Kobe Bryant’s fascination with copying Michael Jordan’s sociopathic approach to the game of basketball is no secret. It’s gotten to the point where any story about his attitude towards teammates perceived as inferior simultaneously feels shocking and par for the course.
This is the case with the latest anecdote about the late Lakers legend. Jeremy Lin, a former teammate of Bryant’s on the Lakers, joined the ‘Inside The Green Room’ podcast, hosted by current-Laker Danny Green, to recall the time that Kobe came into practice to bid a not-so-fond farewell to teammates who’d soon get traded.
He comes in … sweatsuit, he has a sling for his hurt shoulder, and he has these shades on … and Carlos Boozer says ‘Kob, good to see you bro … we haven’t seen you in a bit, how come you came today’ and [Kobe] was just stonefaced, and he was like ‘I just came by to say bye to some of you bums who are going to get traded tomorrow.’
Is it jarring that anyone would just openly mock teammates who are about to have their lives uprooted in the name of roster movement? Yes. Does the fact that Kobe said it make it a little more understandable? Also yes.
For what it’s worth, Lin is able to laugh off the moment, and hosts Green and Harrison Sanford laugh along with him. It obviously helps that this moment happened about five years ago, and that this was in the context of memorializing the NBA legend who was killed in a helicopter crash along with his daughter and seven other passengers in late January.
Of course, even if the comment was both harsh and on-brand as hell for Kobe, it’s hard not to understand a bit where Kobe was coming from. Lin and Bryant were teammates in Los Angeles in the 2014-15 season. That year, the Lakers went 21-61. It’s hard to imagine any superstar player being buddy-buddy with their mediocre teammates after a year like that.