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SI features Kobe Bryant

Kobe on Sports Illustrated In the June 22nd issue of Sports Illustrated (I believe that's the one on newsstands now), Chris Ballard has an interesting profile of Kobe's run through the Finals.  Since not everyone- myself included- keeps subscriptions up to date, I thought I'd pass it along.  An excerpt:

"...His performance in these Finals was memorable not necessarily for the bursts of scoring (though of course there were those) but for the moments that revealed both his evolution as a player and his near-desperate desire to win. The way he wrestled with Orlando's Rashard Lewis, elbowing and hooking and kneeing when he had to switch onto the 6'10" forward; the way he bared his teeth after big plays, like a feral animal; the way he dominated not only with baskets but also with passes—Bryant had nearly twice as many assists as any other player in the Finals. Though he would never admit it, his willingness to play whatever role his team needed may have reflected Bryant's awareness that the era of LeBron James and Dwight Howard is at hand, and that the best way for him to stay relevant, since he can't do it by sheer force of personality, is by winning.

So he gave himself over to this one goal as never before—which is saying a lot for Kobe. He shut down communication during the Finals, ignoring most phone calls and cutting off e-mail. He became so ornery that his two young daughters took to calling him Grumpy, from Snow White. And he sought nothing less than a similar commitment from his teammates. When 21-year-old center Andrew Bynum came out lackluster in Game 3, Bryant lit into him during a timeout, loud enough that a sideline reporter could overhear, "Get your head in the f------ game." This was not the soft, cuddly Bryant we were served up last month in ESPN's Spike Lee documentary Kobe Doin' Work. Rather, this was Kobe actually doing work. And it was far more compelling..."

There's a lot in the piece about both Kobe's approach and process as well, always interesting because it opens another window to see why Kobe is who he is. 

BK

(Thanks to BallerBlogger for the tip.)

 
Comments () | Archives (28)

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Father's Day,...the US Open,..Kobe on SI...all is good. Let's hold onto Trevor and LO and do this another 4 or 5 times. What a relaxing summer... Hey Boston...how does our A_ _ taste?
In KC now after 41 years in South Orange county...this feels alot like the summers of 80 and 86..
Much love to all of you who keep this sight great..Hey Mamba!

Kobesbad

i stopped subscribing to SI years ago because eversince colorado they have always been very anti-kobe.... glad to see they finally realize they'll have to embrace the new hero or they will be part of a rapidly shrinking minority.

i may just have to renew my membership


LG,

>>> If you're going to ask that Kobe signs for less why not ask the same
>>> of any of the other Lakers?

Ironically, that is probably what is going to happen with every contract that the team negotiates going forward, starting with Lamar, Trevor, and Shannon. And it isn’t an anti-Kobe conspiracy. Even though there are haters who will interpret whatever Kobe does negatively, the situation is just what it is, the stark reality that the luxury tax makes it very difficult to keep a winning team together and Kobe forgoing a few million a year could make a big difference. It was inevitable that the focus would come on Kobe’s new deal.

Furthermore, I still firmly believe that Kobe’s best option by far is to take a little less because he will recoup it many times over with endorsements. That is the smart business, financial, public relations, and image move to make. Kobe’s too smart to miss this opportunity to solidify his redemption from Colorado and Shaq-gate. He will likely volunteer to opt out and take less. To NOT do so would be a dumb move.

Tom

That's great to know Bryant is on top of the "Bynum situation" - one can only hope that with Bryant riding him, Bynum gets the guidance he needs to mature with his play on the court! Maybe it is just me ,but it seemed at times that Bynum got frustrated too easily in the Finals, and gave these hard slap down fouls on Howard after giving up trying to defend him in earnest.

doug

I really, really want a part of the LATimes street fight if it ever goes down. I mastered the home made nunchucks probably by '82 and had my 4 stripe yellow belt by the mid 90's.

I'm ready.

And I'm not alone. Take a look at some of my closest friends:

http://tinyurl.com/ytzhgh

Wes

T.j Simers jealous of the Kamenetzky brothers and Laker dynasty?

Jonathan Kambell: "Would anything make you happy?"

Simers;

Knowing which Kamenetzky is Brian, and which one is Andrew.

Is this true.Simers doest recognize is own breathen from LA Times sports staff. lol hhaha

Maybe Mitch should take a paycut.
Posted by: pfunk36

LOL.. my sentiments exactly!

now i'm wondering... does anybody know how much kupchak makes?

this guy is singlehandedly responsible for signing luke sasha and vlade (now morrison after trade) all to mid level contracts for a total of ....

(DRUMROLL)...ARE YOU READY FOR THIS...

15 MILLION AMERICAN DOLLARS!

punishing kobe when he is

I'm glad Kobe is finally getting the moment he has so long deserved. And he has paid back the money Dr. Buss has invested in him many times over. I don't care what Kobe makes next season. That's between him and the organization. They've done the right thing before and we can count on them both to do it again.

As much as I've criticized Phil during the season and post-season, I hope he comes back. I don't always understand his ways and certainly haven't always agreed with him. But they work. What else matters?

As for Trevor and Lamar, i fervently want them to come back, too. The Lakers are greater than the sum of their parts. Luke Walton's disappearance to the far end of the bench during Rudy T's brief tenure demonstrates how players flourish best in a particular system. This has been the first season where Trevor has truly established himself. But another contract with the Lakers and a chance to flourish in the system here would make his following contract worth way more than he can get this time around as a free agent. Lamar's unhappy journey from the Clippers to Miami and back to LA with the Lakers shows that he too has acquired a unique value with our team.

Kobe has proven he is not yet in decline. He can lead this team back to the Finals at least a few more times and everyone else who can should make sure they're along for the ride.

The only question which remains is this:

How many more "Kobe Bryant will take less money" posts will LakerTom make this summer?

hobbitmage,

Thanks for your posts. I did have the figures wrong. In fact, I am not totally sure of the exact figures. What seems clear, however, is that Kobe probably earned as much from endorsements this year as his Lakers salary, which is surprising since his endorsements had disappeared entirely in the wake of Colorado. Throw in the NBA championship and Finals MVP award and you could easily see Kobe doubling his endorsements next year.

I do think Kobe and his people will be on top of this situation and he will opt out and sign for less, my guess being $3M to $5M per year less. I don’t know where the line is, but I am pretty confident that the goodwill and positive image generated by that move would easily be recouped in endorsements. That is why I think this is all a moot decision. Kobe knows he has a win-win situation and will smartly take advantage of it.

Putting the onus, as you stated, on Buss and the involved parties is naïve. Just by the nature of being the 500 pound gorilla, Kobe IS one of the involved parties, generally because he is the team’s highest paid player and specifically because his contract option provides an opportunity for him to do something that will benefit both him and the team.

Everybody on this team will get their at bats to help keep the team together. I don’t doubt for a second that the issue was brought up during the negotiations to extend Bynum’s contract, too. And it will be an issue with Lamar, Trevor, and Shannon when they start negotiating. By extension, the same issue is unavoidable with Kobe. It ain’t necessarily fair but you can say that about almost everything in life.

Kobe has three choices: (1) Go for the max and look greedy and/or stupid, (2) Take less and be a hero and make more in the long run, or (3) Wait until next year to opt out.

I’m betting Kobe will opt for door #2. JMO.

Tom

Yellofever

What up S`a.....U dont like my homie Luke Walton.Get over it.Luke Waton will be a Laker forever.Sorry hater.

pig,

>>> The only question which remains is this:

>>> How many more "Kobe Bryant will take less money" posts
>>> will LakerTom make this summer?

That was pretty funny, pig. I am trying to manage my Lakers jones but it isn’t easy. Thank God that I can at least fire off another post to keep the willies at bay. LOL.

Tom

Aloha Laker Tom,

You are spot on. The best business move for Kobe is to sign for less. He will recieve much more in endorsments if he is on a elite team, chasing MJ's 6 rings then if he is on a team thats eliminated in the 2nd round. Thats just a simple business reality, that I am sure he and his advisers are aware of. Keep up the good work.

MH

LAKER TOM,
I always respect your opinion but the only thing I disagree with you on the whole how much should Kobe earn deal is the point which you make about his 'image' and the 'goodwill' it will create if he takes less money.. common the dude is already the most marketable player in the NBA.. He is a global icon..He is the 10th on the most powerful celebrities of the World list..Certainly the Corporate sponsors don't think of him as the selfish spoiled superstar anymore.. if they think of him like that they certainly wont let him endorse their products..The haters are always going to hate him no matter what.. it does not matter to them if he takes the max or if he takes less money.. If he takes the max they ll tell that he is selfish .. if he takes less money they ll tell that this is just a PR move and he really is still the selfish guy and does not care about his team..

LGFI

and AK thanks for your clarification on the salary cap rules for players' restructuring their deals.. So only when a player is up for an extension, he can restructure his deal so that he can take less money.. am i right??

