The last month has brought out a new Kobe Bryant. This Kobe Bryant isn't smiling. He's angry. And vocal. And self destructive.
The pattern has gone something like this. Kobe is upset. Kobe wants to win. Kobe makes ill-advised comments in radio interviews. Kobe demands trade. Rinse and repeat. Over and over again.
The question that follows is this: just who is giving Kobe Bryant advice here? Is it agent Rob Pelinka? Is it his wife? His family? Friends? For everyone's sake, let's hope the answer is nobody. For if anyone was advising Kobe right now, it would have to be the worst advice that one could give.
Kobe had it all before the fateful summer of 2003, at which point he hit rock bottom. His golden-boy image was shattered by whatever actually happened in that Eagle, CO hotel room. But Kobe's tenacious. He's not one to lie down and take it. He's the same guy who mastered everything with his left hand when he had surgery on his right shoulder. Kobe quickly rebuilt his image back up to where it was before.
But his actions the last few weeks regarding the Lakers have brought everything back to the bottom. Kobe has once again self-destructed. Enough has been written about his actions a few weeks ago, and those don't need to be rehashed. But today's posts on his website illustrate just how detached from reality and reason Kobe is.
In his quest to re-iterate his trade demands, Kobe thought it would be prudent to back up his argument with supporting voices. No, he didn't get Shaq to say Kobe deserved a trade. He simply posted friendly comments from his website's message board. They go something like this:
"As a long time Lakers fan, I am also a fan of the players. If the Lakers won't support Kobe's attempts to make the team better, then he should have the right to go elsewhere."- mlcgruhlke"mlcgruhlke" has the right to say whatever he'd like, but it deserves to stay on the message boards. But what purpose does KB and crew think this will serve? Does he think Mitch Kupchack and Jerry Buss will come across these posts and then say to themselves, "oh shit, maybe we should trade Kobe now!' No! It makes no sense to put these up. The NBA doesn't operate with grass-roots campaigns. Kobe made his disastrous public play, and now it's time to take it where it should have gone all along - the back channels.
And that alleged Kobe videos, where he's spewing profanities into a cell phone video camera? The only ones more foolish than Kobe here are the ones who dish out any cash to actually pay for the video. If the video is real, then he's nothing more than a punk.
I've been a Laker fan my entire life. I've followed and rooted for them as much as any other loyal fan has. And it's tough to say what follows, but it's true. I'm done with Kobe Bryant. The Lakers are better off without him. The only words to describe his actions the last month is nothing other than selfish. After all the team has done for him, he's lost his memory. They stood by him ferociously during his Colorado mess, doing whatever he asked of them. They jettisoned Shaq out of town at his behest (I don't buy his revisionist history). Kobe has had his chance, and blown it twice. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I won't be fooled again. If Kobe thinks he has a better shot winning elsewhere, I say good luck to him. And goodbye.