Earlier this month Kobe Bryant dismissed Smush Parker as "the worst," someone who "shouldn't have been in the NBA" and was only so because the Los Angeles Lakers "were too cheap to pay for a point guard." Parker was not one to suffer such comments in silence, and he took to Blog Talk Radio's Hard2Guard program to respond.
After noting that Kobe's legacy was beyond reproach, Parker claimed that he simply didn't like Kobe's personality, or how he treats people. Via Alex Kennedy:
"Midway through the first season, I tried to at least have a conversation with Kobe Bryant - he's my teammate, he's a co-worker of mine, I see his face every day when I go into work. I tried to talk with him about football. He tells me I can't talk to him, with a serious face. He tells me I need more accolades under my belt before I can come talk to him. He was dead serious."
Parker went on to note more examples of Kobe isolating himself from the team, be it in travel or at team dinners:
"I'll tell you a funny story. My first year there, we made the playoffs. We're playing the Phoenix Suns. Phil Jackson gives Lamar Odom his black card to take the team out to dinner and build camaraderie for the playoffs. We show up as a team and hang out as a team. We're all sitting at one table, the whole team, but Kobe Bryant was sitting by himself at his own table in the corner."
Parker's primary defense is that he was third on the Lakers' stat sheet in the years that he played, and thus couldn't have been terrible. As Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie notes, given that Kobe's criticism is that everyone he played with at that point was terrible, that isn't much of a defense.
Parker hasn't played in the NBA since 2008, spending the time since in foreign leagues. His NBA career averages include nine points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.