One of the greatest (and by “greatest” I mean “worst”) trends in the NBA is retired players talking about current players. Whether they’re salty like Charles Barkley or complimentary, they usually tend to say something that uhh . . . isn’t great.
Enter Kobe Bryant. The former MVP, who played 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring in 2016, was at Staples Center on Monday for the Lakers’ annual “All-Access” event. He spoke at length about the current trajectory of the franchise, and heaped on praise for LeBron James, while sounding very optimistic about the future in LakerLand.
And then, of course, because he’s a retired NBA player (and because he’s Kobe Bryant), he took a shot at the Golden State Warriors fanbase.
“[The Lakers] will figure it out,” Bryant said, as reported by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “So, enjoy the journey because we’ll be champions before you know it, and then we’ll just be laughing at all the Warrior fans who all of the sudden came out of nowhere.”
On the one hand, I’m not going to get very defensive about a bandwagon joke. Bandwagons exist in every sport - no champion is devoid of bandwagoners. If you have bandwagon fans, it usually just means you have a really good team.
On the other hand, I can’t help but think it’s a little rich for someone attached to the Lakers, the world’s most bandwagon-filled franchise, to be calling out another team’s inauthentic fanbase . . .
And if we’re talking details, it doesn’t seem very likely that the Lakers are NBA champions “before you know it.”