Before the 2015-16 NBA season started Kobe Bryant announced that he would retire at the conclusion of the season. Before researching for this article I already knew that the biggest fault of Kobe Bryant was his huge ego and selfish nature. I was aware that he quite often put his success over that of the team and other teammates but after reading all the negative press that Kobe has online, his personality is a lot worse than I ever thought it was.
Most of the items on this list reflect how selfish he was on and off the court and a couple of the items are just things he wishes he could put in his back pocket and never deal with ever again. I do not consider myself a Kobe hater, but as a sports fan I did not appreciate his behavior during certain parts of his career.
There is another debate as to if Kobe is one of the greatest players ever. In response, I am not sure about that and from what I have read and heard on the radio, Kobe is not even considered one of the top five Los Angeles Lakers ever and most definitely the things on my list have something to do with that.
Kobe is a superstar athlete but researching for this article made me realize why some will never consider him one of the greatest players of all time. If you were to take away his immature personality and huge ego, then perhaps those opinions would change. However, that is something you can not just ignore and unfortunately Kobe’s legacy will forever be tarnished.
15. Gave His Own Nickname
Kobe gave himself the nickname “The Black Mamba” after watching the movie Kill Bill. It describes a snake which is known for its agility and aggressiveness and was used as a code name for a deadly assassin. Kobe thought this would be the perfect description of how he would want his game to be. The nickname itself is cool and classy, but like most items on this list it shows how arrogant and overly self confident Kobe is. Nicknames should be handed out by your friends and colleagues, not given out by yourself.
14. Poor Off-Ball Defense
Kobe is one of the best on-ball defenders of all time from the guard position but when he is not on the ball he is terrible. Throughout his career, Kobe has shown his weakness as an off-ball defender and teams have continuously exploited this. His biggest flaw defensively is that he is constantly been caught out of position defensively because he is always watching the ball and not where he should be going. To put things more clearly, Kobe jumps passing lanes and goes for the steal to pad his stats and this is just one example of putting himself over the good of the team.
13. Homophobic Slur
On April 12, 2011 Kobe used a homophobic slur towards NBA referee Bennie Adams while sitting on the bench. He was fined $100,000 for the incident and the NBA started a new zero-tolerance policy because of it. Kobe later apologized for the slur and the Lakers formed a partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to try to prevent any similar incidents from happening in the future. Bryant and some of his Lakers teammates also appeared in a public service announcement condemning such homophobic behavior.
12. 1998 All-Star Game
This is the first instance in Bryant’s career that he put himself over the rest of a team. 1998 was his first All-Star Game and it should have been a festive event for him and the NBA. The controversy during this game was that he wanted to go one-on-one with Michael Jordan who he thought was playing in his final All-Star Game. As a result, Kobe ignored the rest of his teammates and waved off screens by future Hall of Famer Karl Malone. He also took the second most shots in the game and cared more about besting Jordan than being a rookie and just enjoying the moment and deferring to the other players on the court. This was the first indication in Kobe’s career that he would fall victim to shooting binges at the expense of the team and try to lead before his time.
11. Complains Too Much
Complaining is common in every sport and a lot of superstar athletes complain in every sport but what makes Kobe stand out is that he will complain while the game is still going on and thus the team suffers on the defensive end. This is yet another example of how selfish Kobe is and how he thinks about himself before the team, perhaps he would not be so vilified if he just grew up a little and put away his constant whining? Not every call is going to go his team’s way and by complaining so much, he earned a reputation with the referees that hurt his chances of getting future calls to go his way.
10. No One Wanted To Play With Him
Kobe has a history of bad-mouthing teammates and having feuds with star players if things do not go his way, so it should be to no one’s surprise that elite NBA players did not play with him. Most recently, Dwight Howard played with the Lakers for the 2012-13 season and recorded a double-double that season and led the league in rebounding. He left the following year to play with the Houston Rockets stating simply that it was tough playing with Kobe. This is yet another example that on the Lakers it is the Kobe show first and foremost and if you do not like it, you can leave and in most cases elite players do or never bother coming in the first place.
9. Threw Teammates Under The Bus
This is perhaps the most childish thing that Kobe has done throughout his NBA career. Name calling and finger-pointing is something reserved for high school children and those that are younger, but it is something Kobe did on more than one occasion. What makes this more disconcerting is that Kobe bashed his teammates when the team was struggling and needed his leadership to overcome hardships. He openly criticized Smush Parker by saying that he should not be in the NBA and was only on the Lakers because they were too cheap to get a real point-guard. More openly and expressing his huge ego once again he also said that he almost won an MVP award playing with the likes of Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm and that forced him to shoot the ball 45 times a game.
