After everything Kobe Bryant has accomplished in his storied NBA career, gratuitous shots at the likes of Kwame Brown and Smush Parker are slightly akin to Dean Wareham dissing Das Damen. Of the 2005-06 season in which Kobe lost out on the MVP Award to Phoenix’s Steve Nash, Bryant says of former teammate Parker, “Smush was the worst…he shouldn’t have been in the NBA, but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard.” Provided with equal time by Hard2Guard Radio on Thursday, Parker, whose post-NBA career has taken him to China, Iran, Russia and Greece, shared a very different recollection of his time in LA, with the following quotes culled from Larry Brown Sports :
“I had a workout with the Lakers, beat all the guards out for the starting position, earned a spot on the team. Midway through the first season, I tried to at least have a conversation with Kobe Bryant — he is my teammate, he is a co-worker of mine, I see his face every day I go in to work — and I tried to talk with him about football. He tells me I can’t talk to him. He tells me I need more accolades under my belt before I come talk to him. He was dead serious.”
“We’re teammates, we talk basketball on the court. [Our talks were] about getting him the ball pretty much.”
“On road trips, he traveled with his security guards. Those were the guys he talked to. On the team plane, he sat in the back of the plane by himself.”
Parker even told a story about a time when the team was in Phoenix preparing for a playoff series against the Suns. Smush says that coach Phil Jackson gave Lamar Odom his black card to take the team out to a nice dinner as a bonding experience. Parker says the entire team sat at one table, and that Kobe Bryant had his own table in a corner.
“Whenever Kobe is happy, the Lakers are happy. Whenever Kobe smiles, the team smiles. They should be the Los Angeles Bryants.”