Bryant had said Parker was “the worst,” “shouldn’t have been in the NBA” and was allowed to “walk on” to the Lakers because “we were too cheap to pay for a point guard.”
Parker was hardly an NBA all-star or even an elite player. But he played hard and at times well and was certainly an NBA-caliber player. He has played the last year’s overseas, bothering no one, least of all Kobe Bryant.
In any case, Parker decided to hit back from Bryant’s low blows.
“You can’t knock the man’s legacy,” Parker said of Bryant, “you can’t knock what he’s done in basketball. His work ethic is tremendous. There’s not an ounce of hate in my blood whatsoever. The guy can play basketball — you’ve seen that throughout his career.
“What I don’t like about him is the man that he is. His personality. How he treats people. I don’t like that side of Kobe Bryant.”
It’s one thing to call someone a bad basketball player. It is quite another to call someone a bad person. Point to Parker.
Significantly, he illustrated his assertion.
“Midway through the first season,” Parker recalled, “I tried to at least have a conversation with Kobe Bryant — he is my teammate, he is a co-worker of mine, I see his face every day I go in to work — and I tried to talk with him about football. He tells me I can’t talk to him. He tells me I need more accolades under my belt before I come talk to him. He was dead serious.
“We’re teammates, we talk basketball on the court. [Our talks were] about getting him the ball pretty much.”