Kobe Was An Asshole And That’s Why I Loved Him. Here Are 6 Of His Funniest Asshole Moments
Updated: Feb 6
With the passing of Kobe Bryant, I wasn't sure if I should post anything this week. There's something that feels weird — even for me — about making jokes when something like this happens. Well, that and the fact that my next article is literally about how to do a DIY funeral, which at this moment feels a bit tone-deaf. Thanks a lot, Kobe. Instead, I've decided to postpone that article until next week, which will be even worse timing since the funeral will probably be then. Could be worst; I could be Ari Shaffir…
Anyway, like others, Kobe had a significant influence on my life. In the beginning, I found any excuse to hate him. Probably because he's the closest thing to Jordan — my favorite player — that we've ever seen. I remember going as far as to say his 81 points against the Raptors wasn't impressive because "the Raptors suck." To be fair, I was in 6th grade and probably still suffering from the effects of all that Plan B my mom took throughout her pregnancy.
As I grew up, I began to love Kobe's game and mentality. I think back to when I set alarms for 4 AM so I could watch Kobe play in the 2008 Olympic games. I remember watching the clip of him walking down the stands and Chinese people going fucking nuts. I think that's the first time I realized just how iconic he was. Most fondly, though, I reflect on the time he let my Detroit Pistons win a championship. So, thanks for that, Kobe.
All of this considered, what I loved even more than his game was the fact that he was a world-class asshole; Which I say this with the utmost respect. It was a level of assholeness that I think a lot of us wish we could achieve. There was something admirable about it. He'd proudly refer to himself as an asshole. Even Steve Nash, arguably the nicest guy on earth, complimented Kobe as being a "mother fucking asshole."
See, Kobe is the last of a dying breed. In today's world, where we trip on every word uttered and choose to passive-aggressively sub-tweet each other, there stood Kobe. He may not have always been right, but he also wasn't going to sugar coat his thoughts. Yet, somehow, a guy who was universally recognized as a Grade-A asshole was still widely respected by the same people who hated him.
I'd argue that there's something to be said about the ability to be an elite asshole. A lot of the resent we hold against assholes comes from a particular fear — A fear that stems from the fact that words of an elite asshole, like Kobe, can hold a lot of truth that, quite frankly, many of us don't want to hear. It's something I aspire to be. My friends don't want to hear that their $300 streetwear shirt looks like a schizophrenic press machine attacked an off-white hoodie, but I tell them anyway. I guess you could say I am the embodiment of Mamba Mentality…
That being said, assholes aren't always right. I'm sure there are some things that Kobe regrets, even if he wouldn't admit it. It's no secret that Kobe wasn't a perfect person (i.e., Colorado), and sometimes he was a dick just to be a dick. But at least he was a consistent dick. Thanks to that mentality, we were left with some pretty fucking funny stories. That's why I decided to put together my top 6 favorite Kobe asshole moments:
1…His Beef With Smush Parker
Kobe's relationship with Smush Parker was tumultuous, to say the least. One that Smush likes to bring up once a year. When Smush spoke about one of Kobe's legendary power move, though, I couldn't help but let out a cackle. Smush said that when he tried to talk to Kobe during practice. Kobe, being the polite man he was, replied with, "You can't talk to me. You need more accolades under your belt before you come talk to me."
The guy literally wouldn't let his own teammate speak to him. I mean, I think I'm better than nearly every person I come across, but I'm too big of a pussy to say something that bold. I fetishize the thought of telling Carol from accounting to stop talking to me about her Keto diet. "Carol, this is the 6th diet you've partaken in this year. I don't want you to utter another word to me until you're actually skinny."
You would think that's harsh enough, but Kobe is Kobe. Years after they played together, Bryant commented on Smush in a 2012 interview with our stepfather, Yahoo, saying, "He shouldn't have been in the NBA, but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So we let him walk on."
When I saw that the quote was from Yahoo, I felt there was a clear parallel between Kobe's view on Smush and my view on Yahoo. Similar to Kobe's opinion on Smush, I see Yahoo as simply existing. There's nothing special about it, it does stuff, it shouldn't be relevant, and it merely exists – That's it.
As recent as last year, Smush Parker said that he still hoped he would receive an apology from Kobe. So, if there's any sort of gem you can take from this awful tragedy, it's the fact that Smush will never receive that apology. KOBE!
2…He Decided To Win An Oscar
After Kobe retired, he released the short movie, Dear Basketball, as an ode to the game he loved. Guess what happened? This asshole won an Oscar. I love when there's some "ultimate achievement" in a profession that many strive their whole lives to achieve, and some dick out of nowhere hits it his first try. Imagine casually winning an Oscar. Fucking Kobe, man.
3…Lou Will Shoes Story
According to former Kobe teammate, Lou Williams, following a blow-out loss, Kobe made the executive decision to ban his unworthy teammates from sporting his signature shoes. In other words, he told his NBA teammates that by wearing his shoes, they were simultaneously tarnishing his legacy. Picturing the scene is incredible. Just think about a guy worth $600 million walking through a locker room and taking other grown men's sneakers away so he could toss them. Simply incredible.
4…Nick Young Broken Thumb
An all-time GIF wasn't the only good thing that came out of Swaggy P's Lakers career.
Swaggy recently talked about the time when he broke his thumb. Naturally, Kobe decided to throw the ball to him as hard as he could because he thought he just wanted to skip practice. It was like that time my dad made me finish my peanut butter sandwich because he didn't believe the swelling of my throat was from my peanut allergy. I can still remember his response as I begged for my EpiPen. I told him I couldn't breathe, and he calmly responded, "Walk it off."
5…That Time He Called Out An 8th Grade Girl
In 2019, Kobe made the regrettable decision to call out an 8th-grade girl for choosing her dance recital over their basketball tournament. Her commitment to the game of basketball was in question; At least to Kobe. He would later apologize for the post, but I'm happy it happened. Like I said earlier, you may not love him for his asshole approach, but you have to respect his consistency. It didn't matter if you were Shaquille O'Neal or a 13-year-old girl – If Kobe felt you weren't as committed as he thought you should be, he'd let you know.
It reminds me of a true story — unlike that last peanut butter excerpt — when I was in college. A buddy of mine was called a fag by a 12-year-old for riding his longboard. He appropriately responded by pushing the adolescent off his Razor scooter, picking up the toy, and riding home with it. Similar to calling out an 8th-grade girl, it's hard to argue that it wasn't fucked up. BUT, no amount of convincing will ever lead me to say that it wasn't, at the very least, pretty fucking funny.
6…He Spoke Multiple Languages
Obviously, this article could be 20 pages long, full of Kobe stories. Unfortunately, I had to stop at six, so my manager would stop asking questions about the twenty browser tabs that have to do with Kobe. You can only pretend to read the same 4-day-old email so many times before you blow your cover.
It seems fitting that I end it with this: Shaq once told the story about Kobe saying he was going to be the Will Smith of basketball. It reminded me of a quote Will Smith once said: "I don't want to be an icon. I want to be an idea. I want to represent an idea."
Kobe never became the Will Smith of basketball, as he preedicted. Instead, he carved his own place in history. More than just a basketball player, he became an idea — An idea that's immortalized in the hearts of people all across the world. He left us with that Mamba Mentality. RIP Kobe. You'll be missed.
-P.S. I'm the deepest man alive
-Also P.S. I'm still posting that DIY Funeral article next week. It's what Kobe would have wanted.