Finishing the season with a record well below mediocrity is neither the norm the Los Angeles Lakers nor Kobe Bryant are accustomed to. Bryant is extremely competitive, so having to sit out all but six games this season must have mentally ripped him apart. To show his displeasure, Bryant fled Los Angeles to take a vacation with his wife Vanessa and two daughters prior to the conclusion of the season.
The media and NBA world has had mixed feelings regarding Bryant abandoning his team. Is he wrong for it? Absolutely. We may not have knowledge of the full story, but leaving your team is disrespectful no matter how good or bad of a season the team is having. Of course, no consequences will occur as he is arguably the franchise’s all-time greatest player. However it is not something that should be ignored. The Lakers’ roster came to Bryant’s support when he went down with a season-ending knee injury and he should have been there to support his teammates through the final days of the regular season.
With that said, in retrospect does this situation really matter? Not at all. Realistically, the majority of this year’s roster will not have spots on the Lakers next season as they are mostly on expiring deals. In the end, Kobe is going to be Kobe, and there is absolutely nothing that can change him. He obviously had this in mind while planning the trip, and ultimately decided he should escape the disaster of a season a bit early. Don’t expect many Lakers’ fans to give this story much attention as nothing can ruin their absolute love for the guy.
Furthermore, when asked to speak upon the subject, Mike D’Antoni and Mitch Kupchak both had similar opinions in regards to their level of concern. Kupchak had this to say “All things considered, to me, it’s not that big a deal,” while D’Antoni stated, “It’s going to be made up a lot, because that’s what we do, but just talking about things today is not relevant. Today it’s like okay, how can we get the Lakers back to the top as fast as we can and you’re going to do it with Kobe.” Considering these comments, any media created controversy concerning this will not have much substance to it. D’Antoni and Kupchak killed any issues in the exit interviews.