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Ego + Selfishness = Kobe

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

July 16, 2004
I cannot believe how Kobe Bryant's ego has gotten in the way of things in Los Angeles. The Lakers have appeared in four of the past five NBA Finals, but evidently winning isn't enough for Bryant, who decided Thursday to re-sign with the Lakers (a seven-year deal worth $136.4 million).

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant's selfishness is no laughing matter.
Coach Phil Jackson is gone -- along with his nine championship rings -- and Shaquille O'Neal has been traded to the Miami Heat ... and Kobe claims he is all about winning?

Give me a break. He's all about points, points and more points. He wants to be The Man, scoring and keying the offense. If he really wanted to win, he would have patched up things with Shaq.

The way I see it, Kobe wants his 30 shots per game, and with the likely L.A. lineup he'll get the chance to launch plenty of jumpers. His team probably will win 50 regular-season games, but the components won't be there for the Lakers to win a championship.

No worries, because Kobe has three championship rings and plenty of money to buy other jewelry, but he won't be adding a fourth ring to his hand any time soon.

That isn't a knock on new Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich, who has two championship rings of his own from his days coaching the Houston Rockets. Rudy T was able to work with several superstars in Houston to get it done -- including Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler -- and it's a shame he won't have the opportunity to coach a Shaq-Kobe combo.

Last year I wrote in my book "Living a Dream" that in 10 years, Kobe could be known as a better player than Michael Jordan. There's no way that will happen now.

Jordan was all about one thing -- winning. He was so focused on the task at hand that he even agreed to have Dennis Rodman join the Chicago Bulls because he felt the Worm could help them win another championship.

In my view, Kobe only cares about himself, scoring his points and being The Man.
In my view, Kobe only cares about himself, scoring his points and being The Man. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard Kobe wanted to have 12 games played in Anaheim, close to his home, if he had signed with the Los Angeles Clippers as a free agent. Maybe he should put a court in his backyard and play the games there!

This type of attitude is what turns off fans and pushes them away from the NBA. Look at what has happened to coaches in recent years. Phil Jackson has nine championships to his credit, yet he loses his job after the Lakers fail to beat the Pistons. Byron Scott led the Nets to back-to-back championship series but loses his job. Come on, it's time to get real!

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979 (he has been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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