"Most of us have aspirations for being businessmen when our playing careers are over," Bryant told Yahoo Sports in a corridor of the Verizon Center. "But that starts now. You have to be able to wear both hats. You can't sit up there and say, 'Well, I'm going to take substantially less because there's public pressure, because all of a sudden, if you don't take less, you don't give a crap about winning. That's total bull----.
"I'm very fortunate to be with an organization that understands how to take care of its players, and put a great team out on the floor. They've figured out how to do both.
"Most players in this league don't have that. They get stuck in a predicament – probably intentionally done by the teams – to force them to take less money. Meanwhile, the value of the organization goes through the roof off the backs of their quote, unquote selfless players.
"It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."
But wait, he wasn't through. To the Twitters!
The cap rules players have to be "selfless" on To "help" BILLIONAIRE owners R the same cap rules the owners LOCKED US out to put in #think— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) November 27, 2013
Don't just learn ur sport .. Learn the sports industry #futureathletes— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) November 27, 2013
So basically, the owners, whom he loves and is grateful for giving him $48.5 million at age 36 next year, are the real villians here because of their approach in the lockout, and he shouldn't be criticized for not taking a pay cut to help his team win despite his constant mantra of how he will do anything to win.
Well, he's kind of right.
Look, if you want to, you can consider the owners vile, nasty people who just sucked the greed from the poor, disempowered athletes and took their money leaving them with no choice but to scrap and claw for these 48.5 million scraps. You can consider Bryant a greedy jerk for sacrificing his team's ability to win despite the fact that he directly influences the value and marketing potential of a multi-billion dollar business and receives only a fraction of that despite doing the most work of anyone.
Or you can say to yourself there is no villain, there is no hero, there are just employers and employees and both sides are trying to get as much as possible for themselves and their families because that is what mankind has done for thousands of years.
The only thing you can say is that Bryant probably is stretching it when it comes to the cap room. A player coming in at even $16 million Al Jefferson levels leaves somewhere between $18 million and $30 million to field a roster of 10-12 other individuals. That's kind of hard to do, and that's when one of your stars isn't 36 years old coming off Achilles surgery.
Maybe they'll pull it off, but Bryant and the Lakers have an awful lot of faith in something that doesn't seem to be likely under any reasonable scenario. They're the Lakers -- they usually figure things out, but more than ever, the team and Bryant seem to be operating like it's the old CBA out of spite instead of adapting to the modern situation to reach the championship goals they both say are so important.
Finally, Bryant should really spend less time defending his signing of a contract he was offered and more time celebrating the fact that someone gave him $48.5 million when he has yet to play a game post-injury at 35. Forget Nick Young. That's swag.