8. Shot Too Much
One would think that Kobe would put more energy into defense and passing the ball when his shot was failing, but that just is not how he was programmed. He continued to shoot and shoot throughout his career and as a result he has the most missed shots in NBA history with over 14,000. Bryant has also missed more than 20 shots in over 50 games. All this shooting makes me believe that the saying ‘shoot until your arms fall off’ was especially made for Kobe Bryant. This is perhaps the biggest in-game example of how selfish Kobe was during his career since it shows he only cared about putting up big numbers on the score sheet and he couldn’t care less about how well his teammates did.
7. Did Not Make Teammates Better
Michael Jordan and LeBron James are known for making their teammates better and in the case of Jordan he made Scottie Pippen into one of the greatest players of all time. The most telling NBA stat that exemplifies a selfless player is the triple double and among the all-time greats Kobe ranks 16th with only 20 in his career. Oscar Robertson is the leader with 171 and even Rajon Rando, a borderline all-star has more with 21. This is yet another tell-tale sign that Kobe was more about himself than the rest of the team.
6. Game 7, First Round of 2006 Playoffs
This was when the Lakers put the finishing touches on blowing a 3-1 lead in the first round of the playoffs to the Phoenix Suns. They lost the game 121-90 and Bryant only took three shots during the second half and this led to accusations of him quitting on the team and taking the ball and going home. This was the first instance in his career that he showed that he could not handle losing which every true professional has done at least once in his career.
5. April 11, 2004 vs. Sacramento
Prior to this game Kobe was criticized by coach Phil Jackson for taking too many shots and scoring too much and this was a detriment to the team. Kobe responded by only taking one shot during the first half and was hesitant to take the ball to the basket during the entire game. The media accused Kobe of tanking the game and teammate and future hall of famer Gary Payton questioned if he was ready to play or not.
This is ranked higher than the playoff game because during that game the whole team played poorly and it was not just Kobe’s fault that they lost. In this case Kobe defied his coach and let down his team for no reason other than his huge ego.
4. Game 4, 2004 NBA Finals
This is yet another example of Kobe’s desire to make the Lakers about himself and no one else. The problem with this season started in training camp when Shaq and Kobe were taking blows at each other in the media. Their problems came to the forefront during Game 4 of the NBA finals when behind Shaq the Lakers had a chance to tie the series at two games apiece but Kobe decided to be Kobe and put matters into his own hands.
Shaq was having one of his most dominating playoff performances ever and had 36 points and 20 rebounds, but Kobe continued to throw up shot after shot despite being defended well by Tayshaun Prince. Kobe finished the game 8-25 and 20 points, but only two assists and the Lakers lost the game 88-80 and eventually lost to the Pistons in five games. At the height of his feud with Shaq, Kobe fell victim to his own ego once again instead of doing what was right for the team.
3. Summer of 2004
The summer of 2004 was the aftermath of the loss to the Pistons which was an upset and a tough pill to swallow. This was also the first time that Kobe was seen as a villain in Laker Nation and he was seen as the reason why Shaq demanded a trade, why Derek Fisher wanted to leave and ultimately the end of a dynasty. It got so bad for Kobe in 2004 that he lost most of his fanbase. Shaq was seen as a true Laker and loveable teammate, one that bled Laker purple forever. The media vilified Kobe for making Shaq leave and this wound took years to be removed.
2. Summer of 2007
This is where classic Kobe comes to the forefront. During this summer he demonstrated not only his selfish attitude but his huge ego and inconsiderate nature towards everyone but himself. After losing in the first round in the playoffs for two years he voiced his desire to be traded anywhere, even Pluto to avoid rebuilding with the team. Not exactly what you want to hear from your leader and franchise player. Kobe’s dislike to be a Laker got so bad that he even considered playing for the Los Angeles Clippers and this made fans question his heart and no one at all felt sorry for his constant bickering.
Later that summer it even got worse when Kobe voiced his displeasure about the team backing out of a trade that would have sent Andrew Bynum to the Nets for Jason Kidd. Again, just Kobe being Kobe and not thinking about what he says or does and never in sports history do I believe I have ever seen a superstar be so ignorant. At the end of the day Kobe acted liked a big baby during this summer, going back and forth and putting his emotions on blast but for some reason Lakers management kept him around until the end of his career.
1. Sexual Assault Allegation
In the summer of 2003 Kobe was arrested after a sexual assault complaint was filed against him by a 19-year-old hotel employee in Eagle, Colorado. The accuser stated that Bryant raped her in his hotel room the night before Bryant was to have a procedure on his knee. Kobe did admit to an adulterous sexual encounter with his accuser, but denied her sexual assault allegation. During this time Kobe also admitted to having a sexual adulterous relationship with another woman named Michelle.
Kobe’s reputation was tarnished and ruined to much of the public after these allegations and this is something that is beyond basketball and why is it number one on my list.
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