Over the past five or so years, the time period in which Kobe Bryant had officially cemented his status as a legend, champion and top 10-ish all-time NBA player, he has also become the best interview in the league, by far. He truly gives no f*cks and will go unfiltered at any time and never pulls any punches.
That was on display again yesterday, when Kobe called into The Dan Patrick Show to chime in on a myriad of topics ranging from the current Laker situation to President Obama (including his own pitch for Obamacare).
Kobe was in prime zero-f*cks-given form saying point blank if the Lakers’ situation was better he would indeed be playing right now, refusing to offer Mike D’Antoni an endorsement when given the chance and again letting it be known that he wanted Phil back in LA when the organization had the opportunity. But it was his admission, half-tongue-in-cheek, half serious, that President Obama could make the current Lakers roster that requires further analysis.
The question is, what does Kobe’s unfiltered criticism of not only his organization but teammates as well do for the Lakers future? Los Angeles isn’t the preferred landing spot for big name free agents it once was, and Kobe is at least part of the reason why. Every all-star level player he’s played with in his career he’s clashed with, and was reportedly a big reason why Dwight Howard bolted when he got a chance.
Not only that, there are other extenuating circumstances. Part of Slim Thug’s Twitter pitch to lure Dwight to Texas involved the lower child support rates in Texas when compared to California. Believe it or not, this is a huge deal for an NBA player with millions of dollars, and multiple children by multiple women (just look to Steve Nash’s fight against California child support if you don’t believe it).
Also, the tax rates in Cali are humongous as well resulting in Kobe’s much-ballyhooed $24 million lump sum payment he received at the beginning of this season. After taxes in Cali, he took home closer to $11 million – $13 million less!
These things matter to NBA players, especially when Texas and Florida offer the benefit of no state taxes, and look at where most of the big name free agents of the past five years have signed, Texas and Florida. Plus, if you were going to sign up to play in LA, wouldn’t you want it to be down the hall in the much more fun and stable Clippers environment?
Kobe’s contract, $48.5 million over the next two years, is another deterrent in any potential Lakers plans for the future, despite fan pipe dreams of Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, LeBron, Carmelo and whoever else they Photoshop into Laker jerseys for creepy murals. Yet in still, if Jeanie Buss has a say (and she does) Kobe will get a huge farewell tour, regardless of how these next two seasons play out:
“We never got an opportunity to do the farewell tour for Magic Johnson… Kobe, by signing that deal, will have played 20 years for one organization, I guarantee that won’t happen again. … We don’t draft players at 17 anymore. To have the kind of longevity that he’s had, makes it extremely special and I think that Lakers fans understand that.”
Kobe has officially been ruled out for the rest of this season, and the Lakers were the very first team in the league mathmetically eliminated from playoff contention after their loss to the Spurs last Friday.
Cred: Pro Basketball Talk