SAN ANTONIO — No longer able to throw fans and the media in a frenzy over his on-court heroics, Kobe Bryant still managed to do the same thing as he remains holed up at his Newport Beach home nursing a season-ending torn left Achilles’ tendon.
His tweets filled with insight, honesty and second guessing during the Lakers’ 91-79 Game 1 loss Sunday to the San Antonio Spurs provided more riveting entertainment than the on-court product. It caused Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni to roll his eyes and jokingly call Bryant a “fan.” It prompted talk shows and newspapers alike to debate whether Bryant’s tweets served as a great outlet to reveal his basketball mind, upstaged the Lakers’ coach and players or both. And it caused Bryant to announce a day later he will no longer provide such commentary during future games out of concern he’s taking attention away from the team.
Lakers forward Metta World Peace wishes that wasn’t the case.
“I love when Kobe tweets,” World Peace said. “He’s a great tweeter.”
Bryant’s tweets reveal the inner workings of a man consumed with basketball. It showed the observant, analytical and sarcastic part of his personality in 140 characters. It revealed just how much Bryant wishes he could play.
“Kobe should tweet Game 2 the whole time every possession,” World Peace said. “Critique us. Criticize us. Chew us out.”
Bryant’s done that plenty of times on the court and on the bench.
“He should coach,” World Peace said of Bryant. “Put a suit and tie on, a bow tie. Put the Mamba symbol right there and get here nad coach. Drag that leg here. I love Kobe. He’s a great coach though. Too bad Kobe is not going to coach after his career. But he’d be a great coach.”
But was Bryant’s coaching through Twitter a distraction?
“Absolutely not. I’m a distraction,” said World Peace, drawing laughter from a handful of reporters. “I’m much more of a distraction than Kobe. Absolutely not.”
Instead, World Peace saw Bryant’s tweets in a different light. While others viewed Bryant’s second guessing of D’Antoni’s coaching and his dismissiveness toward such commentary, World Peace saw a harmless sideshow making the NBA playoffs more exciting. The Lakers eccentric forward particularly enjoyed that D’Antoni described Bryant as a “fan.”
“That was funny,” World Peace said. “That was a great joke. Mike D’Antoni’s slick, boy. That was awesome. That was awesome. I loved that. Kobe was awesome tweeting at coach’s decisions on the court. And coach got at him and messed with him back through the media. That was great. It’s all about that. Now you guys have something to talk about.”
Though World Peace craves this kind of attention, the Lakers forward avoided Twitter as he rehabbed his surgically repaired left knee that sidelined him for six games earlier last month.
“I wanted to tweet. But there’s a rule you’re not supposed to tweet during the games,” said World Peace, referring to the NBA’s imposed rule for players suited up in the arena. “You’re supposed a tweet an hour and a half after the game and an hour and a half before the game to give you guys a chance to write your stories out. That’s why I didn’t tweet out when I was injured. But there wasn’t a rule, I would’ve been able to tweet every single game.”
As much as World Peace proclaims to love Bryant’s tweets, though, he actually doesn’t follow him on Twitter.
World Peace only follows four other Twitter accounts, including his own media company, an organization devoted to mental health awareness, a beverage company and the Dalai Lama.
“I haven’t gotten a direct message from the Dalai,” World Peace said. “I sent him a few direct messages. But he didn’t respond. He’s too good for Metta World Peace.”
Will World Peace respond to Bryant?
“I’l tweet him back & direct message him back. If he don’t want to tweet, he should just do Stumble Upon,” World Peace said, referring to another social networking site. “Don’t even watch the game. Just Stumble. I love Kobe. Kobe’s great.”
And part of the reason is because of his tweets.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org