Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant Must Take Responsibility to Tame Andrew Bynum

Andre KhatchaturianCorrespondent IIIApril 7, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 06:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts for a foul call against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on April 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

For the second time in a matter of three weeks against the same team, Andrew Bynum was ejected from a ballgame for something really foolish.

Bynum should've left his juvenile bench-taunting habits in high school.

It shouldn't be a part of his game. Not only that, it's just a stupid reason for getting ejected, especially when you know you already have one technical foul in the game.

There is no doubt that Bynum's ejection in a tightly contested battle against the Houston Rockets was a reason why the Lakers lost the lead in the fourth quarter and fell behind late in the game to eventually lose. 

Ever since Derek Fisher was traded away, it seems like Bynum has turned into a diva. He's easily the most dominant player on the team, perhaps even the best, but his antics on the court at times can drive Lakers fans crazy.

From his haphazard affinity for the three-pointer to his defiance of his coach and referees, Bynum is wasting his talent and costing his team by acting like a selfish child on the court.

Since Fisher is gone, Kobe Bryant must step in and tame Bynum.

First of all, he can't be enabling him like he did last time when Bynum was benched in late March for taking an inexplicable three-pointer. 

Bryant said that he saw a young Kobe in Bynum:

It's somewhat amusing to me, because in some ways the edginess and the chippiness of him make it easy for me to relate to him, because I had some of that when I was young.

That's nice, Kobe. But the last thing you want is for your center to think it's okay to act like an immature child on the court just because you were once a rebel too.

It's true, though.

Kobe was once a time bomb waiting to explode. Even to this day, he'll get hit on a missed shot opportunity and not get the foul call. Rather than running back to the other side of the court to prevent a fast break, he'll stop and question the official in a rude manner and earn a technical.

That being said, he knows how to control himself after that first technical, or when he's accumulated a certain number of technicals throughout a season and knows that if he gets a few more, he'll get a suspension.

With Derek Fisher gone, Kobe is now the sole leader of this team. He needs to grab Bynum to the side and tell him to straighten up his act, especially during close games.

There is an art to questioning officiating and trash talking. Bynum does both at the most inopportune times. Kobe, on the other hand, has mastered both. Learning when to do those things during timely moments can make the difference between a win and a loss.

Kobe can help show Bynum how to keep his edginess, but at the same time be a more mature player. He can accomplish this by letting Bynum know that he used to be just like him. This will help Bynum's large ego to want to learn from his team's leader and elder statesman, Kobe Bryant.

Alcoholics can learn a lot from recovered alcoholics and make progress with their road to recovery because they are dealing with people who once had the same problems they have now.

Similarly, Bynum can stop becoming a team distraction by listening to Kobe.

But before he starts listening, Kobe has to talk. That's his job now as the main leader of the team, and it's necessary for him to do something about it. Bynum's arrogance is increasing with each dominant performance, and someone needs to be there to curb it to save the team from losing games it should win, like it did tonight.