Kobe Bryant is NBA's most arrogant player, Mavericks backup Ian Mahinmi says
Never one to wax nostalgia, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant insists he rarely sits back and ponders much about his storied 15-year career.
But there is one thing he continually harbors in his thoughts, particularly in those days when he's rehabbing his assorted injuries.
"What I think about is shutting up those [people] saying that I'm done," he said during his exit interview.
Feel free to add to that list Dallas backup center Ian Mahinmi, who instead of praising Bryant's skill set called him the league's most arrogant player. "Kobe is super arrogant, but everybody loves him,” Mahinmi told the French NBA site BasketUSA (via Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin). “To me, Kobe is more arrogant [than LeBron James].”
This isn't so much perplexing as to the validity of Mahinmi's statement so much as to why he would say such a thing in the first place. In my two seasons covering Bryant there have been plenty of instances in which he's been arrogant, but I've taken them to be examples of his obsessively competitive nature. But I'm not going to pretend to actually know Bryant on a personal level so there's no use actually digesting whether Mahinmi's comments are accurate at all. It is fair, however, to question why Mahinmi would make them.
Comments like those would seem only to fuel Bryant's competitive drive even further. Sometimes such a remark may rattle a player's confidence or focus. But not Bryant. Even though it's unlikely that he'll issue a response to Mahinmi's comments, there's no doubt he'll remember them and make sure Mahinmi ultimately regrets making them. Whether it's Bryant throwing down a posterized dunk, lobbing an alley oop to Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol or simply dropping 40 points against the Mavericks next outing, Bryant will surely find a way to have the last word over Mahinmi.
-- Mark Medina
Email the Lakers blog at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: Kobe Bryant is congratulated by fans in New Orleans after eliminating the Hornets in Game 6 of theNBA playoffs. The Lakers advanced to play Dallas but were swept by the eventual-champion Mavericks. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles TImes / April 28, 2011