Kobe Bryant has heard all the criticism that has been lobbed in his direction since he signed a $48.5 million contract extension with the Lakers. "Selfish," they called him, pointing out how his giant contract will limit the Lakers in free agency. Kobe Bryant thinks that all his critics can go ahead and choke on it.
Kobe spoke with Yahoo Sports last night, and he dropped some truth bombs about his contract situation. Specifically, he defended himself by pointing out just how ridiculous it is that the NBA's collective bargaining agreement is designed to ensure that players like him are always underpaid:
You can't sit up there and say, 'Well, I'm going to take substantially less because there's public pressure, because all of a sudden, if you don't take less, you don't give a crap about winning. That's total bull——.
"I'm very fortunate to be with an organization that understands how to take care of its players, and put a great team out on the floor. They've figured out how to do both.
Most players in this league don't have that. They get stuck in a predicament – probably intentionally done by the teams – to force them to take less money. Meanwhile, the value of the organization goes through the roof off the backs of their quote, unquote selfless players.
"It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.
But he wasn't finished just yet. Later in the night, Bryant continued to defend himself on Twitter:
He's not wrong. As we mentioned yesterday, the NBA's salary cap prevents superstars from earning anywhere close to what they would on the open market in an uncapped league. How much money do you think LeBron James or a 25-year-old Kobe Bryant—two players who could single-handedly turn any team into an immediate title contender—are actually worth? A hell of a lot more than what's been paid to them.
It's refreshing to see Bryant, who is old enough and accomplished enough to no longer give a shit about public opinion, take issue with the league in such a direct manner. He understands that it's stupid to gripe about what he's "worth" when the system that's setting his value is rigged in the first place, and he's not afraid to say so.