Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

« Previous Post | Lakers Now Home | Next Post »

Kobe Bryant voted most popular player among NBA rookies

28044719For too long, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant had resisted the urge to be Shaquille O'Neal's sidekick. For too long, it seemed, Bryant tried to perform every task with his talent and work ethic. And for too long, Bryant had long wondered whether he'd have the support around him.

The Lakers' 2009 title run illustrated that theme, with much of the talk centering on Kobe winning his first ring without Shaq, improving his relationship with teammates and accepting that sometimes less is more. That prompted Lakers Coach Phil Jackson to share with the press corps a conversation he and Bryant had earlier in his career a night after a one-on-one matchup with then-Toronto forward Vince Carter.

"I talked to him a little bit about leadership and the quality and his ability to be a leader, and he said, 'I'm ready to be a captain right now.'" Jackson told reporters. And I said, 'But no one is ready to follow you.'

"In those eight years that have ensued from that period, he's learned how to become a leader in a way in which people want to follow him, and I think that's really important for him to have learned that, because he knew that he had to give to get back in return. And so he's become a giver rather than just a guy that's a demanding leader, and that's been great for him and great to watch."

That's why it's only fitting that the plurality of NBA rookies voted Bryant as their favorite player. For someone who supposedly doesn't have many friends in the league, the disparity is even more eye-opening. Sure, LeBron James trails second in the preseason survey, but the percentages show a large split. Consider that 38.2% of rookies voted for Bryant, 10.5% chose James and 7.5% selected Carmelo Anthony.

Q scores aside, it's fashionable to root for Bryant these days over James, what with Bryant winning his second consecutive title and James hosting "The Decision." Although I criticized the process James employed and believe he diminished his status among the league's elite, I also agree with what Bryant shared with Derek Fisher on The Jim Rome Show: "He's a different person than I am. You can take that as a positive or negative of mine, but I'm stubborn as a mule. It cuts both ways." Obviously Bryant's taking the less controversial and diplomatic route, but he has a point. It wasn't too long ago that public opinion favored James and how he made everything fun and criticized Bryant for how intense and demanding he is on the court.

Winning changes that perception, including rookie survey results. But at least it confirms what Jackson mentioned after the 2009 NBA Finals: Bryant has proven through his talent and work ethic that others should follow his lead, and there are plenty, including his teammates, who are happy to do so.

--Mark Medina

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was voted the most popular player among NBA rookies Credit: Robert Gauthier/LAT

Comments () | Archives (45)

The comments to this entry are closed.

@LakerTom - Errol and Olivia is my vote for best Robin and Marion...

@justa - Ron Ron never stops to him...

@Mamba24 - you are a stud looking dude...carry on...

@AB doubters - guys just can't wait for anything negative to dwell on...Bynumite can take all the time he needs to heal...He has 82 practice games to get in playoff monster mode...

@Kobe - he would be my hero too, if I was a rookie...who else is setting the standard in the Association presently...Black Mamba is setting the barometer and stop him if you can...

People like winners.

`nuff said.

Amazing how Bryant and James are #s 1 and 2 of the NBA's most hated players according to the Q list, and yet are #s 1 and 2 of the NBA's most loved players according to the NBA rookies.

Just goes to show that players don't really care much about their public perception. They care about being great and winning.

Well said, puddle. Cuz when it comes right down to it, Kobe wants to win more than he wants to be liked. And if you're a professional athlete at the beginning of your career, chances are - if you're smart - you're going to emulate the guy who's winning in June, not the guy who's dancing the rest of the time.

chances are - if you're smart - you're going to emulate the guy who's winning in June, not the guy who's dancing the rest of the time.

Posted by: justanothermambafan | September 22, 2010 at 10:59 AM

LOL funny! Justa, that was OUT FREAKIN STANDING!

Justa just reminded me of something...




Posted by: LongTimeLakerFan | September 22, 2010 at 11:13 AM

justa -

You know, I do think Kobe really tries to be likable. But frankly, it doesn't come naturally for him. He has a bit of a strange demeanor, even when he's jovial, that I've never been able to put my finger on.

I actually like Kobe's personality most when he's in Black Mamba mode - dark, brooding, angry, introverted, introspective, focused. That, to me, is the real Kobe; that's him in his most natural element. I like to see people when they're totally genuine, and Kobe, I believe, is most genuine when he's wanting to rip the hearts out of every single person who crosses him.

The general public may not like that Kobe - hence the reason he tries to have a more jovial persona in front of the cameras - but I do.

I told you - I'm funny dammit.

I just gotta add again how much I'm really loving RonRon.

COME ON KOBE - - MAGIC - PHIL - MITCH - DOCTOR BUSS - someone make sure to win the bid to buy back this man's ring for him. He said he's not even going to wear it once before he gives it away. As a fan, this hurts me - but it also makes me proud he's a Laker. I just want someone in the Lakers' organization to step up and get it for him. I would LOVE to see him finally put the bling on his finger. I bet he'd cry. I bet I'd be right there with him...

puddle - that is EXACTLY why I love Kobe too. He's old school. He'll be nice in the mall or on the street, but on the court - AWW HELL NO. It's GAME TIME baby. Focused on the task at win. Do whatever it takes to win. Backs up any talk with the walk. THAT's my favorite Kobe.

