Posted January 08, 2013

In Focus: Kobe Bryant feuds

In Focus, Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal

(John W. McDonough/SI)

By Colin Becht

Kobe Bryant and Lakers’ big men just can’t seem to get along. First Shaquille O’Neal, and now, reportedly, Dwight Howard. SI.com looks back at Bryant’s greatest feuds.

Shaquille O’Neal: Three NBA titles couldn’t keep the lid on this epic feud. Beginning with Bryant’s rookie season in 1996, and continuing throughout both players’ careers, the two traded barbs, often through the media. Following a disappointing 2002-03 season in which the Lakers were eliminated in the Western Conference semifinals, Bryant questioned O’Neal’s leadership ability and said O’Neal was “blaming others for our team’s failure.” O’Neal was traded to the Heat a year later.

Kobe Bryant, Chris Mihm

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Chris Mihm: The talent currently in Los Angeles brought back memories for Kobe of less talented supporting squads, specifically the Lakers’ 2005-06 roster that included Brian Cook, Smush Parker and Chris Mihm. “I’m taking 45 shots a game. What was I supposed to do, pass the ball in to Chris Mihm? Chris Mihm?” Bryant said during training camp in October. Of Parker, Bryant said: “Smush Parker was the worst. He shouldn’t have been in the NBA, but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. We let him walk on.”

Kobe Bryant, Kwame Brown

(Jeff Lewis/AP)

Kwame Brown: Bryant hasn’t spared former No. 1 pick Kwame Brown, who left the Lakers as part of a trade package for Pau Gasol, from public criticisms. In 2011, Bryant shared a story of Brown’s last game with the Lakers, when Brown told Bryant not to pass him the ball even if he was open underneath the hoop because he was “nervous.” “If I catch it and they foul me, I won’t make the free throws,” Brown reportedly said. In Bryant’s riff on his 2005-06 team, which also included Brown, he said of the 6-11 center, “I don’t know how he convinced Philadelphia to cough up $7 million a year. They want to lock us out, but they’ll pay him $7 million.”

Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum

(Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Andrew Bynum: After the Lakers traded Bynum as part of the deal to land Dwight Howard, Bryant seemed to ignore the loss of his seven-year teammate. “We got Pau [Gasol] for virtually nothing, so history does repeat itself,” Bryant said of the trade.

Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol

(John W. McDonough/SI)

Pau Gasol: Bryant and Gasol reportedly feuded in the 2010-11 season, with things coming to a head during the 2011 conference semifinals when the Mavericks swept the Lakers. The New York Post cited sources that said Bryant and Gasol had suffered a complete falling out. The two remain teammates to this day.

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard

(Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dwight Howard: The honeymoon for Bryant and Howard came to a quick end with a report in the New York Daily News that Howard had to be restrained from going after Bryant after the two engaged in a heated exchange following the Lakers’ New Year’s Day loss to the 76ers. The altercation between the two reportedly included Bryant’s mentioning Shaquille O’Neal’s critiques of Howard as a soft player. Howard has complained to the media about the Lakers’ lack of chemistry, a criticism possibly targeted at Bryant. (Bryant has since denied that an altercation took place.)

4 comments
pop.vlado85
pop.vlado85

Can we even say that Kobe had "feuds" with guys like Smush Parker, Kwame Brown, and Chris Mihm? They were all just a bunch of scrub whipping boys for Kobe. Not really a feud. Kobe expects a lot from players and doesn't give too much respect to scrubs. Like it or not, 'The Mamba' has earned the right to act the way he does. 

M as in Mancy
M as in Mancy

Not a fan of his social skills and character but maybe 5 players in NBA history have had his drive to be great and squeeze out every drop of talent. People like that don't seem to get along with big men who don't...even future HOFer Shaq could have gotten more out of his talent.

GeorgeMiguel
GeorgeMiguel

but one thing is certain!  many idolizes him GREATLY, many basketball fans like to DIS AGREE too, okay?

GeorgeMiguel
GeorgeMiguel

kobe bryant is a holy cow to LA LAKERS!  just let him alone and let the history of the game gonna judge him someday, okay!  whether he is a good team mate, leader, and a basket ball player?   people will gonna judge him whether he is the greatest laker, all time great,   and a civilian as well!  okay!