Kobe Bryant is one of the most talented players that has ever played the game of basketball.
He’s a first ballot Hall of Famer. With his style of play and accomplishments throughout his career, Kobe is the one player that has somewhat lived up to the unfair comparisons to Michael Jordan.
However, with success carries a lots of enemies and haters, and that’s no more true than in Kobe’s case.
It has been a long run for Kobe – a run that’s coming to its end very soon. He’ll be remembered as one of the greatest NBA players of all time but he’ll also be remembered as one of the most disliked players in the NBA ever. If there’s ever been a NBA superstar that’s been as hated on as Kobe Bryant has throughout his career, I don’t know of it.
The thing about it is, Kobe has been complicit in his own hate campaign. He’s made it easy to dislike him. Here’s what we think are the top 10 arguments every Kobe hater should have when they discuss the Black Mamba’s (see #2) legacy.
Reason #1: King of the Missed Shot
Kobe’s on the top on only one all time list right now, and it is not one to be proud of. When Kobe Bryant bricked his 13,418th shot he surpassed John Havlicek to become the NBA’s all-time leader in missed field goals.
Bryant has also missed at least 20 shots in 44 games, the fourth-most such games in NBA history. Havlicek? He only had 25 games with 20 missed shots or more.
You can argue that Bryant took shots when nobody else wanted to, but it’s also true that he hogged the ball more than he should, at least after Phil Jackson left the club.
Reason #2: Kobe Gave Himself His Own Nickname
With the exception of Darryl Dawkins and Shaquille O’Neal, nicknames are usually given to you by someone else and usually comes with an endearing story. Dawkins was fond of giving himself tons of nicknames and naming his dunks, At least Dawkins and Shaq gave themselves tongue-in-cheek nicknames.
Not Kobe Bryant. Kobe gave himself the “Black Mamba” nickname after watching Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”:
He was the Black Mamba, a nickname he gave himself after watching Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill,” in which the snake, known for its agility and aggressiveness, was used as a code name for a deadly assassin. “I read up on the animal and said, ‘Wow, this is pretty awesome,” Bryant recalled. “This is a perfect description of how I would want my game to be.”
The Black Mamba is a classy and powerful nickname, but it also shows how arrogant and overly self confident is Kobe. The talk about how he observed the animal kingdom in order to improve his fadeaway jumper is also one that only supports this claim.
The “Black Mamba” is also the nickname of a cartoon character that became crime fighter after years of service in the escort industry. We’re pretty sure Kobe didn’t know that at the time.
Reason #3: Will Throw His Teammates Under the Bus
Kobe wanted a team to himself, that’s something that you can’t doubt.
After getting everything he wanted, the only problem that remained seemed to be that his teammates were just not good enough. Instead of being a true leader, one that wouldn’t publicly throw his teammates under the bus, Kobe called them out in front of the media. A major NBA no-no.
Five years after Kobe helped his Lakers team to a playoffs, he talked smack about his teammates:
“I almost won an MVP with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown on my team. I was shooting 45 times a game. What was I supposed to do? Pass it to Chris Mihm or Kwame Brown.”
He saved his most poisonous venom for Smush Parker, whom he called “the worst”:
“(Parker) shouldn’t have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So we let him walk on.”
Wow. Kobe, you don’t make the playoffs by yourself. Your success depends on your team, so no matter how many points you score, you get where you thanks in part to your co-workers.
Want to learn more leadership skills by Kobe Bryant? Read this classic Kobe story on Kwame.
Reason #4: No One Wants to Play with Kobe
With a history of bad-mouthing his teammates, it should come as no surprise that no one wanted to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2014 off season? And it’s just not railroading teammates, according to an ESPN Magazine piece by respected scribe Henry Abbott, free-agents avoided one of the NBA’s top markets because of one reason — Kobe Bryant.
“I’ve had a lot of clients in the last five years, good players, who didn’t want to play with Kobe,” says an agent who has had numerous NBA stars. “They see that his teammates become the chronic public whipping boys.
No Carmelo Anthony. No LeBron James. No Kevin Love. When Dwight Howard was asked how it was playing with Kobe Bryant? He responded with a simple “It was tough.”