(Although I must say I'd love to get to know his more private side. A conversation with Kobe about everything BUT basketball would be my idea of a really great day.)

Good morning (sort of) blog crue!

"And if I'm not mistaken, Andrew Bynum put off surgery so he could go to Europe with his family on a nice relaxing vacation."

If I'm not mistaken, Drew's doctor put off the surgery to allow swelling in the knee to go down. The europe trip had nothing to do with surgery being delayed.

From Rotoworld:

"Heat beat writer Ira Winderman reports that "it now appears as if [Dampier's] signing [with the Heat] is imminent, if not already done."
In contrast, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports cites a league source saying that no decision is forthcoming from Dampier today. According to Wojnarowski, "Houston and Denver [are] still in [the] mix, but Heat have [the] edge."


Princess Jimmy, Princess Jimmy, just one more time let me see you Shimmy
Please tell me is there a chance, In Miami you’ll do the Riverdance
Even in Miami you gonna lose, Darth Stern don’t care who he screws
One more time throw, smoke in the air, People hate you It’s just not fair

Princess Jimmy, Princess Jimmy, just one more time let me see you Shimmy
You went to Miami to scratch an itch, Now you’ll end up being Dwades Biatch
No matter how many Kobe moves you steal, You have no heart for the Kill
I bought some Milk the other day, Saw your face on the carton said you'd run away
Is that why your profiles so low, Because the Public hates your @zz so?

Princess Jimmy, Princess Jimmy, just one more time let me see you Shimmy
The sad thing, You know is true, You’ll be Dwades Biatch thru & thru
Princess Jimmy, are you Darth Sterns Tool, Or R U just a Freakin Fool
Princess Jimmy you've seen your day, Now take your Mother Freakin @zz away!
Princess Jimmy, Princess Jimmy, just one more time let me see you Shimmy

MM - Mamba24 says you're censoring his roll calls. Wuttup?

What do rookies know?
I am the greatest basketball player of all time.
After one game these naive youngters will all hail the King and shall pay double duty.

If only the made a tribute video of the past 2009-2010 Lakers Championship season with this song in the background. This one's for LRob, Lakertom, Lew and all of the 60's fans on the blog.

This guy above is a douche. lebrone has won nothing!!!

MM - Thanks for the added clarity on Bynum.

Jolly Rancher,

you wrote: At that point I'll probably start leaning toward the Hobbitmage camp of Drew Philosophy. I mean, I'm in my 50s and I heal faster than this (though I whine for additional days so I don't have to mow the lawns).

my response:

1st. That's cold. *chuckle*

2nd. Did everyone notice how I didn't say anything about this?

i.e. no, I don't always look for the negative about Bynum. :)

hobbit - I noticed. You're awesome, dude.

It would be estimated about 3 months for Bynum to recover this time since he had surgery on July 28. That sounds more like it or does it?

I can't agree with Scottie's assessment of Melo.

Pippen on Melo....

"I think there's been some problems there with him and the coaching and the organization," Pippen said. "I think that could be a problem when you come to a team like the Bulls, an organization that is still trying to get off the ground and get themselves in a position that they are an established playoff team. You don't want to lose a guy like Joakim and have a guy like Carmelo come here. Hey, he might not like it here. Next year he may be wanting to get out of here and go play somewhere else.

Oh well, let's forget about Bynum for one month and have a great anticipation to see more of Caracter and Ratliff in the mean time....

@MAMBA24… Great to finally see who we’ve been loving all these years but get your act together and give us your profile, Larry. And more pics please. It’s your responsibility as one of the blog demi-gods.

@MAMBA24… Great to finally see who we’ve been loving all these years but get your act together and give us your profile, Larry. And more pics please. It’s your responsibility as one of the blog demi-gods.

justa - I didn't censor Mamba24's roll calls. It's on insta post....

@MM My Bad, I submitted a Roll Call 3 times on the other thread and twice on this one and it did not go thru so I assumed something in it was off limits and causing it to not be posted. My apologies.

@LakerTom only for you and Lewstrs am I doing this profile ISH.Lol! That photo by the way is a couple years old. I'll have some better and up to date ones when I suubmit my Profile. Demi god? Really? Sweet Jesus...No, No, NO!! That's you & Edwin & Faith & Sir Charles. I'm just halftime entertainment sir Lol! But...Thank you.

@LRob, on the job as usual with the Melo, Bulls Link! Thank you my brother!

To follow up on my 'Melo for Bynum and Sasha hypothetical, which was rejected resounding in here, the Bleacher report chimed in:

Well it didn't take long for the Bynum trade scenarios to surface again....


