Stephen A. Smith Calls Out Jim Buss For Wasting The Last Years Of Kobe’s Career
When I turned on "First Take" this morning, I was curious how Stephen A. Smith was going to seer one of his patented scorching hot takes into the leathery hide of Kobe Bryant's retirement announcement. After all, Smith had implored Kobe to cut his losses just last week, saying that he's embarrassing himself and he should retire "right now," so it was expected S.A.S. would ride into town today on a white horse, guns ablazing. If you give that man any reason to believe his own bullshit, he will take it and use it to forge a steaming pile of unnecessary outrage that burns so bright it can be seen from space.
That's exactly what he did Monday morning, teasing the world with some salacious behind-the-scenes stories about Jerry West's falling out with Lakers co-owner Jim Buss after 20 years of unparalleled success as the team's general manager.
"We are not talking about an ownership nobody trusts that people look at and say, 'will you please move aside and let mitch kupchak do his job.' 'will you please let jerry west come back.' i know jerry west was on the record coming to the defense of jim buss. i respectfully disagree with one of the greatest executives to have played this game. he would have told you the whole story. i can't repeat the stories because it would be personally inappropriate for me to repeat the stories of how jim buss exercised such a dereliction of duty, it completely compromised the success of lakers nation. all of that when you had kobe to lean on to get people to walk through the turnstiles. the lakers need to give the people back their money after the product they put out the last three years. mitch kupchak is a good g.m. there are many people in the organization who are confident at their job that had to succumb to the will of a guy in jim buss, who, by the way, i think actually knows a thing or two about basketball. his knowledge is not the problem. he allowed his personal problems to get in the way of facilitating the success of the lakers. in this instance kobe bryant, i am making the accusation that jim buss literally wasted the last three to four years of kobe bryant's career. even if kobe bryant were healthy, he had no shot to win a championship because of the decisions jim buss facilitated making. that is the crime in all of this. i don't care what anybody says."
For the record, Buss gave Kobe Bryant exactly what he asked for when his last deal ended at the end of the 2012-13: the most money in the NBA. Kobe was the one who scared away the free agents. If caving to a legend's final contract request is a crime, giving Stephen A. Smith $3 million a year to air Jerry West's dirty laundry should be considered an act of war.
The full rant, below...
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