Is Smush Parker Right About Kobe Bryant’s Ego?

I don't know Kobe Bryant. I've never exchanged words with the man, never sat down and talked with him, never so much as exchanged glances with him. The closest I've ever come to "interacting" with the Black Mamba was from a seat at the Staples Center during a Los Angeles Lakers home game.

Far be it for me, then, to cast judgment on what kind of person Kobe is, on or off the court.

Not that Smush Parker's recent assertions about the future Hall of Famer's personality in response to Kobe calling him "the worst" prior to the Lakers' Wednesday night game (via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times) aren't entirely plausible. As Parker, Kobe's teammate from 2005 to 2007, told Hard 2 Guard Radio (transcribed by Larry Brown Sports):

You can’t knock the man’s legacy, you can’t knock what he’s done in basketball...What I don’t like about him is the man that he is. His personality. How he treats people. I don’t like that side of Kobe Bryant...When you are the star of the team, you have to make your teammates feel comfortable. You have to make them feel welcome. And he did not do that at all.

Parker went on to cite specific instances of Kobe's supposed petulance:

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.

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.

Later on, Parker explained his departure from LA after the 2006-07 season, invoking Kobe as a central figure:

The reason I wasn’t a Laker after my second year is b...

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