In the Jim Croce song “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” the crooner advised listeners not to do the following things:
- Tug on Superman’s cape
- Spit into the wind
- Pull the mask off of the old Lone Ranger
- Mess around with Jim
If Croce had a time machine and could see 40 years into the future, perhaps he would have also added the line “Don’t talk trash to Kobe Bryant when he’s about to shoot a clutch free throw.” Unfortunately, he didn’t, and Gerald Wallace really could have used that tip before a Nets game against the Lakers back in 2012.
Wallace tried to get inside the Black Mamba’s head before a free throw late in the fourth quarter that would have pushed the Lakers lead from two to three. As if that wasn’t dumb enough, he took it a step further and appeared to agree on a $500,000 bet that Bryant would miss the shot.
In the least-shocking outcome ever, Kobe made it, but we doubt it cost Wallace a cool half a million. Consider this a lesson to all NBA players about learning to pick your spots. Also, Kobe is retired now, but he can still dole out lessons.