Kobe Bryant has a reputation as one of the game’s toughest competitors, and someone who values winning above all else — including maintaining strong interpersonal relationships with his teammates.
Bryant himself feeds into this from time to time, most recently discussing it with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard.
“If you go back and look at the guys I’ve gotten along with, they’re all cut from the same cloth,” Bryant said. “All of them. Then you look at the guys I didn’t get along with, or might have had some ups and downs with and they’re not. It’s a consistent thing…and I’m fine with that. It’s okay.”
But all of his teammates, past and present, don’t necessarily see it.
Darius Morris, a lesser contributor who spent two seasons in Los Angeles, couldn’t have been more complimentary when talking up Bryant as a teammate in a recent Instagram post.
“Happy bday to big bro @kobebryant I always get the question how was Kobe as a teammate? Honestly I can say he was one of the best I had on and off the court despite the perceived notions maybe because he had already matured and already made it clear he is one of the best to ever play the game. He schooled me on the business and lifestyle of the NBA. Although a couple jokes here and there He was never negative or talked down to anybody and I was there when went thru some tough times but he went out of his way to be helpful towards me, push me, and to think big picture in life and to have the mental toughness to remain focus and never be satisfied What more could you want from a teammate? In my opinion,he isn’t selfish he just put his heart and soul into the game and sometimes it’s hard to trust that others feel the same way as about the game. Unfair things I hear about him far from the truth but that’s life. With that being said hopefully don’t have to answer that question for awhile lol”
Bryant’s style undoubtedly isn’t for everyone; just ask Dwight Howard about that. But for younger players coming in who are willing to put in the work, it appears that Bryant is more than happy to take on a mentorship role in order to get the most out of his teammates.
[via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times]
Phil Jackson asked Carmelo Anthony whether the star forward wanted to remain with the Knicks.
Apparently, what Anthony said publicly over and over and over and over and over was true.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
This further proves Anthony’s loyalty to New York.
A trade could’ve sent him to a better team with a more-desirable boss and netted him a $10 million trade bonus. But Anthony enjoys living and playing in New York, even with the tumult – including Jackson – that follows.
Now, it’s on Jackson to improve the roster around Anthony, repair player-coach relations and create a culture where the starting point guard doesn’t go AWOL.
Carmelo Anthony finally got his desired meeting with Knicks president Phil Jackson.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
At turn after turn after turn after turn after turn, Anthony has stated his loyalty to the Knicks. What has he done since to indicate he wants to leave New York?
Jackson, not Anthony, has fostered all this recent controversy.
Jackson built a crummy roster that faced a difficult path to the playoffs. Jackson used the code word “posse.” Jackson publicly critiqued Anthony for being a ball hog. Jackson mouthpiece Charley Rosen wrote “Anthony has outlived his usefulness in New York.”
Anthony just wants to play basketball for a good team in the world’s biggest market – not work under a black cloud. Jackson is making it impossible for Anthony to get all his wishes, though.
So, the question falls to Anthony: Would he rather keep playing for the Knicks – and all that comes with it – or waive his no-trade clause to join another team?
For years, he has unequivocally answered that question publicly with devotion to New York. But the act of Jackson asking might invite a different response.
LeBron James said Warriors-Cavaliers isn’t a rivalry.
After Golden State beat Cleveland last night, Draymond Green interrupted a reporter’s question in his urgency to disagree.
Green, via CSN Bay Area:
Yeah, I think it’s a rivalry. So, yeah. Just me, though.
It’s definitely fun, you know? A team that you beat, that’s beat you – it’s definitely fun. I think, if you look at the last two years and this year, we’ve been the top two teams in the league each year. So, I look at it as a rivalry, and it’s definitely a fun game to play in.
But I don’t really care if anyone else see the game the game the way I see it. I see it how I see it, and they can see it how they do. I don’t really care. It’s fun, though.
This is a competitive game, a fun game to play in. And regardless of Bron thinks this a rivalry or not, I know he wants to beat us – and we want to beat them. And that’s enough in itself.
Of course, Warriors-Cavaliers is a rivalry. Green and LeBron have personally fueled it.
Maybe Green was just trying to knock some sense into LeBron last night.
Months into his first and only season with the Kings, Rajon Rondo declared himself to be the first veteran teammate ever respected by DeMarcus Cousins.
As he deals with new problems with the Bulls, Rondo is again trashing his former Sacramento teammates.
Rondo, via David Aldridge of NBA.com:
“It’s just, maybe, the personnel in this situation,” Rondo says in response. “I mean, last year — I hate to keep talking about last year — but you couldn’t name three people on my team, the Sacramento Kings, and I led the league in assists. You know? I don’t know. I believe so (that his skill set still has value), given the right personnel and the flow of the game.”
Rondo is right: Playing with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade is not ideal, and his passing was an asset to the Kings.
He’s also proving his critics right: He’s too often a jerk.
Rondo has declined significantly overall, particularly on defense. His plus passing is barely enough to make him rotation-worthy. It’s not enough for teams cast aside his hardheadedness.
But is Rondo right that you can’t name three members of the 2015-16 Kings? Take this quiz to find out: