Blog Entry

Kobe rips owners: 'Look in the mirror'

Posted on: November 15, 2010 9:42 am
Edited on: November 15, 2010 9:52 am
LOS ANGELES – With labor talks reaching a critical stage between now and the All-Star break, Kobe Bryant weighed in for the first time Sunday night with some strong words for NBA owners.

“I think the owners need to look in the mirror,” Bryant told when asked about the $750 million to $800 million reduction in player salaries being sought by the owners. “They need to make the right judgment themselves and stop trying to force us players to be the ones to make adjustments. They’ve got to look in the mirror and decide what they want to do with the sport, and we as employees will show up and do what we’ve got to do.”

Bryant, the highest-paid player in the league under what is likely to be his final contract, is scheduled to join Michael Jordan as the league’s only $30 million players in the final year of the deal in 2013-14. Asked where he stands in the labor dispute that could be more punitive to stars like Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose – who likely won’t get new contracts until a new CBA is in place – Bryant said, “I’m going to fight for our players.”

“It’s about making sure we have the best deal going forward,” Bryant said. “That’s my stance and that’s not going to change. I’m not going to waver. It’s about taking care of the generation that’s coming after us. That’s what the guys before us tried to do, and that’s what I’m going to try to do. I’m not going to waver from that.”

These were the strongest words yet spoken publicly by an NBA player about the owners’ pursuit of a hard cap, enormous salary reductions and a rollback of existing contracts. Coming from Bryant, they carried weight – both with the players and owners.

“The onus is not on us,” Bryant said. “People are trying to put that responsibility on us. It’s not our responsibility. It’s the owners’ job. This is what they do.”

Bryant’s vow to fight for players who didn’t get max deals under the current system and will likely have to accept less in a new CBA comes as a divide is forming between two camps – the paid, and the not-yet-paid. has learned that players like Howard and Anthony, Chris Paul and Rose are growing wary of possibly getting shut out of the kind of max money that this past summer’s free agents scored. If owners aren’t successful in getting across-the-board rollbacks, but do negotiate a reduction in future max salaries and guarantees, the players subject to the haircut are “not going to have it,” according to an influential person involved in the players’ side of bargaining strategy.

“They’re not going to allow those guys to sneak in a year before collective bargaining and say, ‘We got paid,’” the person said. “They can’t have their cake and eat it, too. There are too many powerful players whose contracts are coming up to let that happen.”

Bryant isn’t choosing sides in that debate; he just wants a fair deal for everyone. His point was primarily directed at owners who went on a spending spree this past summer before quickly shifting gears to claim player costs must be brought down to stem hundreds of millions in annual losses. And his comments come at a time when, as on the court, Bryant perhaps senses that the bargaining game is about to get interesting. Commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, union chief Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher of the Lakers will hold a 2-on-2 bargaining session Thursday to ramp up the intensity of talks heading into All-Star weekend, a key time-stamp in both sides’ efforts to avoid a lockout when the current deal expires on June 30, 2011.

Bryant’s comments also represent the strongest signal of commitment from the players since multiple All-Stars made a surprise appearance at a bargaining session during All-Star weekend in Dallas last February.

“If they’re gonna pay players to perform and this that and the other, then do it,” Bryant said. “It’s not on us.”


Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: January 9, 2011 12:43 am

Kobe rips owners: 'Look in the mirror'

Fair warning: If you are not at least somewhat sane, working a job and living in a normal home, read no further. You'll just be wasting your time.
I realize that this argument is old, worn-out, myopic and otherwise useless, but it needs to be at least mentioned: neither the players nor the owners live in any sort of world that 99.999% of paying fans can relate to. I know that no one twists anybody's arm to pay for tickets, cable TV, merchandise, etc., but $30 million per year? Are ya freaking kidding me? Go ahead and ask the police officer in your neighborhood how much he/she is getting paid. Or how about the high school coach who worked with some of these future bobble-heads for pocket change? For 35 years!! The average teacher will make a little over $1.5 million (cumulative) over a 35-year career. Yes, they chose. Yes, we as a society have created it. 
So who needs to look in the mirror? I do. For a "special occasion," I forked out $350 for a pair of fifth-row seats to a Jazz-Wizards game. The Wizards were terrible, the Jazz mailed a 20+ point win, and I had an awakening. I have not spent a dollar on anything Jazz/NBA/professional sports related since. I listen to the games on the radio, follow them on this website, or watch them at my brother's house (he pays for cable - I can't afford it). And I would love for D-Will and co to win a championship. But I WILL NOT help fund that effort while I struggle to pay a mortgage, keep cars running and keep my kids in clothes that fit - oh, and eat food.
Who needs to look in the mirror? You do. The 20,000 fans who fill the arena in your town do. The owners do. The players do. 
I don't blame them. If I'm Kobe Bryant - INSANELY SKILLED - and somebody offers me $30 mil to play, I take that in a heartbeat. But I have to realize that I'm in an income bracket that a very small fraction of a percent of people that have ever lived in the history of the world have ever been in. If it were me, I'd have to work awfully hard to stay grounded and live in reality. My argument is that most of the players and owners lifted off planet Earth a long time ago. They don't know a thing about what it's like to be me or you, and they don't care. Maybe they would if we quit buying the tickets and jerseys and $7 hot dogs.
The most successful of business people will develop an income in the six figures over a 30-40 year career, and some very skilled, talented and lucky people will reach seven figures, but nothing in the real world compares to a 19 year old kid who gets handed anywhere from $600,000 to whatever career-total amount it is that Kobe has made just for being fast and jumping high. 
In the endgame (pun intended), neither the owners nor the players will lose out. YOU will lose out. And I will lose out. Because win or lose, Kobe takes the money to the bank. Your money, but not mine. Not anymore.
Author's note: Kobe's $30 Million translates to about $366,000 per game, or about $7,700 per working minute (assuming that he actually plays all 48 minutes, and that games don't go into overtime). This does not take into account any endorsements, perks (like travel, clothes, shoes, cars, per diems, etc.) or bonuses, which have been estimated to EXCEED his Lakers salary. And don't whine to me about the short career span of professional athletes or the beating their bodies take. Kobe could become a quadriplegic TODAY and make more than I'll ever make at my job, by being an analyst, assistant coach, or writing a book.

