Following news that he would sit out for the rest of the NBA season, Kobe Bryant lashed out at Lakers management Wednesday (March 12), demanding that they’re held to the same high standard that he’s held to on the court.
Sitting out with a fractured knee, the Lakers superstar spoke with reports for an hour, demanding change NOW… not later.
“No. No. Nope. Not one lick,” Kobe said, in regarding to waiting another season to rebuild another contender in 2015… after yet another losing season. “Oh, yeah, let’s just play next year and let’s just suck again. No. Absolutely not. It’s my job to go out there on the court and perform, no excuses for it. Right? You’ve got to get things done.
“Same thing with the front office. The same expectations they have of me when I perform on the court, it’s the same expectations I have for them up there.”
Kobe named names as well, explaining that change must start at the top, referring to Lakers’ upper management.
“I think we have to start at the top in terms of the culture of our team,” he said. “What kind of culture do we want to have? What kind of system do we want to have? How do we want to play? It starts there and from there, you can start building out your team accordingly.
“You got to start with Jim,” he added, when asked to clarify. “You got to start with Jim and Jeanie and how that relationship plays out. It starts there and having a clear direction and clear authority. And then it goes down to the coaching staff and what Mike (D’Antoni) is going to do, what they’re going to do with Mike and it goes from there. It’s got to start at the top.
“How can I be satisfied with it? We’re like 100 games under .500. I can’t be satisfied with that at all. This is not what we stand for, this is not what we play for.”
Kobe’s sense of urgency comes from a closing window for another championship. He’ll turn 36 in August, and has two seasons left on his contract for $48.5 million.
He also said team executives Jim and Jeanie Buss need to patch things up, after their relationship was strained in late 2012, when the Lakers hired Coach Mike D’Antoni instead of Phil Jackson… who is also Jeanie’s fiance.
While Kobe went off, Magic Johnson also added words on Twitter, saying that the Lakers made a big mistake in not pursuing Phil Jackson to join the front office… which the Knicks has recently offered.