Kobe Breaks Silence

Phillip Barnett —  August 2, 2011

After the hiring of new head coach Mike Brown and Kobe’s subsequent silence, there was lots of discussion about whether or not Brown would be able to command the kind of respect need to, for a lack of a better word, control the Lakers super star. Because of the well documented history of Kobe’s career, a lot of these assumptions were taken as fact without the Lakers playing a single game, much less Brown coaching a single practice.

A couple days ago, David Brickly of Laker Nation pointed out that Kobe addressed the Mike Brown hiring for the firs time during his interview with ESPN.

Bryant was asked about new head coach Mike Brown and the level of communication the two have had:

We’ve talked. We’ve met, we’ve talked several times, met several times. We have been in dialogue there has been an open dialogue.”

George Smith then asked Kobe’s thoughts on Brown as the Lakers new Head Coach:

He just seems like the type of coach that buttons everything up, so I think as players we’ll all be happy.”

While Bryant didn’t offer much to the discussion and there is little to be read into those words per se, Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball talk made an interesting point about Kobe’s silence and the Lakers future:

But in the end, he and the veterans on the Lakers will get behind Brown. Because they have no choice. Their window is nearing an end, they have a couple more years and then it’s time to rebuild. They don’t have time to waste a year bickering with a coach. Fall in line or watch the window close. You don’t have to like Jim Buss working hard to divorce the Lakers from the Phil Jackson era — to assert his authority over sister Jeanie, even if it means kissing a system that wins goodbye — but you have to accept it.

Despite the coaching change, this is still a Lakers team built around an aging Kobe Bryant, which means this is a team built to win championships now. Any time spent not buying into Mike Brown’s system is time wasted by a team that has the right pieces to contend for a championship (point guard upgrade or not). We’re several years removed from the days when Kobe was bickering with Phil Jackson, and I think it’s reasonable to assume that he’s matured enough to understand that he has no choice but to work with Coach Brown to the best of their collective abilities to try and bring Larry O’ Brien back to Los Angles.

Because of these reasons, I think getting Kobe on his page will remain the least of his problems. As I’ve before, bringing this team together as a whole might be Brown’s toughest job come next season, if there is a next season. The Lakers will still need to make some minor roster changes, figure out ways to best utilize the talent that they do have and find a defensive scheme that works for all. There is going to be a lot of work to get done for this team before they start playing any meaningful games. Both Brown and Kobe have said that they have been in communication, and it’s hard to imagine that communication being anything less than productive as they’re both brilliant basketball minds. At this point, I don’t see much to suggest that Brown is going to have trouble corralling Kobe. I could be proven wrong, but it seems highly unlikely.

Phillip Barnett

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22 responses to Kobe Breaks Silence

  1. Some great links to follow from the last couple of posts. At least we will not have to worry about the Spurs anymore, defense wins Championships, right? Kurt had a great point that as long as Kobe follows along with the plan, the rest of the locker room will too. After all, everyone just wants another NBA Championship here in LA, and whatever it takes to do that will be done. That was interesting how Walton cost 3 million dollars more than LO last year, heck, when does his bad contract ever end?

  2. The fans want another championship, do the players outside of Kobe. The writing off of what Bynum said at the end of the year about players playing for legacies and team chemistry cant be taken lightly. He’s the fly on the wall that we all want to be just one time to see whats really wrong with this team. My greatest concern is how mature is #24, does he resort to calling out teammates for lackidasical play or does he lash out at M. Brown. When your winning things tend to be forgotten, but when your losing attitudes change. LA hasnt tasted not being the king of the hill, before this year, since 2008. I do not envy coach B. one bit, I hope he comes through, but the hill he must climb will be steep.

  3. Saw Kobe in interview on ESPN.. he’s talking about a Championship next year. He’s focused.. he’s got his legs back.

    And hopefully we get D-Howard in a blockbuster deal. :)

    No, seriously… I think we need some new point guards but that’s about it.. We’ve drafted some young Swingmen..

  4. All we need is optimistic Kobe although another Championship is just too far from the horizon. The problems on hand, we need to know whether Stearn and the players will sit down and negotiate as adults, rather than resolving issues in courts or playing elsewhere in the world. The Commissioner is applying the strong-arm tactics in dictating players that he recommends in cancellation of all contracts. Players are ignoring all his threats.

    Therefore, an optimistic Kobe or attention-getter Artest/Peace are the least of our concerns. Like what is going on in the stock market, fans could also lose interest on these selfish owners and players that may eventually bring down the popularity of NBA in the global perspective.

  5. Definitely agree that Kobe will get with the program.

    There’s no time to bicker or go against the grain anymore at his age.

    If he really, REALLY didn’t like Brown or the thought of a new system, he would have asked to be traded or retire. He does not want to be where the team was in 05-07.

    The best place for him is still here.

