Either Lakers G Kobe Bryant (above, left) has a Type-T(ommy Lasorda) strain of Dodger Blue ruining thru his veins or he’s still harboring a grudge over the 2002 NBA All-Star Game. Of Kobe’s decision to attend a Phillies/Dodgers game at Chavez Ravine in the company of Frank McCourt, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s John Gonzalez compares it to “like watching Zell Miller at the Republican National Convention.” “The defection was complete and the insult was obvious,” writes Gonzo, presumably secure in the knowledge there are no West Coast newspapers that might ever desire his services.
Ah, but that wasn’t enough. Mamba wanted to make sure we got the message and sent word through Craig Sager. TBS’s Technicolor Dreamcoat reporter asked the NBA’s version of Kanye West – Bryant’s ego has grown so impossibly large that he didn’t hesitate to go out in public wearing a shirt with his own likeness on it – if it felt a little strange to root against his hometown. Even Sager knows how poorly that sort of thing plays, especially here in Philly.
“It’s not weird.” Bryant reportedly said. “I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 14 years now.”
I lived in Boston and Dallas for eight years total, but I never had the urge to buy a Red Sox hat or spoon with former Big D mayor Ron Kirk. (He’s not much of a cuddler, anyway.) Plenty of athletes leave home to play elsewhere, but few have so openly and unapologetically dug up their roots and scorched the earth they left behind. Can you imagine Dwyane Wade so blatantly snubbing Chi-town?
In an attempt to finally cut whatever frayed ties he still had with Philly, Sager said Kobe told him that he grew up rooting for the Mets and that he still has Ron Darling’s baseball card. It’s bad enough that he was a closet Mutts fan, but he held on to Ron Darling’s card after all these years? Really? Until I heard that, I didn’t think it was possible for Bryant to be any lamer than some of us already suspected.
Man, when was the last time Ron Darling inspired this much disrespect on a national level?