LGFI

I canceled my SI subscription after the magazine went "redneck" on Kobe immediately following the Colorado Incident. I do not intend to ever subscribe again, but I might buy this one issue.

They showed their true colors with the bile they published, during that period, and have permanently damaged their credibility with me.

This is "bandwagon" journalism and as self serving as it gets.

LGFI,

Thanks for your response. The respect is mutual. Soirry, Pig.

>>> …The dude is already the most marketable player in the NBA.
>>> …The haters are always going to hate him no matter what.

You’re right and you’re wrong on both accounts. Yes, he is the most marketable player in the NBA right now but his marketability is going to skyrocket due the championship and Finals. Taking less would be the cap of a glorious comeback and redemption.

And yes, there are haters who will always hate but there are also a lot of fans who are just parroting what they heard a hater say who can be swayed into the Kobe camp. Kobe is at that point where his accomplishments are starting to swing the pendulum back in his favor. He’ll never win over the haters but the great majority are going to start worshiping Kobe just like MJ. Especially if he takes less to keep the team together.

Tom

LGFI,

>>> So only when a player is up for an extension, he can restructure
>>> his deal so that he can take less money.. am i right??

Actually, players can only restructure their deals when they are free agents. In Kobe’s case, his option is to become a free agent. He is not obligated to sign with the Lakers any more than Lamar, Trevor, or Shannon are. Extensions, which Andrew received and for which Kobe is eligible, are merely new contracts that start when the current contract expires. Kobe could negotiate an extension but it would not affect what he is paid during the last two years of his contract. It would just get tagged on. Opting out would nullify the last two years and make Kobe a free agent who could negotiate a totally new contract with the Lakers – or any team that could fit him under the salary cap.

By the way, Kobe also has the option of waiting until after next year to opt out of the last year of his contract. If he wanted to make the max, there is little difference between doing it now or next year, just a little over $50K if I remember.

Tom

I think it's wise for Kobe to take less a year to keep TA and LO and I think we all agree this makes sense. What's another 2-3 million a year to Kobe at this point? (Didn't MJ do that to keep John Paxson around, thus helping win those additional rings?) I also agree that the haters will always be the haters no matter what sacrifices he makes.

In 2007 Forbes Magazine said Kobe made 21 million in endorsements (effectively doubling his salary.) That number must be at least 1 1/2 times that in the US now. I'm not sure if it works this way in the NBA like it does in the NFL, but if players get post-season bonuses that also helps. His appeal has spread to Europe, where I know he recently got a contract with a Swiss watch maker, whose top-of-the-line products are priced over $200,000! (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123759047318300341.html) I can't imagine what he must net from having the most popular jersey in China. Could there be a possibility that he gets a small ownership percentage in lieu of a higher salary? Magic's an owner, and while Kobe will never be as beloved as him, by the time he retires he will have helped gross hundreds of millions of dollars for the franchise. Having your two most famous stars with a financial stake may not be a bad thing. (Assuming you can keep Bryant from doing the Jordan-meddling-control thing.) It's well known that Dr. Buss is willing to spend the money to keep winning and with approximately 48 million in additional cash from the post-season he can afford to take the hit.

The near future, and ultimately the history of the Kobe era, have yet to be determined.

Wes/BK/AK...For the fight i can get a flight to the US with Virgin airways for $1,200 Australian dollars...Let me know so i can get my baseball bat sanded down and cleaned up..

If someone from the blog could hook me up with a bed in there shed or basement that would be cool..

Oh i almost forgot..Did you guys want me to wear my T-BIRDS jacket?...


KOBE’S CELEBRITY…

I did some research and per Forbes, Kobe Bryant earned a total of $45M from June 2008 through June 2009 in entertainment income, which basically means salary and endorsements but not business investments or interest. That was 2nd to Tiger Woods and his astounding $110M despite winning only $5M in prize money due to injury.

Kobe’s $45M topped LeBron James $40M for the same period, which confirms that winning the regular season MVP redeemed Kobe in the eyes of Madison Avenue and enabled him to pass LeBron who had earned $10M more than him the year before. Winning the championship and Finals MVP while LeBron went fishing will push the pendulum even more in Kobe’s favor despite LeBron’s regular season MVP.

Nobody knows how much Kobe’s endorsement income could grow but you would have to believe it will jump at least the $10M it jumped last year from maybe $25M to $35M per year. And if Kobe were to take less to help keep the team together, future titles will only add to his marketing value. Even now, long after retiring, MJ still pulled in $45M in entertainment income same as Kobe last year. Taking $3M to $5M less is peanuts compared to the endorsement dollars at stake for Kobe. He will take less for sure.