No one wanted to put up with The Black Mamba.
Reason #5: Kobe and the Homophobic Slur
Sounds like a movie or a children’s book, doesn’t it? In reality, it was Kobe calling a referee a “faggot.”
Bryant was fined $100,000 for “offensive and inexcusable” comments for directing “faggot” at a referee during the game. Good job, Kobe. Another reason you’re an awesome role model/leader.
Reason #6: Have You Ever Seen Kobe Not Complaining?
You think that the Gasol brothers are annoying when they complain on the court? Try watching a Lakers game. Sure things get tough when you’re losing, but Kobe can always be found arguing and complaining with the refs. Even Kobe fans admit that he spends too much time complaining.
Reason #7: Doesn’t Stop Shooting. Ever.
You would think that Kobe would put his energy into defense, or passing the ball more or grabbing some rebounds when he feels like his shot is not falling. Well Kobe’s not like that. He will continue shooting until… well, forever. And those misses usually have a degree of difficulty that makes one think: “Maybe a different shot has a better chance than a turnaround, falling-out-of-bounds fadeaway 17-footer?”
Former Kobe teammate Antawn Jamison provided a little perspective on Kobe’s extreme tunnel vision:
“Let me know that you’re open because I’m so programmed,’
“I see nothing but that basket. You could be open, there could be three guys on me, but the only thing I see is that basket so you have to tell me, Look, I was open. Or yell at me mid-play. That doesn’t affect me at all and I respect that.’ ”
That’s just how The Black Mamba plays the game.
Reason #8: The Worst Tattoos in Sports
We’ll leave you with visuals here.
Just Don’t Do it.
Reason #9: Excessive Physical Contact / Plays Dirty
The NBA can be a very physical gam, but even in a physical sport such as basketball, Kobe can be downright dirty. Several times in his career he has flailed his arms after being blocked and elbowing players but for the most part, has gotten away with because he does it in a undercover way.
When someone comes close to blocking or blocks his shot, Kobe will unnaturally flail his arms where his elbow usually connect to the defender’s face. Just watch the video.
(turn off the volume if you’re at work)
Reason #10: Sabotage or Bust
Phil Jackson stated in his autobiography that Kobe sabotaged high school games on purpose just to make his team win in the dying seconds. What sane person does that? A selfish one is the answer.
Reason #11: Arrogance and Ego
In a league of arrogance and confidence, Kobe still stands out. His arrogance has gotten him to where he is today — a Hall of Famer, but his ego never let Kobe’s game to fully evolve past his own selfish needs.
No more is that more evident as we watch Kobe shoot his teams out of games. Even at Kobe’s advancing age, he’s willing to shoot over three defenders even if it means that his teammates never find a rhythm and the Lakers lose the game.
For the season? Kobe is leading the league in field goal attempts (total and attempts per game) while shooting a career-low 39% from the field.
Reason #12: Kobe doesn’t inspire / make his teammates better
This is one of the most important reasons why Kobe will never be like Mike or Magic or Bird. While Michael played with the Bulls, he not only created a long lasting dynasty but truly helped raised the games of Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc, Horace Grant and B.J. Armstrong.
Legendary stars like Magic, Bird and LeBron inspired the players around them to be more selfless for the greater team good, but this is tough to quantify. In regards to team play, we obviously can’t look just at points, but how a player contributes to rebounding and passing too. For that, I was curious to see where Kobe stood with triple doubles:
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* Jordan may not have had many career more triple-doubles, but when he put his mind and effort behind it, he pulled off 10 triple doubles in 11 games!
For a guard that dominates the ball and considered a great defensive player, you would think that Kobe would be a better passer and rebounder. It’s not that he doesn’t have the ability to hit the open man, he just chooses not to. We all know that he puts most of his energy into scoring the ball so Kobe prefers to shoot than to pass.
Usually, the public’s opinion of a disliked player softens over time. Not with Kobe. Despite all the accomplishments and nearly two decades in the league, Kobe remains one of the most polarizing players in the league. There’s no in-between.
Whether you love Kobe Bryant or you’re a Kobe-hater, there are plenty of reasons to feel the way you do.