Paging Adrian Palomar...LOL!!!...manong if you're lurking I need help getting tickets to the Laker game in London...I will be in London first week of Oct. If you can let me know where you got yours...Maraming Salamat in can get my email addy from MM...
MM can you give my email to Adrian? Thanks!!!

@Cap's Goggles - I like. Very appropriate cuz surely nobody does it like the Lakers. It really hard to do an Isley Bros song better than them, but in this case Human Beinz remake was definitely better IMHO.

Animal House anyone?

So, last night I finally caught up on all the comments the last couple days. With the help of some deep thought and reading some comments (thanks mage and blitz) I'm beginning to change my mind on Melo. It doesn't matter much because there is no way that trade is happening but I don't think I would object to it anymore. As long as it's not both LO and Drew. The thing is, I can totally see Drew becoming an all time great and think that there's a very good chance he will be at least a star in this era. But there's also a chance he could be injury prone his whole career. At this point no way I would trade him just for the injury thing, but if we can get a bona fide young star without losing Kobe, Pau, or BOTH LO and Drew, I can't say that would be a bad trade. I'm still in the camp of leaving the team the way it is, but I'm not gonna say that would be a horrible deal.

@MM… Great take on Kobe’s popularity with rookie, especially the quotes from Phil, which I did not recall. The poll results also seem to be more in line with your and my perception that Kobe has really redeemed himself in the eyes of basketball fans. The Q scores probably reflect more the general public’s attitude towards Kobe, which is likely still framed by the incident in Colorado, a state whose laws regarding date rape type sex crimes has been heavily criticized as being grossly weighted against the man in favor of the woman.
@LEWSTERS… “Errol and Olivia is my vote for best Robin and Marion...” I don’t know how anybody could ever vote against Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn, maybe my favorite male and female actors of all time. Have you seen that version of Robin Hood? It is one of the most romantic and beautiful movies ever in my mind. Also included the great Robert Shaw and Richard Harris. Robin and Marion and Russia House are among my favorite Sean Connery movies. Audrey Hepburn at 47 was still adorable. As phred says, it’s all about the love.

It's refreshing to see that these Generation Y rookies admire a player who is defined by his rigid work ethic. There might be hope for us after all.
What do we play for? RINGS!!!
Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

This will be totally random and off topic but something is wrong with our country when we offer unemployment benefits with what seems like endless extensions. I can understand the program but when several people I know are on this program and I know how they are, it's very disappointing.

Colorado (via Hungary) still loves our World Champion Lakers!

@iheartkb24 and Adrian Palomar - my Flip Bros...way to represent in London...

@LakerTom - Errol/Olivia were the originals...but I love Sean/Audrey for the modern was close, but I went with traditional classic...Connery and Hepburn are HOF in my book...

@ Hugo Boss-
I happen to know a couple people who have decided that they no longer need to work because they are getting unemployment checks. It's horrible to think that so many people are abusing this government program. I also know people who are desperately looking for a job and unemployment has saved them from losing everything, so it goes both ways.

@MAMBA24… Fantastic job on the Princess Jimmy Song. I especially loved the line “You went to Miami to scratch an itch, Now you’ll end up being Dwades Biatch” Get to work on your profile, Larry.
@LAKER TRUTH… Don’t like Dampier signing with Miami. He is much better defensively than any of the centers they currently have. Did Stern give Miami some extra player slots. It seems as if they have signed more than 15 players already. Hoopshype shows 18 players listed on their salary page.
@CAPS GOGGLES… Thanks for the link. I remember the song but didn’t remember that they looked so much like a Beatles cover band. Music from the 60’s is still influencing artists 50 years later.

>>>...but if we can get a bona fide young star without losing Kobe, Pau, or BOTH
>>>LO and Drew, I can't say that would be a bad trade. I'm still in the camp of
>>>leaving the team the way it is, but I'm not gonna say that would be a horrible

I'm on exactly the same page. I don't THINK it will happen, but I don't think it would be a bad trade as long as the Lakers kept Kobe, Pau, and either Lamar or Drew. Kobe+Carmelo+Pau >> Dwyane+LeBron+Chris. And the Lakers' supporting cast would be better as well.

And consider these thoughts...

I was SHOCKED when the Lakers managed to trade for Pau Gasol.

I was VERY SURPRISED when Ron Artest agreed to sign for only an MLE.

I was even a little surprised that Steve Blake accepted as little as he did to play for the Lakers.

And the Lakers have a long history of acquiring big name players and keeping them (Kareem, Wilt, Shaq, Pau, etc). They also do have SOME history of re-tooling teams that have won titles (e.g. the Norm Nixon for Byron Scott trade) to win more titles.

Kobe will be crowned the BEST EVER, if we win, or course!!!!

Shaq should buy Ron Ron's ring to make it 5.

Most people hates winners.
Jealousy. Wants to push their idol to the top.
Most people do not love their benefactor
Favor owed. Control over them

Nice post MM. By the way 38% is technically not a majority but a "plurality".



In Case You Missed It...


All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



About the Bloggers

Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »

Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:

In Case You Missed It...