Donald Sterling controversey: Kobe Bryant expresses appreciation for Lakers’ ownership

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant looks on from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in New York. The Knicks defeated the Lakers 110-103. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant looks on from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, in New York. The Knicks defeated the Lakers 110-103. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The persistent losing frustrated Kobe Bryant enough to put public pressure on the Lakers’ front office to rebuild quickly. The occasionally clash between Jim and Jeanie Buss prompted Bryant to call for them to improve their relationship. Philosophical differences with Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced system and his struggles handling an injury-depleted roster soured Bryant’s outlook on them.

But those issues hardly compare to what the Clippers are currently experiencing. Yes, they are the best team in Los Angeles and are currently in the playoffs. But with Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racially disparaging remarks according to an audio recording obtained by TMZ, Bryant became among one of the many NBA stars speaking out against his words. For Bryant, the incident also provided a bigger reminder that he appreciates what he currently has.

 

Bryant also reiterated in a subsequent tweet the reflection that at least one NBA agent shared with me. The Clippers might boast an All-Star roster in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, a top tier coach in Doc Rivers and attract practice facilities in Playa Vista. But they also have Sterling, whose racially tinged words could have a drastically negative affect on landing future free agents.

 

Bryant almost did play for Sterling, entertaining offers about playing for the cross-town Clippers when he became a free agent in 2004. But Bryant listened to a last-minute pitch from the late Lakers owner Jerry Buss about staying on board. Three years later, Bryant demanded a trade amid frustrations with a missed playoff appearance and two first-round exits to the Phoenix Suns. But the late Buss stayed patient and eventually convinced him otherwise.

The late Jerry Buss has been considered one of the best sports owners of all time, overseeing the Lakers’ 10 of their 16 NBA championships since purchasing the franchise in 1979 and bringing the so-called “Showtime Era.” Meanwhile, Sterling is considered among the worst, overseeing a franchise usually mired in mediocrity. He has also gone through various legal lawsuits. In 2009, Sterling paid more than $2 million in settlement fees because accusations he declined renting out his real estate apartments in Koreatorwn, to blacks, Hispanics and families with children. That same year, former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor filed a lawsuit accusing him of running the organization like a Southern Plantation, though the charge was eventually dismissed.

But with Sterling’s latest trangressions, Bryant reiterated something that reflects the vast sentiment surrounding those in the NBA.

 

RELATED:

Mike D’Antoni seeking assurances Lakers will exercise team option

Lakers Q&A: NBA TV’s Rick Fox believes Lakers will keep Mike D’Antoni

Pau Gasol saysreturn to Lakers hinges on whether they make “significant changes”

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email
  • bandaidcuts

    renegotiate your contract so the team can build a championship worthy team!

    • Jerry Arthur Newcomb

      Renegotiate when the times is necessary. If we can get someone and they need cash to do it. Yes, then renegotiate… But wait until it is needed, like Magic Johnson did in the 80′s!

      • bandaidcuts

        it doesn’t work that way!

  • http://batman-news.com John Moore

    I think for the sake of the LA fans that the Lakers should absorb the Clippers players and coach, and in the spirit of fairnes have their cap doubled.
    Any players they don’t take would be unrestricted Free agents…
    As a Laker Fan it sounds like the perfect solution to both the Clippers and Lakers woes. ;-)

  • lachanda m

    Kobe has his nerve he probably has the.same mentality as donald Sterling. He was in a relationship with.a beautiful intelligent black girl and abondons her for a trashy¿ Delicate latina¿ Sit down kobe.

  • foofoogoo

    Didn’t kobe back in ’04 consider signing with the clippers?
    Oh, he meant in retrospect, “I couldn’t play for him.”