ESPN celebrates Pick On Kobe Bryant Week

If you had been paying close enough attention, you could have seen this coming a mile away.

ESPN is making its own news again.  This time around, they literally created a story out of the cool Los Angeles air.

As they have done over the past several years, ESPN released their official NBA player ranking leading into the 2014-15 season.  Personally, I always preferred the way Bill Simmons did it back in the day.  Simmons ranked players based on who you would not trade for another.  For example, if you ranked LeBron as the best player in the league and Durant as the second best, as any knowledgeable hoops junkie would, Simmons’ premise is that you would consider trading Durant for LeBron but never LeBron for Durant.

ESPN PER rankingI’m not sure what criteria ESPN used for their rankings (I’m sure it involves some new-fangled, Bill Jamesian mathematics they love to justify but that has little actual bearing on the sport) but they’ve gone ahead and pissed off the Mamba in the process.  C’mon, ESPN.  Nobody likes a mad Mamba.  He’s cantankerous enough as it is.

ESPN and their alleged band of basketball experts ranked Kobe Bryant the 40th best player in the league.  They secretly had to know that doing so would elicit a reaction from the greatest two-guard of his generation.

And it did.

When asked about his spot in the rankings, Kobe said that he’s “known for a long time that they [ESPN] were a bunch of idiots.”  Finally Kobe and I agree on something.

Wade BoshESPN ranked Dwyane Wade 36th.  Wade could not be reached for comment.  They ranked Andre Drummond 30th.  Drummond shot 42% from the free throw line last year.  They ranked Serge Ibaka 25th.  Um.  And they ranked Chris Bosh 20th.  I guess they weren’t watching last year’s Finals all that closely.   We haven’t yet heard other players bitch about their rankings, probably because they don’t care as much about what others think about them as much as Mamba does.  He may tell us differently but he was obviously put off by this, otherwise he wouldn’t have called the network a bunch of idiots for their silly little poll.

Here’s how ESPN explains their rankings…

How did we rank the players? We asked our ESPN Forecast panel to rate each player on a 0-to-10 scale, in terms of “the overall level of play for each player for the upcoming NBA season.”  This includes both the quality and the quantity of his expected contributions, combined in one overall rating.

How’s that for scientific?

Their panel of experts includes writers, editors, former players, journalists, bloggers, commentators, etc.  Apparently none of them expect Kobe to play very much this season.  Or like him very much for that matter.

Kobe pointsHere’s the funny part.  If Kobe averaged out at 40th, that means some people ranked him considerably lower than that.  Ouch!  Guess who’s just been taken off the Mamba family Christmas list.

Either way, this entire ordeal harkens back to the network being self-serving.  Do you see the irony here?  ESPN is creating news based on its own reporting.  Or weren’t we supposed to notice.  Literally nothing happened here yet it made headlines.  I’m on to you, ESPN.  Very clever.

In continuing their Kobe coverage, the latest news to make the network’s headlines is that Mr. Bryant is a bad teammate.  No shit, Sherlock.  Someone please give ESPN an Emmy for their investigative journalism.  We’ve known this for over a decade.

In its most recent issue, ESPN the Magazine, a rag to which nobody subscribes, released an article simply entitled “Kobe.”  In his article, Henry Abbott cites unnamed sources who claim Kobe is a bad teammate and the reason for the Lakers demise.  Like I said, it must be pick on Kobe week.

Look, I don’t need ESPN to tell me Kobe’s a dick.  I’ve known that for years.  But piling on the guy as he rides off into the sunset is a tad excessive even for Kobe.

We know he took too much money in his last contract but the Lakers were the ones offering it.  We know he’s egomaniacal but do we really need to hear guys like Skip Bayless say that Kobe Bryant’s rape allegations helped him sell sneakers?  As Coach Reese would say, this is just another reason to watch sports with the volume off.

Congratulations, ESPN.  You managed to do the impossible.  You made us feel bad for Kobe Bryant.

31 thoughts on “ESPN celebrates Pick On Kobe Bryant Week

  1. Pingback: Wild Thing Fantasy Football » ESPN Celebrates Pick On Kobe Bryant Week

  2. I’m not a huge NBA fan, but I also thought those rankings were pretty silly. But the allegation that ESPN manufactures news? C’mon. Next thing, you’ll tell me that CNN and Fox sensationalize stories or that they’ve completely marginalized the term, “breaking news.”

