Who needs Ric Bucher when you’ve got your own website? Following in the trail blazed by the athlete-bloggers like Curt Schilling and Gilbert Arenas, for the second day in a row, Kobe Bryant has posted a juicy update on his personal website, www.kb24.com. Yesterday’s entry tried to clear the air about whether he’d actually demanded a trade if the Lakers didn’t bring back Jerry West.
This time, he gives his account of the events surrounding Shaquille O’Neal’s trade from L.A. back in 2004. Bryant says that he had nothing to do with it, that Jerry Buss told him eariler in the season that Shaq would be gone because of concerns about his age, weight and contract demands.
Bryant also intimated that he was disappointed in the Lakers for “letting him take the bullet” on the Shaq trade, but never said anything until now because all those voices pinning that trade on him were coming from the outside. When he read an article today saying that a “Lakers insider” had noted “his wanting to get away from Shaq,” he could no longer hold his tongue.
I’d go on, but Kobe tells it pretty well himself.
“Was up again, y’all.
I saw an article this AM in the LA Times which said a Lakers’ “insider” noted that my wanting to “get away from Shaq” is what created this whole “mess” the Laker’s currently find themselves in. Man, hearing something like that, which is not true, and which comes from the “inside” is totally frustrating. The fact of the matter is that many people don’t know what really went down when I was approaching free agency because I have stayed quiet about it this whole time. The real facts are that Dr. Buss requested a meeting with me during the 04 season long before I opted out of my contract, and he told me he had already decided to not extend Shaq, as he was concerned about Shaq’s age, fitness and contract demands. Dr. Buss thought it was best for the Lakers to make a trade to get value for Shaq while they could.
Dr. Buss made it clear that his decision was final, his mind was made up and no matter what I decided to do with free agency he was still going to move Shaq.
I’ve heard many people say “the Lakers are letting Kobe take the bullet for the Shaq trade” but I always just let that go. But now when I hear “Lakers insider” it makes me feel so unsupported that a Lakers “insider” is tryin to spin Dr Buss’ decision about Shaq on me. Laker fans should know that when I was a free agent Dr. Buss called me from his Vacation in Italy on the eve of my decision and promised me that the Lakers would do everything to build a contender NOW. I told him at that time that my fear was the Lakers waiting to save Cap Room to sign a top notch free agent in 3 or 4 years, so that was why I was leaning towards other teams like the Clips and Bulls, both of who had a cast of good young players. But Dr. Buss promised me he would rebuild right away, and I believed him. That is why I put my trust in the Lakers. As I said yesterday, I am a die hard Laker fan, so I will keep my trust in them to remain here and play for the team I love. But, when stuff like this is coming from the “inside” all I can do is hope that someone from the “inside” comes forward to support me and set straight the facts of what really happened.
This is the TRUTH.