Let’s be honest: Fans of the Los Angeles Lakers are certainly worried about Mike Brown taking over as head coach. But fears of Brown’s shortcomings as a basketball coach are hiding what we are all really worried about. That, of course, is what kind of a relationship Brown will have with Kobe Bryant.
Add in the fact the team didn’t consult Kobe before hiring Brown (not that it necessarily should have) and Kobe more or less remaining silent on the hiring of Brown, and it’s easy to see why the fear is warranted.
Being a realist, I know the Lakers will have moments next season when they will struggle, and the questions regarding the hiring of Brown will likely only increase and become more pessimistic.
When these tough times do arise and Brown is all but latched to the guillotine, how Kobe reacts will likely determine the success of the Lakers next season. Also, how Kobe interacts with Brown could change how people look at Kobe’s overall legacy.
Kobe is not only the leader of the Lakers, but some would argue he also is the leader of Los Angeles, as far as contemporary athletes and sports are concerned. There is no more beloved athlete at the moment in Los Angeles than Kobe.
If Kobe is happy, takes the high road and supports Brown every step of the way, everyone will likely take a big sigh of relief and focus on basketball, and the team will have a much better chance of winning basketball games.
If Kobe expresses his displeasure with the team and/or Brown, it will turn into a media circus, people will go searching for Phil Jackson in Montana and the season could go up in flames.
Also, Kobe is no longer a young, brash 21-year-old, battling Shaquille O'Neal for team supremacy. Some would argue Kobe is too mature to not suck it up and buy into Brown’s coaching philosophy.
We can probably count the number of seasons Kobe has left on one hand. Does Kobe really want the last part of his career to be remembered for clashing with Mike Brown, especially after he has worked so hard the last four seasons erasing the image of a selfish, “can’t lead a team to the big one” player so many basketball fans used to hold?
So, not only will the current team members, Mike Brown and Lakers fans all take a collective sigh of relief if Kobe does indeed keep his ego in check, seeing as it will almost guarantee the team being more successful, but Kobe will as well, both now and later. After all, he not only has the current success of the Lakers to worry about, but his overall legacy as well.