    But it is entertaining to see what they think. It’s like their bogus “power rankings,” in which they pull a subjective order out of their butts and then justify it in 25 words or less. Or reading Jim Bowden’s suggestions on who to trade, knowing full-well that he’s at ESPN because he sucked as a GM.

    Remember: the first letter in their name is short for “entertainment,” and that’s all we should expect.

  3. Have you read Lakers’ part-owner & SVP Jeanie Buss’ comments concerning Kobe Bryant ? She essentially has called players (marquee free agents of this off-season) who chose not not sign with the Los Angeles Lakers ______ stated they were losers .

    Last I looked , it had been five years since the Lakers won an NBA title and this past season simply showed how bad the team was said to be . Now they have an aging geriatric point guard Steve Nash back under the knife, with Bryant’s own skill-set on the decline . Clearly Jeanie Buss remains delusional , without us delving into the ineptitude shown by her brother , Jim Buss, since he assumed control of the franchise . He and GM Mitch Kupchak are in need of a real wake-up call .

  4. Thanks for the fuel dipshits…As if Kobe needed any, but hey…With the mainly inproven roster we have, a pissed off Mamba with something to prove isn’t a bad thing.

    Thus far, I’m liking what I see in Randle, Lin, Davis and Clarkson. Hopefully some future building blocks among them.

    Sad to see Nash go, but it allows us a little maneuverability. Nothing but respect for the guy. Not so much for his time in LA, but while in PHO he was a true warrior and the epotime of what you want in a PG. If nothing elese, he gave us a glimmer of hope after Stern raped us via veto. Didn’t work out with him and Dwight here, but it’s that type of willingness to make bold moves that will win us our next championship.

  5. Fair point, Alex.

    And the network does have about 15 minutes out of their work day where they actually report some news.

    It’s just tough to figure out when those 15 minutes are going to be.

  6. Al…

    It’s her team and she can do with it as she pleases, even if that means running it into the ground.

    I did catch and excerpt of her on Cowherd the other day where she justified paying Kobe Bryant all that money.

    Either way, what’s done is done and we probably only have about two more years to talk about it.

    By the way, are they getting any sort of injury exemption on Steve Nash’s contract this year since he’s entirely unable to play?

    And why doesn’t he just announce his retirement already?

  7. Maybe you can answer that, Bleed.

    Are the Lakers going to be able to spend any of the money they have promised Nash on anyone else?

    And you know I’m not necessarily a mamba fan but I wouldn’t mind seeing him go out schooling people and giving a giant middle finger to ESPN in the process.

    40th? Really? Even at his age and demeanor, I don’t know that there are 39 other people I’d take in this league right now over him.

  8. Indeed the latest but not last example of the Worldwide Leader pulling off the creation of a controversy and then strategically (duh) being in place to cover it from every angle… they created. I too don’t get the news worthiness of Kobe being a bad teammate. Or hissing off upper management and potentially chasing away prospective employees. They even had Mrs. Phil Jackson on the set to call out any free agent who wouldn’t play with Bryant as “a loser.” Using the downside of his career to make fake news? Typical and pathetic of ESPN. But..not as pathetic as those afore-mentioned rankings. Just read an article in the current WIRED about a guy named Kirk Goldsberry doing amazing stuff a la Moneyball. Can show hoop analytics graphically at the next level. Worth a read. Looks like several NBA teams aren’t going to be relying on ESPN’s numbers…DataBall, baby!

  9. The Lakers are seeking the injured player exception in the neighborhood of 5 mil for Nash. Not sure if that limits their ability ti possibly trade him to a team in need off cap space or not, but either way we’ll have some flexibility.

    Jesus Al, is anyone enjoying this Lakers lull more than you? And to correct you, Jeanie wasn’t referring to last seasons FA’s in particular, but rather to any player that wouldn’t want to play with Kobe. Goof away while you can, the Lakers will become the Lakers again in due time. I’m not so sure about your Spurs once Duncan hangs em up, but by all means let the hot air fly. I usually skip over your windbag posts but since it’s about the Lakers I figured what the hell…My own fault for thinking it might be something other than verbal diarrhea.

