Kobe Bryant has had quite an interesting summer.
Since getting eliminated in the postseason by the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar has won a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games, watched his franchise trade for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, dealt with numerous preseason injuries and—most recently—found himself in a verbal battle with Smush Parker, a former teammate.
Let’s take a look at the Black Mamba’s preseason and try to recap all of the highlights from the past month.
Back towards the beginning of October, Bryant ended up missing a few practices with a foot injury.
Obviously, the pain subsided quickly, as the SG was able to get back on the floor, playing in numerous preseason games and practices over the past week.
Smush Parker Drama
What started out as a relatively harmless but disrespectful offhanded comment by Bryant has turned into a full-blown controversy.
Kobe recently spoke with Janis Carr of the OCRegister about his 2005-06 campaign, in which he nearly won the MVP award (it went to now-teammate Nash), despite the dearth of talent around him.
“I almost won an MVP with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown on my team,” Bryant said. “I was shooting 45 times a game. What was I supposed to do? Pass it to Chris Mihm or Kwame Brown.”
Parker took offense to this, telling a ridiculous story during an appearance on Hard 2 Guard radio:
Midway through the first season, I tried to at least have a conversation with Kobe Bryant. He is a teammate, he is a co-worker of mine, I see his face every day when I go into work. I tried to talk to him about football and he tells me I can't talk to him. I need more accolades under my belt before I come and talk to him. He was dead serious.
The Black Mamba found out that Parker actually responded and was extremely humored to hear from his old point guard.
Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times caught up with Bryant and got this reaction from Bryant:
I was devastated. What's he [Parker] going to do? 'Yeah, Kobe's right?' I gave him his little 30 minutes of fame again. I wish him the best of luck. Maybe he'll get back to the NBA one day and can see what it's like up close again."
It’s been a ridiculous back-and-forth affair that hopefully ends sooner than later.
Bryant’s most serious problem this season hasn’t been Smush Parker or his foot, but rather his right shoulder.
This is the same shoulder that gave him a problem back in 2003, but the Black Mamba is maintaining the two injuries are unrelated.
He missed some time this past week after dunking on Antawn Jamison during practice. He’s gone back to work since getting hurt, but this is something that Lakers fans have to be concerned about going forward.