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Don't expect Kobe Bryant to be having any sitdown "Sunday Conversations" with ESPN anytime soon.
After he let loose that he "always knew" ESPN was a "bunch of idiots" after that ranked him 40th in their annual #NBARank feature, you knew the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" would have a response.
What we didn't expect was that they would go even further in their criticism of the Black Mamba.
Courtesy of ESPN's Royce Webb:
It’s time to take “respect” out of the NBA vocabulary, and Kobe Bryant proves it.
Look at what is happening with the announcement that Kobe finished 40th in this year's #NBArank. The same thing happened a year ago when we predicted Kobe to be the 25th-best player in 2013-14. The reaction both years was easy to predict, and it was ugly. Many fans were outraged, even ESPN folks were apoplectic, and Kobe himself mocked us, saying anyone who thinks he’s 25th “needs drug testing.”
The most common reaction was that we were crazy. OK, hard to refute that one.
The second-most common reaction was that we had disrespected the Mamba.
And that reaction was just plain incorrect. In fact, our problem was that we overrated Kobe tremendously, out of “respect.”
But “respect” is one of the most useless concepts in the NBA when it comes to player evaluation. If we had treated Kobe like any other player, we would’ve said he was no longer a top-25 player, or even close to that.
Webb goes even further, calling Kobe a "$30 million disaster" last season, and saying that he was "closer to the 425th-best player than the 25th-best player" after missing 76 games due to injury.
What Webb fails to take into account is that if Kobe is healthy (as he presumably is), there's no chance that there's 39 players in the NBA that you'd rather have on the court in the clutch.
But, you know...it's "useless" to show "respect" to one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Good one, ESPN.
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