Smush Parker refused to stand down from Kobe Bryant.
Bryant ripped Parker in the Los Angeles media Wednesday, calling his former teammate “the worst” and said the team was too cheap to bring in a real point guard when they played together.
Parker responded back saying the Lakers superstar was a bad teammate and someone he didn’t enjoy playing with.
“The two years in L.A. were a blessing to me,” Parker told Hard 2 Guard radio Thursday. “People who ask me how it was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. People ask me how it was playing with Kobe Bryant. I said in 2008 that it was an overrated experience.”
The former Lakers point guard clearly respected Bryant’s basketball abilities and renowned work ethic, but did not respect his personality.
“What I don’t like about him is the man that he is. His personality. How he treats people. I don’t like that side of him.
“You can’t knock the man’s legacy, you can’t knock what he’s done in basketball, Parker said. “His work ethic is tremendous. There’s not an ounce of hate in my blood whatsoever. The guy can play basketball — you’ve seen that throughout his career.”
Parker believes he wasn’t a good fit on the Lakers because he didn’t admire Bryant as much as other people in the organization.
“Whenever Kobe is happy, the Lakers are happy. Whenever Kobe smiles, the team smiles. They should be the Los Angeles Bryants.
“The reason I wasn’t a Laker after my second year is because I didn’t bow down to (Kobe). I didn’t kiss his a–,” he said. “I wasn’t kissing his feet. Quite frankly, towards the end of the second season, I stopped passing him the ball. I stopped giving him the ball. I started looking him off.”
Parker felt “disrespected” after Bryant’s comments and was quick to defend his own NBA credentials.
“I had a workout with the Lakers, beat all the guards out for the starting position, earned a spot on the team,” he explained. “Midway through the first season I tried to at least have a conversation with Bryant — he is my teammate, he is a co-worker of mine, I see his face every day I go in to work — and I tried to talk with him about football. He tells me I can’t talk to him. He tells me I need more accolades under my belt before I come talk to him. He was dead serious.”
Parker played with the Lakers for two seasons where he averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 assists per game.