Kobe Bryant On The Kobe Bryant Trade Rumors: 'I Bleed Purple And Gold'
Contrary to rumors -- rumors that we started and have since been trumpeted by guys with bigger instruments, so to speak -- that Kobe Bryant might look to jump off the sunken ship that is the Lakers franchise, the future Hall-of-Fame guard dismissed the idea of leaving the only team he's never known despite the fact that they suck.
Kobe spoke to Yahoo Sports after the Lakers dropped their fourth straight game to start the season, and he said all the right things, if the "right thing" in this situation is to not get discouraged in the face of overwhelming odds and a depleted supporting cast. He sounded like a leader, which is nice if you don't mind the results:
"I hear the chatter of Kobe should ask out and he should go and play for a contender in this latter stage of his career," Bryant told Yahoo Sports. "But that's not what I do. I'm extremely loyal to the Lakers.
"I believe in fighting through the tough times as well as enjoying the good times. It's my responsibility to get us to be the best that we can be. It's important that we approach that on a day-to-day basis...
"I've enjoyed a great amount of success here. You can't just enjoy the successful times and then run away from the bad ones. No, I don't even think about [departing]. I'm a Laker."
Kobe also addressed the fact that the team struck out in free agency, and allowed Pau Gasol -- who has looked great for the Bulls down low so far this season -- to walk in free agency (in reality, the team chased him out of town by constantly putting him on the trading block last year):
"I saw them put the work in. It's much different than in 2007 when I felt like they were just sitting on their hands. This is not that case. They were going after it and being aggressive. I will fight for that till the end. They tried, tried and tried and it didn't work out. I stand behind them 110 percent. I bleed purple and gold."
Strong words. Are they believable? And, perhaps more importantly, are they misguided? It's great to see Kobe so committed to his long-time team, and this is certainly a better look than saying something like "Yeah, this sucks, screw you guys, I'm going home." But part of the reason the Lakers are so bad is because they committed too much to Kobe, while other aging superstars agreed to take pay cuts in order to bring on new pieces. (And don't give me that "He's just maximizing his earning potential" bullshit. Dude is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.) The argument has never been that Kobe should want to leave -- it's that he might have to if he really wants the best for the team.
Kobe might be way overpaid, but he's still worth something, especially to contending teams. Hopefully Kobe doesn't let his own words get in the way of a future trade opportunity. We know you're just saying what you have to say as team leader, dude. We won't hold it against you if you eventually acquiesce to an escape route.
Photo via Getty
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