  10. They must be bitter at Kobe and his injuries… and have moved on to have LeBron and Durant around to carry the load for them now.

  11. Chris

    The Lakers have been their own worst enemy over the past four seasons with their less then impressive draft classes . But then again what’s new concerning the franchise still living on past memories and not much else .

    tophatal ………

  12. Tell ’em how ya’ really feel, Bleed.

    Speaking of the Spurs, don’t you see Pop retiring when or around when Duncan does? Or at least taking a front office position?

    God knows how he loves to give those courtside interviews.

  13. Yeah, but the whole point, KP, is that how is it their job to be bitter and not do anything but just damn report the news impartially.

    Can you list 40 players you’d take right now over Kobe, all things considered?

  14. Al…

    I think Ole Miss just saw their way out of the playoffs.

    Mississippi State still has two tough road games, at Bama and at Ole Miss.

    If they’re not careful, neither Ole MIss nor Mississippi State could make the final four teams.

  15. The ranking had to do with fantasy sports as well. Obviously, Kobe didn’t feel like he should be #40, hence the ‘idiot’ comment to ESPN.

  16. Beware of the “Eyes of March” or in this case the “Eyes es of October ” and the possible futures of GM John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets. Idzik was prominent in the architectural process of building the Seahawks’ Superbowl winning team before leaving the franchise to join the Jets . How could things have gone so wrong for him , in such a short time other than the fact he bought into the crap Ryan and team owner Woody Johnson was selling ?

    As to the Los Angeles Lakers and Steve Nash , his recurring injury issues over the years , has been a sign of his diminishing productivity, but yet the franchise signed him, with the belief he could add something to the Lakers . Funny, I don’t see any prominent Lakers’ fans criticizing the move at all , but yet they bit#h and whine about numerous other things .

    tophatal ……………..

  17. Remind me again why idiots this season had already began to jump unto the Dallas Cowboys’ bandwagon ? LOL,LOL ,LOL !!! That team overnight has gone from being looking like a winner to something too afraid of its own damn shadow . Might well have been viewed as a great game last night allegedly because of its length and going into overtime but they were playing a woefully inept Redskins’ team where third-stringer Colt McCoy was the starter in last night’s contest played at Cowboys’ Stadium . Who’s the b$tch now Cowboys’ fans ?

    o_O

    tophatal …………

  18. Who’d have ever thought, Al, that the Jets would be longing for the days of Mark Sanchez?

    Man, this team is atrocious and things don’t get any easier for them as they’re double digit underdogs this week in Kansas City.

    Who’s the first coach to get fired? Rex Ryan or Will Muschamp?

    Too bad about Nash but I don’t understand why he just doesn’t go ahead and retire already. I understand and appreciate his competitive spirit but bad backs at that age are nothing to laugh about.

    The Cowboys had looked good… up until last night. How about all the hot teams that took a bath this weekend? Green Bay, Indy, Dallas, all suffered humiliating losses.

  19. Nash was plan B, Al. If not for the veto, he wouldn’t have even been considered. Yes, in retrospect the Lakers gave him far too much money over too many years and traded away too many draft picks to get him. But we had just gambled on Dwight and wanted a PG that would spread the ball around as well as be able to run the pick & roll to keep Dwight happy and re-sign. Both were gambles that obviously didn’t pay off, but at the time it seemed like a pretty good second option band aid on the heels of being denied CP3.

    Hindsight is 20-20, but personally I’m glad the Lakers are willing to swing for the fences. You win some, you lose some….But we’ve won more than pretty much everyone, so a hiccup here and there isn’t the end of the world.

    Just a few lost seasons…But again, it all traces to the veto.

    The sun will rise again on the Lakers empire…All in due time.

  20. The Cowboys were made to look good against an inept Redskins’ team and just about everyone has been suckered in by the crap Jerry Jones continues to force feed the masses . Apathy , is truly the name of the game when it comes to the bone headed fans . The hit Romo took , was of his own making and he could very well sit out their next game . Oh , here we go, it’s time to call on Brandon Weeden ,. How nice .

    Nash is deserving of an AARP card at this stage of his career .

