The Eloquent Smear Article: Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers

“It would seem that the only connection fans have to the Lakers’ title tradition is Bryant, the man who helped make the franchise one of the most popular brands in sports. Now 36, he’s a lock to have his statue outside Staples Center someday. He’s the reason celebrities line up 10 deep inside. He’s also, say sources both in and around the Lakers’ organization, the primary reason the team has fallen so mightily.” Henry Abbott, ESPN, “Is Kobe Bryant the reason for the Lakers downfall?”

Henry Abbott of ESPN has written a lengthy article with the help of many sources, claiming that Kobe Bryant is the reason that the L.A. Lakers have “fallen”. The article is, of sorts, a biography of Kobe Bryant’s selfishness as a person/player. Basically, the trailblazer of the Lakers’ downward spiral, and a man no one wants to play with because of his characteristics of selfish play, and ego. The article titled, “Is Kobe Bryant the reason for the Los Angeles Lakers’ downfall?” argues that Kobe is the Lakers’ cancer, and the organization is waiting for him to retire so that they can pursue the big names who want to play in Los Angeles, just not with Kobe.

A biased article has been written. I call it a very eloquently written smear campaign against Kobe Bryant after he jokingly said that the folks at ESPN were a bunch of idiots for placing him number 40 on their NBA ranking list. The article itself raises questions about the credibility of Kobe Bryant as a teammate. It is unfortunate that the route that ESPN has taken to lash back at a basketball player formulates into something like a 6,000-word smear from a writer with an archive of criticisms towards the Los Angeles Lakers and their star, Kobe Bryant.
Arguably what Abbott said, and claimed NBA “sources” have said is not far from the truth, but as a writer of an organization central to sports, to write with an agenda such as Abbott did is not necessarily honorable, especially when it comes days after Bryant, again jokingly, stated that the folks at ESPN were a bunch of idiots.

The latest player to make an exodus from the Lakers who has superstar status is the Houston Rockets’ Dwight Howard. He did not want to play with Kobe, Ramon Sessions from the story in the article with the help of multiple sources did not want to play with Kobe, just to name two players. Fans of basketball who have read this article, and believe it would probably rightfully admit to not having the full story (both sides of the coin). Kobe has an extremely competitive spirit. I believe that that spirit and attitude will rub people the wrong way. I also believe that the people who had the most contention with Kobe did not have the same drive and motivation as Kobe, especially Dwight Howard who I believe really has not lived up to his potential as an athlete, and who probably will not get any better than he already is currently.

When Kobe Bryant retires from the NBA, he will be honored as one of the greatest players of all time. The most competitive, and the most hard working player, ever. His success is truly undeniable regardless of smears. Henry Abbott was obviously doing his job by writing this article by getting a conversation about Kobe’s credibility, and as the end of his career approaches, it could not have come at a better time. Once Kobe leaves, there will be two sides of the coin regarding his contributions to the NBA, some will feel that he was a selfish ball-hog, who only cars about his own statistics, others will feel that he was an immaculate player who worked hard and always centered himself to be the best and most competitive player on the basketball court.


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