Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Kobe Bryant: Selfish, Greedy Egomaniac

I'm sick of Kobe Bryant and that damned farewell tour.

After an illustrious, twenty-year career, the Laker guard is retiring at the end of this season. So his farewell tour--involving all his home games and his final appearances in various NBA cities--has been dragging on all season. Why doesn't he do it the gentlemanly, humble way and go quietly? No, he has to turn it into a circus. How typical. It's Bryant saying: what you'd expect from an egomaniac: "Laud me, celebrate me, recognize me as a great player."

This tour is just a pile of ego-stroking crap.

What makes it so ridiculous is that, right now, Kobe is terrible. Actually, he's been terrible for the last few years. What fans are seeing on this tour is a shell of a once great player. It brings back ugly memories of Hall of Fame center fielder Willie Mays in his last year, back in 1973, when, at 42, as a New York Met, he was stumbling around the outfield and being handcuffed by even bad pitches. That was embarrassing. So is this Bryant farewell circus..

Bryant's legs are shot. He can't elevate any more. In fact, due to age and injuries, he hasn't been able to jump effectively for the last several years. So naturally his jump shot is constantly off. Even lame defenders can force him into erratic shots. Yet he continues to be a ball-hog, demanding the ball, shooting as much as 15-25 times per game, No matter that his shooting percentage is miserable. In keeping with his me-me-me attitude, he just keeps on shooting and shooting.

And defense? For Kobe that's a thing of the past. One reason the Lakers are laboring through the worst season in their history, with just eleven wins, is that Bryant is a defensive liability. When the Lakers are on defense, they are outnumbered 5-4, thanks to Kobe the obstacle.With him in the lineup winning is nearly impossible. But this season, the Lakers' main purpose is showcasing Bryant, not winning games.

For a team supposedly dedicated to winning, how insane is that?

For the Lakers, this has been a wasted year. It was supposed to be devoted to developing the corps of young talent, including Julius Randle, D'Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr and Jordan Clarkson. But the offense still centers around Bryant, who plays around 30 minutes a game.. That's stupid for two reasons. First of all, why spend time on a Bryant-dominant offense when he won't be around next year? And how can the youngsters learn when they're merely background figures?

Bryant screwed things up before the season started by taking a whopping $20 million-plus salary that made it impossible for the team, which has been struggling the last few years, to sign any top-notch talent. What he should have done in his final season is play about ten minutes a game and take a pay cut down to what he's really worth--about $10 million annually. He doesn't really need all the millions he's virtually stolen from the Lakers these last few years. He already has enough money to last several lifetimes. Why not do what team-oriented greats like Tim Duncan and Tom Brady and Dirk Nowitski have done late in their careers--take less money and leave millions to help their team sign needed players?

Help the team? Apparently that has never crossed the mind of this selfish egomaniac.

According to insiders, Bryant's teammates hate playing second fiddle to this attention-starved has-been and can't wait until this horrible season is over. The insiders add that many of his teammates don't like him.

I'm with them.