    Did the empaneled body in choosing their first season’s rankings actually quarrel over who should be # 1 in their first poll of the year as it relates to College Football? No truth to the rumor that Condoleeza Rice flashed the guys her assets” in order to sway their votes .

  21. I’m not superstitious, but since the veto our luck has been mostly bad. Did Stern create a curse? I hope not, but man…It’s been nothing but one blow after another ever since with injuries galore, Dr. Buss’ passing and the Lakers slide into mediocrity…Now our #1 pick breaks his leg in his very first NBA game?? Brutal…Absolutely brutal.

    I hope Julius heals well. It’s not without precedence as James Worthy and Blake Griffin had the same type of injury early on in their careers and bounced back fine…Let’s hope Randle does too.
    You’re in my prayers kid.

    BTW,
    If I ever see David Stern on the street, I’ll approach him like an adoring fan – All smiles and adoration.

    …Then I’ll beat him unmercifully like he destroyed my franchise…Because he did.

    Set us back a decade with his fucking “Basketball Reasons” veto.
    Fuck that piece of dog shit.

  22. What ####ing hell happened last night between the Giants and Royals ? This has to be one of the most thrilling and yet also one of the perplexing World Series in the last ten years . The Giants had everything going for them after their game five victory and then like a dumb @ss playing with a stick of dynamite , they allow things to explode right in front of them .

    So the “bromance” between Kobe and Superman (Dwight Howard) never really existed ? LOL,LOL !!!

    So there’s unlikely a chance of them even breaking bread at some point in the future .

    Mentioned your site in my most recent ode , as a recommended read .

  23. Bleed

    The Lakers bet the house and used little diligence in the chances being taken . Personally I believe Mitch Kupchak really does need to bring in an assistant with a little more acumen when it comes to assessing talent .

  24. Chris

    So the Tampa Bay Rays are going to file tampering charges with MLB hierarchy after the revelation , Joe Maddon will be joining the Chicago Cubs ? At what point will the idiocy of the Rays front office stop ? Maddon chose not to extend his contract or listen to an offer from the Rays so how does Matt Silverman and Stu Sternberg they have a case to file tampering charges ?

  25. I wouldn’t disagree, Al.
    Jim Buss’s claim to fame in talent assessment is drafting Bynum.
    Andrew won two rings, made an All Star team and got us Dwight Howard in trade…Not too bad..

    However.
    He also ran off Phil Jackson, had a hand in hiring Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni (over Phil mind you) but I think ultimately, those final hire calls were decided by Jerry buss, not Jim.

    Ideally, Phil and Derek Fisher should be here in LA, not NY. Working to get Jerry West back in the fold would be smart too , if at all possible. In a recent interview, Jeanie revealed that SHE nowwhas final say on who gets hired and fired and that Jim is on a 3 year leash to get the Lakers back to contender level.

    The clocks ticking Jimmy.

  26. I don’t see why they wouldn’t, Al.

    One would have to believe Joe Joe was having talks with the Cubbies prior to leaving the Bay area. He signed on with them pretty quickly. That doesn’t change the fact that the Rays need to find themselves a new manager.

  27. Bleed…

    THANK YOU for each of your posts… read them late but if I’d of been more timely it would have only been to agree with you. Go Lakers!!

    Chump… the heart of the matter is where I agree with you most… IF “I” was building a team, at age 39 or not, there is no way there exist 39 other NBA players of greater game value. Savvy game skills and ultra competitiveness will still get you a long ways.

    All that aside.. the sneakers need to be unlaced sooner or later and the Buss duo will soon run out of excuses for this level of play.

    Re the article accuracy.. I thought that Buss had a ~$1B real estate empire which got passed to the kids??

  28. Tree…

    Either way, I know the Buss kids aren’t hurting for cash, even though one of them rides the front of the bus and the other one, well, rides in the back.

    From what I can tell, Kobe’s played well this year but an 0-4 start doesn’t bode well for this team in a competitive West. The cards are stacked against him and at his age, he can’t carry this team single-handedly.

    It’s a real shame what happened to Julius Randle. A year playing with the Mamba would really have helped his game, and his meanness, long term.

    Oh well. Such is life, I guess.

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