|Kobe Bryant is happy to try to help out a friend. (Getty Images)|
Nobody will ever confuse Kobe Bryant with a player who isn't feeling confident.
Kobe is also a guy who is looking out for his friend, Alex Rodriguez, during the Yankees' third baseman's toughest slump of his career. Rodriguez has been one of the focal points in the baseball postseason, not for his Hall of Fame career performances but because he's one of the highest paid players in sports history and can't seem to contribute in any positive way.
Bryant apparently has called Rodriguez in an attempt to give him a pep talk. Via ESPNLosAngeles.com:
"I just say to him, 'You're Alex Rodriguez. You're A-Rod. You're one of the best to ever do it,'" Bryant said. "I think sometimes he kind of forgets that and wants to try to do the right thing all the time. Which is the right team attitude to have. But other times you really have to put your head down and say, 'Hell with it' and just do your thing.
A-Rod was infamously pinch-hit for in Game 3 of the ALDS series between the Yankees and Orioles when Raul Ibanez tied the game with one out in the ninth inning on a homerun off Jim Johnson. Ibanez then won the game in the 12th inning with a homerun off of Brian Matusz.
With the Yankees down two games to none in the ALCS against the Detroit Tiger, Rodriguez was benched for Game 3.
To me, the hilarity of this entire story is how Kobe seems to want to help a baseball player on the opposite end of the country a lot more than he ever cared about former teammate Smush Parker when he was on the Lakers with Bryant. Recently, Kobe went off about Smush by calling him "the worst" and saying, "he shouldn't have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So we let him walk on."
Parker fired back on a recent radio show, discussing how Kobe wasn't a teammate at all, wouldn't talk to Smush because he didn't have enough accolades, and defended his spot on those Lakers teams from 2005 to 2007.
Parker paints Kobe as an arrogant player, which makes the next quote about his talk to Rodriguez from Kobe even better.
"We're different," Bryant said. "But you're talking about, 'He's one of the best to ever play.' I think really the difference is, sometimes he forgets he's the best. ... Where, I don't."
Breaking news: Kobe doesn't lack confidence.
It's nice of Kobe to reach out to his friend and try to get him in the right frame of mind during a tough professional time. In fact, it shows he's much more of a caring individual than he's been given credit for during his own Hall of Fame career. His comments about Rodriguez just come during a funny moment when he's been taking shots at a former teammate recently.
It just goes to show you if you want to be friends with Kobe Bryant and aren't good enough to be a decent NBA player, you should probably start working on hitting a breaking ball.