As reports of the Los Angeles Lakers dysfunction spread like wildfire Tuesday morning, one of the franchise’s most iconic members is reportedly very unhappy that his name has been dragged into the drama that is currently consuming the once-proud franchise.
Kobe Bryant’s name comes up multiple times in Baxter Holmes’ ESPN story on the chaos that’s enveloped the Lakers organization, all in ties to general manager Rob Pelinka. First, there’s a callback to how many times Pelinka referenced Bryant, the man he represented as an agent for nearly two decades, during his introductory press conference. Then, and most notably, Holmes relays an anecdote of the time Pelinka almost certainly fabricated a story about organizing a dinner between Bryant and Heath Ledger after Bryant watched The Dark Knight, a movie that came out six months after Ledger’s death.
On First Take Tuesday morning, Stephen A. Smith said the former Lakers star was not in a good mood after seeing himself pop up in the scathing story.
“Kobe Bryant was livid at his name even being mentioned,” Smith said. “His attitude is, ‘I’m here coaching my girls, I ain’t got nothing to do with any of that nonsense. Rob Pelinka has his own relationship with Jeanie Buss. Of course he’s a guy that I value and I trust. He represented me for years. I love the guy, but I’ve got nothing to do with the Lakers. Y’all tell people to keep my damn name out of their mouths.'”
The Lakers are currently the NBA equivalent of the “this is fine” dog sitting in a burning room, and Bryant, understandably, doesn’t seem too keen on being tied to this current Lakers group.