    Bye.

  6. The Mamba will be content only if the team is winning point blank. Everything is smooth sailing right now, do trust, if he feels that the team is wasting his last couple of years in the league by not playing up to their potential. The Mamba is going to sound off, the subtle hints through the media last year didnt help motivate this particular squad, #24 will be as ornery as his moniker.

  7. Phullip…I noticed two typos in your article!…Doesn’t anyone edit these…It doesn’t look very professional!

  8. ronald ellison August 3, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    i am a Laker fan to the End!! and i really
    think mike brown was the best move,
    Defense wins championships!

  9. #4 Edwin –

    Good point. The lockout increasingly becomes ‘the’ story and it’s taking the heat off topics that would normally be at the forefront during the off-season. The feelings of ‘us against them’ intensify. Coaches are in a funny kind of no-man’s land due to labor rules but they’re still generally seen as ‘us’.

  10. I’m not worried about Kobe and M. Brown. Kobe just has way too much to lose if he decides to bicker and fight with Brown. Let’s remember he’s going for #6. That would push him a head of all the laker greats in championships in a laker uniform and tie him with Jordan. That’s what kobe wants more than anything and getting one more would solidify his career (not that it hasn’t been great already but you know what mean).

  11. sT
    Walton is overpaid…but you have it reversed- LO was paid $3M more than Walton.

  12. Thanks PJ, my bad. I miss-read what the point was, that LO was paid just under 3m more than Walton, that is a good deal for Dr. Buss. Anyway, who really cares about this stuff anymore, at the time Walton seemed to deserve the contract, as he was our starting SF, I believe. Heck, if he was healthy he might still be a good forward for the team, at least the Triangle Offense version.

  13. I feel that Brown and Kobe will do a good job and i believe that brown will do well in L.A., he know that his rival from the heat is Lebron , they both know each other very well , so Lakers have an advantage to be champions for 2012, a good show down between KOBE& LEBRON,

  14. Heck Walton needs to improve this years or get the hell out , not impressive to me as much

  15. It never ceases to amaze me why everyone is so hell bent on making Kobe’s relationship with coach Brown,the focal point of whether or not the Lakers can contend or even win another NBA Title. For all of u suppose to be Laker fans who should know by now that kobe will do whatever it takes to win,the same as Magic,MJ,Bird etc. did in their day. So stop all your crybaby whimpering & whinning,let Buss,Kupchek,Brown & kobe do their thing and the Championship will come as it has in the past.

  16. #16 –
    I’m always confident that Kobe will do what it takes but I’m not exactly sure what Jim Buss’s thing is – what I’ve seen so far leaves much to be desired. If that constitutes crybaby whimpering, then so be it.

  17. If only the refs would be just..

  18. …Or we could just watch the games and see what happens, then get on with our lives.

  19. Joel B: George Mikan and Jim Pollard won 6 championships with the Lakers. 1948-50, 52-54.

  20. In reality, all Kobe needs is his health and teammates that want to win and a coach that helps them get there! I think that after the last season end, there is going to be a fire under all of their a$$’es to push for nothing short of a championship. Go Team! On another note, I think the Laker upper management is showing no class to ex-Lakers and past coaches by not giving them any sort of professional courtesy when they were looking for coaches. I mean not even a meeting to let them know that their looking elsewhere and appreciate all their past work with the Laker Organization… it was just WRONG and hope JIm Buss eventually learns how to communicate better sooner than later or else we are in big trouble!

  21. The Lakers as a franchise have to look not only at today but the future. We all adore kobe, his legacy as an all time great is set. All the great ones have to face the reality of age. Kobe has dominated the game by dominating the ball. His skillset now is such that he is an elite level player but not so far above his team mates anymore. He can not dominate the ball like he has in the past. As much as i hate to say this, perhaps Jim Buss is looking ahead a little and trying to get more of the team involved to further the longterm success of the team.

    Look at this point in time if we has someone who could get kobe easy shots. Imagine a steve nash type of guard looking for kobe and getting the ball to him in his sports. can you imagine how devestating and how much longer his career would be.

    Kobe’s BB IQ is off the charts, he knows that changes have to be made. He knows that the clock is ticking.

    So many players who dominated the ball during their heyday somehow dont seem to have the ability to morph their game when they cant dominate the opposition when they have the ball.

    I can see kobe running off of picks ala reggie miller and ray allen for year to come. am i the only one who sees this opportunity.

    It is time for a change. There are two ways to go about it. wait like the celtics until your stars are too old. or you can be visionary, like the spurs and in truth like the lakers are trying to do now.

    The winds of time and change are a blowin.

  22. Yeah Mikan and Pollard technically have 6 because of their championship before they joined the baa but as far as the how the NBA defines it they have 5 and the lakers have a banner hanging up that recognizes 5 championships so i’m going with that.