Oh the joys of being a professional athlete. Of course, Shaq’s behavior is the least of Kobe’s problems.
Monday, October 27, 2003
ESPN.com, Kobe critical of Shaq’s leadership
GRAY: What was your reaction to Shaq saying the Lakers are his team, and everybody knows it?
BRYANT: It doesn’t matter whose team it is. Nobody cares. I don’t, Karl [Malone] doesn’t, Gary [Payton] doesn’t, and our teammates and the fans don’t either. There’s more to life than whose team this is. But this is his team, so it’s time for him to act like it. That means no more coming into camp fat and out of shape, when your team is relying on your leadership on and off the court. It also means no more blaming others for our team’s failure, or blaming staff members for not overdramatizing your injuries so that you avoid blame for your lack of conditioning. Also, “my team” doesn’t mean only when we win, it means carrying the burden of defeat just as gracefully as you carry a championship trophy.
GRAY: Do you feel Shaq has been supportive in regards to your legal situation?
BRYANT: He is not my quote unquote “big brother.” A big brother would have called to lend his support this summer. I heard absolutely nothing from him. I spoke to Devon [George], Rick [Fox], Mitch [Kupchak], Phil, and our owner Jerry Buss. And Shaq’s own Uncle Jerome called and left three messages. Other teammates like Derek [Fisher], Mark [Madsen], and [Stanislav Medvedenko] left messages as well. Opponents called like [Chris] Webber, [Mike] Bibby, and many others. So did a lot of coaches. Michael Jordan, who didn’t have my home phone, tracked it down to lend his support. So did Tiger Woods. But yet from my so-called big brother, I heard nothing.