain Bynum and Gasol.

        Personally, I would rather see a DEN-OKC matchup for the run-and-gun entertainment.

        • If I could only see the future. Am I the only one having 2006 flashbacks now? When the Lakers blew a 3-1 series lead to a more athletic Suns team. I agree with you Renjie, a DEN-OKC matchup may be much more entertaining. I just didn’t think this Nuggets team was ready to make the leap, looks like we will have fun seeing if they can prove me wrong.

  3. It wasn’t just Javale, Faried was running all over him too and Bynum ended up shoving the Manimal out of frustation.

  4. Acting like a immature kid? Sure, I’ll give you that.

    The worst? Certainly not.

    The NBA (today’s and yesterday’s) is littered with assholes who treated teammates, coaches, fans, the NBA like garbage. Just this year I thought Deron Williams and maybe even Dwight Howard acted more like shitheads than Bynum did, and I’m just talking about high-profiles players here.

    The Lakers can win many games and even the NBA title with a healthy and well-playing Bynum. He’s just that good. As long as they win/contend, I don’t think it matters THAT much is Bynum is acting like a douche or not. But if they flame out with Bynum playing like crap and still acting like a dick, then L.A. might need to reconsider his place in their organization.

    That’s how I see it, at least.

  5. Just because Deron Williams and Dwight Howard are “shitheads” doesn’t make Bynum any less of one. The term “the worst” is being used in a hyperbolic fashion here, if I’m reading it right. Very well written piece. I’m a Laker fan feeling the same woes.

    • Since I’m the only one who mentioned Dwight/Deron in my comment, I’m guessing you’re somewhat reacting to my comment as well.

      And you’re probably right, I don’t think the author actually considers Bynum the “worst” knucklehead/douche/asshole/whatever of the league (I hope so) but as Lakers fans (I am one, sort of, since L.A. is my “third” favorite team), his actions have been quite infuriating, especially considering his vast talents.

  6. Oof. Feel better?

    Seriously, as a fellow Laker fan, I know where this is coming from- but I also recognize it as a vent-piece. Andrew Bynum is most certainly NOT the worst. And for every attitudinal problem you cite (and you’ve pretty much listed them all) there is an example of him manning up and acting maturely that you omit.

    I’m no Bynum apologist. I still think the Lakers should move him for Dwight. And he’s been infuriating this year. But with elite ballers, we tend to forget the bad times (and there are always bad times) when they pass (and they often pass.) Bynum isn’t even approaching shouting distance of the petulance Kobe once exhibited- and that guy’s headed for Ballin’ Mount Rushmore.

    Breath and back up off that hyperbole/fatalism. We may well soon be stopping Andrew as he goes to pay for the pizza to tell him “Andrew, you’re not the worst. you’re the best.”

    • Unfortunately, that thing about Bynum getting the pizza and being called the best is in a different timeline. The darker timeline we are in has Bynum get the pizza and, still being the worst, feeling so shitty about himself that he stoops to sleeping with the creepy pizza delivery guy.

  7. So the Lakers take a high school phenom, help develop him into an elite player, but along the way he turns into an mean-spirited, selfish prick who tunes out the coaches and doesn’t even pretend to apologize for all the shitty things he does on a routine basis. I can’t believe it! When has that ever happened in the history of the Lakers franchise?

  8. I had a long discussion with a friend the other day about dicks and their respective sports. In high school football and baseball guys were the biggest jerks and the basketball guys were all ok guys. But it seems that at a professional lever, especially super-star level, basketball players are some of the biggest prima-donnas. They are coddled and they know it. Why does it seem like a higher percentage of elite basketball players are bigger d-bags than the professional football and even baseball players?

    • Because football and baseball players are part of a large roster; they don’t command 90% of the game like how stars do. Due to that, basketball players start to understand just how much they influence games, not to mention the exposure is huge; they become worldwide celebrities almost overnight.

      I agree with all of the things this article talks about, and as an Orlando fan, I can relate. Howard was a humble pie-eating Jesus freak when he first entered the league, now he’s what people see now. And now that Orlando has taken so long to move him, he’s lost value with that injury that I doubt wouldn’t have existed if he wanted to play in Orlando anymore, but I’m just judging.

      Either way, Bynum gettin on Allen Iverson/Stephon Marbury level now, meaning he’s going to get to a point where no one wants to deal with him. I will patiently for that day.

    • It’s harder for baseball players or football players to control a game every night like a basketball player. Hitters might be really good but they’ll still go many days without getting a hit and pitchers only actually play in 1/5th (or less) of a teams games. There are certainly game changers on a football field in every game but the football atmosphere is so much more rigid and militaristic in terms of coaching and teamwork. The sport is so rigid (everyone run their routes do their part…one piece messes up the play falls apart) that the players and coaches kind of have to follow suit.

  9. If he’s the worst, how can he have such an awesome nickname? Andrew Flynum. S/O to tas melas.

  10. I say trade Bynum for Marc Gasol and get an all Gasol front-line. Watch the interior passing of those two big men flourish. You’d forget about the PG play since you’d have either one of them running the offense and feeding Kobe, Artest or each other in the post. Would work better than with Bynum.

  11. Maybe if he got the ball more often, he wouldn’t act out so much.

    It’s probably not as simple as that, but he’s good (and valuable as bleep), he knows it, we know it and the Lakers know it. Maybe he’s just tired of the other entitled asshole you’ve all come to love and accept on the team.

    If he’s so awful, get rid of him.

    • It ain’t Kobe’s fault that Bynum plays like a skirt & has the mental toughness of a child. Play some damn Defense & crash the boards Bynum, you’re a center – not a shooting guard. STFU, every time he touches the ball he passes out of the double team, which is fine by Bynum needs to realize life doesn’t revolve around him. I wonder if MJ got bitched about as much as Kobe does for being the only good offensive weapon on his team.

    • So u want to reward bad behavior, Sicyon? of a 7ft Center that not aggressive on the court to even demand or get the ball, that just waltz around like a ballerina.

  12. I rarely read the comments of articles because the way people self-aggrandise themselves, curse, and shamelessly flame one another disappoints me. I think without exception the contributions here are considered, classy and respectable opinions. Well done to the author for prompting this reaction, and to all the commenters here behaving in a very un-Bynum-like fashion. Props.

  13. >>> As far as Andrew Bynum is concerned, his attitude seems to be “Deal with it.” But as fans of a league filled with the most likable talent it’s ever had, should we have to deal with it? No. That’s why Andrew Bynum is the worst.

    This is a great point. There are so many guys I like personally (to the extent that one can like people one has never met) and, as a Lakers fan, I wish at least one of them were on my team.

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