Mike D'Antoni Hiring Proves Kobe's Losing Influence in Laker Land

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIINovember 13, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 14:  Head coach Phil Jackson talks to Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during their game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena on February 14, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The shocks in Los Angeles just continue to come.

Mere days after they fired head coach Mike Brown just five games into the regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers opted to hire Mike D'Antoni over Phil Jackson (via ESPN). The move comes at a time in which Jackson was widely considered to be the top candidate to become the Lakers' head coach.

Yet another example of Kobe Bryant's dwindling influence in Laker Land. So why is this happening?


It's Happened Before

Don't let the Lakers' decision to go with Mike D'Antoni over Kobe's choice of Phil Jackson fool you. This is not the first time that the Lakers brass has gone against Bryant in their pursuit of a new head coach.

I know it's been a long time since November 10th, but does anyone remember Mike Brown?

When the Lakers first hired Brown, the controversy surrounding the move stemmed deeper than their overlooking Brian Shaw. Instead, it was the fact that they did not confer with Bryant prior to making the decision on whom to hire (via The Los Angeles Times).

I suppose you could say that Kobe's influence has been declining for quite some time.


Could It Be Ending Soon?

Per a report via Ken Berger of CBS Sports, Kobe Bryant could retire after the conclusion of the 2013-14 NBA season. In an interview with CNN Turkey, however, Bryant stated that he may very well play until the age of 40.

Regardless of which ends up being true, is it truly that difficult to believe that the Lakers are preparing for life after Kobe?

I'll be the first person to tell you that the Lake Show would not be in such a prominent position if not for Bryant. Even as they entered years of mediocrity in the post-Shaq era, Bryant kept them as a world-class franchise with his uncanny ability to light up the scoreboard.

Does anyone remember a certain 81-point game? How about a streak of nine consecutive games in which he scored at least 40 points? Or his five 60-point games?

You get the point.

The fact of the matter is, the Lakers made a statement when they acquired Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic. They remain under the belief that an elite big man can win you an NBA championship.

Which is why D-12 will eventually emerge as the lead player of the franchise.

More importantly, what best suits him will be of the utmost importance. In turn, Kobe's input could become an afterthought.

When you consider how dominant he performs in the face of adversity, why even fear this?


Bigger Than One

Whether fans want to admit it or not, an NBA franchise is bigger than just one individual. No matter how important Kobe Bryant is to the Lakers' revenue as an organization, the decisions will be made by the front office.

For better or worse.

It's a known fact that the Buss family has had their run-ins with Phil Jackson (via ESPN). That's exactly why we should not be surprised by the fact that Jackson was snubbed in taking over as head coach.

Kobe will be the face of the franchise for the remainder of his stint in Los Angeles. The decision-making for the organization, however, continues to be placed in the hands of the Lakers brass.

Not Kobe.