Tom

NBA-TV is reporting that Kobe says "he will not opt out of his contract this summer" along their bottom scrawl.

Sounds like encouraging news for those of us who want to see this team stay together as much as possible. If Kobe's salary doesn't increase for the remaining two years of his deal, that seems to give the Laker front office more leeway to resign Lamar and Trevor.

Tom,

I'm not in agreement with Kobe taking less from the Lakers regardless of how much he made. He earned every dime.

Now that you've detailed what Kobe makes, just for comparisons sake tell us how much the Buss family made over that same period.

Kobe's jersey and Lakers merchandise sells, etc... what do those figures look like?

Before you even do the research I'll bet it's more than $45 million.

It's not Kobe's responsibility to ensure the salaries of other players, it's totally up to the owners because it's their business.

If he decides to take less good for him, if he doesn't good for him. I'm in the camp of it's the owners responsibility to pay the players because its the owners that gain the most financially from having a winning product on the floor.

Kobe more than earns every dollar he's paid by the Lakers. In fact, he's the reason so much dead weight is being paid millions of dollars. I love Sasha and Luke but neither of those players earn the money they make when comparing what Kobe brings to the court and what they bring to the court on a nightly basis.

Paying the luxury tax is not going to put the Busses in the poor house so please Tom stop making the resigning of players about Kobe taking a pay cut, it's not his responsibility, this is on the Busses.

". . reflected Bryant's awareness that the era of LeBron James and Dwight Howard is at hand, and that the best way for him to stay relevant, since he can't do it by sheer force of personality, is by winning."

Stay relevant? WTF. Kobe? Stay relevant? Huh?

OK, deep breath.

1. Kobe already won 3 before this.
2. He doesn't care what if these guys are better than him because a. they're his friends, b. he never saw any of them till now in the finals so why worry, c. he came in MJ and Shaq were playing, he wasn't worried then why now with DH and LBJ?
3. Even if he not the best like Russel he has the rings.

"T.j Simers jealous of the Kamenetzky brothers and Laker dynasty?"

Of course he is.

T.J. Simers is an idiot. I lose more respect for the L.A. Times every day he is retained as an employee. The guy must have photos of the editor with a tranvestite prostitute or something like that because it is completely beyond me why the L.A. Times allows this self-absorped narcissistic idiot to spew his garbage out through a mass media outlet.

{Side note: I saw a news conference with Phil Jackson and T.J. Simers was throwing the most ridiculous questions at Phil with a look in his eyes that said "I have mental health issues." Phil wisely choose not to answer his questions, but from that one news conference it was made clear to me that there is something seriously wrong with T.J. Simers.}

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

concur with Jon K on Simers.

Did anybody else noticed how he became more bitter during the Finals because he was pretty much ignored by everyone.
While other talented reporters/writers/bloggers go more love from the fans.
He's acting like a jealous B-yotch and now is accusing of lakers fans not getting our priorities right.
Like AK said, what a hypocrite.

We should be talking about the championship only and how all the kobe haters must feel when they read the newspapers or watch TV and everybody is talking about the Lakers, they even show Kobe at yesterday's game and when he was exiting everybody was giving hi 5's and chanting MVP to him. Kobe does not own the Lakers team. Kobe already sacrificied his game to make possible the other guys score. MJ never had to adjust his game to accomodate the other players because they were good enough to play around him. Why Kobe has to take a pay cut? that would be unfair that he did everything possible to win the championship and now he has to pay from his own pocket, I can see you guys don't know about bussines, you guys are thinking with your heart instead of your head. Many of us work with friends and right now on this difficult times we see everyday our friends being laid off and we don't tell our boss, cut my salary and give it to my friends because I want all us to stay together.
Carol

Boy do we all worry about what someone else makes in their lives. Most will not admit it but just because Kobe is a Basketball great does not make it anyone business. Whatever he does people will either love or hate him. I bet MJ did not care. Why not enjoy the season and let Kobe make his own decisions and don't give me that for the good of the team crap. In my job world everyone is making sacrifices including my CEO so that we all can continue our current lifestyle. Let eveyone share the burden not just one person. This is how pathethic we are in judging another persons life and not our own. Would you make a sacrifice while others around you did not. And please enough with how much money he makes he earned every penny of it. Leave it alone already.


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