Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum saw the best of times and worst of times with the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite winning back-to-back titles under Phil Jackson, the authentic and ugly reality of the situation was the two were apart of a Lakers team that’s gone 1-8 their last nine second round playoff games. And despite Bynum still not cleared to step back on the court, their odd relationship added another chapter Sunday.
Of his time playing alongside the future Hall of Famer, the occasional three-point threat Bynum confessed, “I thought it really helped me a lot obviously at first, because (Kobe) draws so much attention it’s hard for guys to double team and key on you, so it helped me tremendously. Later, I felt I was able to get the ball more and do more things with the ball, so I could definitely see how it could stunt growth.”
Perhaps he’s right, maybe he’s not. The truth is winning over Kobe Bryant’s trust is a weird and often times an extremely difficult process. Win, lose or draw, everyone knows Kobe’s desire to walk away victorious by any means necessary is his most admired and criticized character trait, even if his actions occasionally come at his team’s expense. This is described in probably no better way than Bill Simmons’ recent column dissecting Bean’s place in the annals of NBA history. Bynum – how do I put this – sometimes just gives off the impression he doesn’t give a shit. Whatever the case may be, however, Bynum also referred to the offseason trade which sent him to Philly as swapping “number one for number two,” an obvious shot at L.A.’s new big man, Dwight Howard.
In regards to Sunday’s game which paired Bynum’s old and new squads, Bean Bryant posted 34 points and six assists on an efficient 12-21 shooting for the Lakers second straight win. Metta World Peace added 19 points and 16 rebounds for good measure. Kobe, ever the observant one, spoke with Andrew following the game. On Bynum’s hair, “I guess he’s a trend setter,” Bryant said.
Indeed he is, Kobe. Indeed he is.
Related — The Kobe Question [Grantland]