By: Monte Perez
Kobe Bryant is a 5-time NBA Champion, he has been an all-star 17 times and he is a future Hall of Famer. He will go down as one of the top 15-20 players, to ever play the game. There is no denying his greatness and desire to win. What has made Kobe an elite player is his work ethic and ego. But that has also been his downfall over the past few years. The Lakers gave Bryant a 2-year contract worth $48 million dollars. This is probably one of the worst contracts ever given in the history of sports.
Over the past 2 years Bryant has played in 41 games (6 games and 35 games over the past 2 seasons) Take his name out of the equation, if any other player made $24 million dollars in one year and they played in 35 games, that contract would be considered a colossal mistake. A lot of my followers on Twitter have come out in Kobe’s defense. The reoccurring theme has been, “Kobe deserves the money, and the Lakers owe it to him for all the years he’s performed for them.” This is the most ridiculous argument I have ever heard. Tim Duncan has won 5 championship with the San Antonio Spurs, he made $10.3 million last year and he will make around $5 million this season. David West just left $12 million on the table to resign with the Indiana Pacers and signed the veteran minimum with the Spurs.
Another argument by Bryant supporters is, “We wanted him to remain a Laker for his legacy, playing with one team from start to finish.” I have news for you… that means nothing to players. Here is a list of Hall of Famers who played on multiple teams.
Michael Jordan, 2 teams… Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards.
LeBron James, 2 teams… Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat.
Scottie Pippen, 3 teams… Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and Portland Trailblazers.
Shaquille O’Neal, 6 teams… Orlando Magic, LA Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics.
Ray Allen, 4 teams…Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle Supersonics, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.
Kevin Garnett, 3 teams… Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets.
Paul Pierce, 4 teams… Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Washington Wizards and LA Clippers.
None of these players’ legacies are tarnished. This idea that you have to stay with one team is absurd. Garnett and James left organizations that were beyond incompetent and I don’t blame them. Ask yourself this question… have you worked for the same company all your life? Why would you stay with company that doesn’t give you what you want? That is not loyalty that is stupidity.
I am not blaming Bryant for making the most money he can. But, the Lakers owed him nothing. Bryant is estimated worth is anywhere from $260-300 million. The Lakers paid him handsomely over the years. The San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks just landed the two best free agents in the off-season, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeAndre Jordan. Part of the reason they were able to acquire these two players was the fact that Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki will make a combined $13-$15 million. Kobe is making $24 million, and his salary is taking up 37% of the Lakers cap. Over the past few years the Spurs have thrived because of Duncan’s unselfishness. The Lakers have failed because of Bryant’s selfishness.
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