Since: Oct 30, 2008
Posted on: December 25, 2010 12:17 pm

Kobe rips owners: 'Look in the mirror'

Personally I think the NBA product has become garbage.  I quit watching it years ago.  Ticket prices are way too high for a basketball game and the players are selfish and honestly not all that good.  Many of these players have bad attitudes and lack team skills needed for a team sport to be honestly successful.  I'm as interested in watching the NBA as I am Pro Wrestling.  One is about as legit as the other.  If I ever decide to watch basketball again it will only be at the college level.  If the NBA folded I would lose no sleep.  And I personally could care less what Kobe thinks.  He is one of the problems in the NBA.  He lacks sportsmanship and team play that you typically find in the all time great players.  If I think about what is wrong with the NBA, Kobe is the first player that comes to mind.

Who are the problems?  Owners?  Absolutely.  Players?  Absolutely?  Who needs to go first?  David Stern.  Worst commissioner in pro sports.  Maybe worst ever.

Since: Nov 21, 2010
Posted on: November 21, 2010 10:11 pm
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Since: Nov 21, 2010
Posted on: November 21, 2010 10:09 pm
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Since: Nov 16, 2010
Posted on: November 16, 2010 2:05 pm

Kobe rips owners: 'Look in the mirror'

Leppyaxp, yes I read what I wrote.  It boils down to this; poor management!  Like Kobe said, the owners need to do a better job of managing.

Without quality players there are no millions to be made.  The example you sited about the Knicks says it all, overpaid and underproductive.  So it's the players around the leagues fault that the Knicks inked Curry to that deal?  Who's fault is it that they can't sell merchandise because noone wants Felton, Danilo, Lee, Wilson Chandler, Duhon or a Curry jersey?

Say what you want but even with all of his flaws, Starbury generated income for the Knicks, his jersey was top 10 each year he played.  The ticket prices are overinflated, they are priced as though they have a winning team and that their tickets are the hottest things in town!

Maybe they lost money because of that old arena (well documented) maybe the upkeep is getting to be too much. 

Player Salaries???

Since: Dec 2, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2010 11:43 am

Kobe rips owners: 'Look in the mirror'

Did you even read what you posted? The Knicks had an -42M operating income, they lost money. Their operating income is (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.)
10 teams are in the red, 7 are making <10M, thats more that half.

They just need to fix the guaranteed contracts, just like football. If they are not playing, cut them. Its the Arenas' and the Eddie Curry's of the league that ruin it for everyone.

Since: Nov 16, 2010
Posted on: November 16, 2010 11:04 am

Kobe rips owners: 'Look in the mirror'

I agree, have you seen the cost of players jerseys?  Take away the 40 All Star caliber players and what do you make in jersey sells?  You got it; $80 bucks for a Mario Chalmers, Chucky Atkins, Joel Anthony or Charlie Bell garment.

I think I'm going to go run out and get those $200 tickets to see the Heat minus Bron/Wade/Bosh versus anybody while supplies lasts---hurry!!!  I think James Jones will get a triple double in support of Jamal Magliore's 50 points!

Since: Nov 16, 2010
Posted on: November 16, 2010 10:43 am

Kobe rips owners: 'Look in the mirror'

OK, let's face the facts...

Check this out

The above link shows you how owners make out like bandits.  Let's look at the Cavs, how do they top $152,000,000 annually with an operating budget of $31,900,000; your answer is LeBron James.

It is absurd to think that players should take a paycut when owners are making an 80% profit.  Yes all players do not play like superstar but the famous ole 80/20 rule applies here; 20 % of the players carry the entire league on their backs.  

Do simple math on this; subtract the 28 players that were voted to or subbed in the All Star game last year away from the leaugues 400 plus players and what do you have???     

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2010 10:22 am

Kobe rips owners: 'Look in the mirror'

I'd like to see a 30% reduction in ticket prices and food and beverages at the game.  Who stands up for the fans?

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: November 16, 2010 10:15 am

Kobe rips owners: 'Look in the mirror'

Patrick Ewing smart.......We may make a lot of money but we spend a lot of money.......could be the worst comment ever.

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