We’re aware of the fact that, when it comes to being a selfish megalomaniac, Dwight Howard takes the cake. Nah, actually, he takes several cakes, and then asks when you might be able to give him the rest of your cake. It’s not a good look, and if he doesn’t succeed in Houston, he’ll be remembered as the guy who couldn’t wait for Kobe Bryant to retire. Ugh.
That being said, it may be time we stop cutting Kobe so much slack for being selfish in his own right. Dwight’s ego may be poison to NBA rosters, but Kobe’s greed isn’t doing the Lakers any favors either.
In an interview with Lakers’ Nation yesterday, Kobe said that he wouldn’t be taking a pay cut during contract negotiations after the 2014 season. “For me to sit here and say, ‘Oh yeah, I’m just going to take a huge pay cut.’ Nah, I’m going to try to get as much as I possibly can.”
Does that mean that he won’t eventually come down from whatever astronomical figure he wants during negotiations? I suppose not. But Kobe’s been the league’s highest paid player since 2009. He made over $27 million last year (and that’s not taking into account the $32 million he made off the court). He’s going to make over $30 million this year. Does an old, potentially hobbled Kobe Bryant really deserve to make more money than, say, LeBron James? Kevin Durant? Chris Paul?
Of course, the word “deserves” is a dirty one. Does anyone really “deserve” this much money to play a game? And can we really give someone a hard time for getting as much as they can out of a multi-billion dollar industry? Probably not. But we can certainly compare Kobe’s “I’m getting mine” attitude with a few other superstars:
-Tim Duncan took a massive pay cut before this season, and will only make $10.36 million next year.
-Dirk Nowitzki, clearly not a subscriber to the Kobe Bryant School Of Negotiating, announced that he would take a “significant pay cut” in 2014, because, in his words: “At this point of my career, it’s all about competing and winning. It’s not about money.”
-Every member of Miami’s Big Three took less than than the maximum in order to play together in 2010 (did you hear about that?).
-Even Dwight “Superbaby” Howard took less money in order to join a better situation in Houston.
Kobe’s gotten a pass over the last few years because he’s tempered his ball-hog ways and won a couple championships without Shaq. But if the Lakers need to give up half their salary cap space to a shooting guard in the twilight of his career, they’re going to find themselves wishing they had given in to Dwight’s childish demands and just amnestied the guy.
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