The highlight of Kwame Brown's Los Angeles tenure was escaping charges for theft and wanton destruction of a chocolate cake. Kobe Bryant's highlight of Kwame Brown's Los Angeles tenure was when Kwame Brown was traded away.
At a Q&A with students at UC-Santa Barbara, Kobe was asked about his 2008 MVP award. Relatively unprompted (except for the fact that for three months of that season, he was playing alongside nine guys who won a "be a Laker for a year" raffle), Bryant not-so-fondly recalled Kwame Brown's final game as a Laker. As transcribed by the WaPo's Michael Lee:
"The game before we traded for Pau, were playing Detroit and I had like 40 points towards the end of the game. This is back when Detroit had Rasheed [Wallace], Chauncey [Billups] and those guys, so we had no business being in the game. So down the stretch of the game, they put in a box and one. So I'm surrounded by these players, Detroit players, and Kwame is under the basket, all by himself. Literally, like all by himself. So I pass him the ball, he bobbled it and it goes out of bounds.
"So we go back to the timeout and I'm [upset], right? He goes, ‘I was wide open.' ‘Yeah, I know.' This is how I'm talking to him, like, during the game. I said, ‘You're going to be open again, Kwame, because Rasheed is just totally ignoring you.' He said, ‘Well, if I'm open don't throw it to me.' I was like, ‘Huh?' He said, ‘Don't throw it to me.' I said, ‘Why not?' He said, well, ‘I'm nervous. If I catch it and they foul me, I won't make the free throws.' I said, ‘Hell no!'
"I go to Phil [Jackson], I say, ‘Hey Phil, take him out of the game.' He's like, ‘Nah, let him figure it out.' So, we lose the game, I go the locker room, I'm steaming. Steaming. I'm furious. Then, finally I get a call, they said, ‘You know what, we got something that's happening with Pau.' I was like, ‘Alright. Cool.'…That's what I had to deal with the whole year."
Somewhere Michael Jordan reads this, his fingers tented, and he smiles to himself, knowing he broke a man.
Kobe Bryant has a Kwame Brown story [Washington Post]