Kobe Bryant does not suffer fools (or Smush Parker) lightly, even if they are filling the seats at the Staples Center and adorned in purple and gold.
Aware that fickle fans are questioning the composition and strategy of the revamped Los Angeles Lakers after an 0-2 start to the season, Bryant ridiculed critics while meeting with the press on Thursday.
“I just.. I don’t understand.. the city here.. for me not trying to bite my tongue and not calling them dumb, which I kinda just did. They’ve seen us win multiple championships here, playing an offense that was tough to learn, that was a sequence of options that weren’t set plays that took five guys being on the same page of working together. They know how that stuff works. For them to be so stupid now. They say, 'Well, let Steve [Nash] dribble the ball around and create opportunities for everybody. And let Dwight [Howard] post up and let me iso.' It’s ... I don’t want to say idiotic, but it’s close."
Bryant's post-practice rant wasn't an unabashed attack on the hoops IQ of Lakers fans, but it's close.
With a smile intermittently surfacing on his face, Bryant used the words "stupid," "dumb" and "idiotic" while discussing the views and misconceptions of impatient critics of his team. After hearing Bryant's remarks, Ramneet Singh of "Lakers Nation" conceded that "Lakers fans have a tendency to overreact" and noted that the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat took some time to gel.
With two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and three-time NBA Defensive Player Of The Year Dwight Howard joining the club in the offseason and Bryant missing the majority of the preseason due to injury, these new-look Lakers haven't had much time to develop the type of familiarity that will eventually lead to no-look passes. Instead, they fumbled through a winless preseason schedule before dropping games to the Trail Blazers and Mavericks to open the 2012-2013 campaign.
Cue the panic.
Noting that Lakers coach Mike Brown doesn't have the championship-forged clout needed to deliver such tough talk to the fans, Bryant also told reporters what he believes current coach should be saying (and his old coach likely would have said):
"Yeah because I’ve won, so I can. Mike, it would be a little tougher for him to say that. So I’ll say it for him: Everybody shut up. Let us work and at the end of the day everyone will be pleased at the end of the day."
After kinda being insulted by Bryant, Chris Shellcroft of "Lake Show Life" wrote that he's "willing to give Kobe Bryant a pass…for now."
But will Lakers fans continue to be so understanding when it comes to the team's records and Kobe's barbs if the Purple and Gold come up short against the Clippers on Friday night?