Special thanks to Carlos Batres for writing this take and giving us the privilege to add it to TheLakersNation.com. Again, if you guys see anything Lakers related that you think deserves to be put up, just e-mail us at articles@TheLakersNation.com.

As far as on and off the court conduct, Michael Jordan and amongst other players of his stature and fame have set the bar as far as what we as fans are willing to accept in a player without it affecting our loyalty. But, most fans have one thing in common. We seem to only truly appreciate a great player once he is retired from the game. However, as an active player, we love nothing more than to kick a player while he is down.

We take hatred to a whole new personal level.

I am a true Laker fan, and I hate to admit it but I used to loathe Jordan and I rejoiced in his struggles that he was experiencing off the court. Of course, with the exception of his father’s passing.

But, in an effort to avoid doing the same thing with Kobe, I would like to pour my heart out and hope that others don’t repeat with Kobe what I did with Jordan. But, for the record, let me just reiterate what Spike Lee once said, “I love Michael Jordan but I hate the Bulls.”

Unfortunately, Kobe’s reputation is still taking a hit from his feud with Shaq. I for one, don’t like the media making my mind up for me by speculating rather than reporting the facts. Especially since their agenda is to generate television ratings and sell newspapers and magazines.

So, the next time you come across the topic, ask yourself, “is this an opinion or a fact?”

As a rookie, I can remember vividly how Kobe would be conducting an interview and Shaq coming from out of nowhere yelling “showboat”. How much of that was affection, jealousy, or Shaq just being Shaq? No one knows. But, looking back at their dislike for each other, it does make you wonder.

At the same time, as Kobe has admitted before, he does deserve some of the responsibility for their falling out. Especially since Kobe is cocky, brash and overconfident and could easily have rubbed his team mates the wrong way. But at the same time, I have to ask. As an NBA veteran, captain and an adult, why wouldn’t Shaq embrace and nurture that in a way that Kareem did with Magic?

Some may argue that there is no way to tell if he did or didn’t but based on what I saw publicly, it did not seem that way. But, that is my opinion and I hope for everyone else to judge for themselves based on what they saw not on what the media wants us to believe.

On a side note, I have to point out how ironic that Reggie Miller was so quick to judge Karl Malone and Gary Payton for, as he called it, “riding other players coat tails” to win a ring when they joined the Lakers. Yet, he is considering doing the same thing.

Along the same lines of irony Kobe has been catching so much heat for requesting that Andrew Bynum be traded for Jason Kidd. However, I can remember Shaq making exactly the same trade request and not catching no where near the same amount of criticism as Kobe has.

It also needs to be noted that Shaq’s request came from personal reasons due to his inability to get along with Kobe. On the other hand, Kobe’s request is due to his frustration of not winning. In my book that is a legitimate reason and I refuse to judge him for wanting to win. Yet, I don’t remember Kobe coming out to the media throwing a tantrum screaming rape, the way that Shaq did. Which, he also did when he yelled and screamed at his boss Jerry Buss, on live television asking for more money. Yeah! That’s mature.

The same goes for his trade request. I for one am not worried whether Kobe will be traded to another team. The Lakers Nation will always be more to me than just about one player. I definitely cannot support him if he does not want to be here as a Laker. That is why I would have never been caught dead in a Shaq-Miami Heat jersey and call myself a TRUE Lakers fan. Disgusting!

That being said, I would like to point out that I want Kobe here with the Lakers. But, I don’t blame him for wanting to win. Are his actions erratic? Yes! selfish? No! But, he is human and like most other legendary NBA players he is a competitor, hard working and will literally rip your heart out to win and for that I admire him and will always appreciate and cheer for him.

But if he leaves the Lakers I will leave it as just appreciation. Just like Shaq. But, I will never dislike him. Nowadays, no one allows Jordan’s mistakes and flaws, due to his competitive nature, to tarnish what he accomplished, let’s do the same with Kobe but this time lets learn to appreciate his greatness, while we can still watch him play, before it’s too late.

For those of you who may say, Kobe is not Jordan, my answer to you is… EXACTLY! Then why would we hold him to higher standards than Jordan?

  • Room7

    Without a doubt they are my two favorite players of all time. Kobe is a better player given that he has done what he has without any help. Jordan is a legend however he had the support of a team that won 55 games without him. If you put the Lakers without Kobe on the floor they would be lucky to win 5 games.

  • MacBSlick

    Carlos Very good read Thank You.
    I can still remember when Magic wanted to come out of retirement. The rumors were spreading that he wanted to sign with another team. I was so pissed off. My support for him would have stopped the moment he signed with another team. Thank the Lord he resigned with us and I was able to watch him play for a little while longer. (remember that fake out and dunk on Spreewell? Ill never forget that.) Same goes for Kobe though. We trade Him or he Opts out and signs with some other team My support ends that day that hour that minute. I love the guy I have since the day West traded for him. Shaq on the other hand showed his selfishness from the moment he arrived in L.A. As I recall he ripped Eddie Jones (who still hates us for trading him)and Del Harris, Who was replaced by Jackson. He continued year after year to rip Kobe 8 years counting. They win 3 Championships He still continued ripping Kobe and at the same time refused to work on his own game and keep himself in shape. Shaq is an abuser first and formost. Its everyone elses fault Not His. Anyways very good read and again Thank You!

  • BEC

    Jordan and Shaq got away with a lot of stuff, while Kobe is ridiculed for pretty much everything he does, because of one thing. Its not enough that he is the best player in the NBA, the most talented, the most electrifying, and most complete player because he is NOT WINNING. I REPEAT NOT WINNING. It doesnt matter that he doesnt have the talent around, the bottom line is he is not WINNING. Jordan and Shaq backed up everything they did with WINS. Kobe is said to be arrogant, but Shaq has never really been called those. Although this is the man who deemed himself MDE, Most dominant ever, it doesnt get more rrogant than that, but he backs it up with his play and more importantly with WINS. A player gets RESPECT for wins, not scoring 81 pts or averaging 50ppg throughout a month, its all about wins. At this point were Kobe is actually leading a team, hes not winning, but true bball fans know this team has achieved more than it should and Kobe has done everything and more and with the lack of talent its not all Kobes fault. But people care more about winning than anything else.
    People hold Kobe to the highest standards because he is the only player alive that even comes close to surpassing the greatness of Jordan. People dont want Kobe to surpass Jordan and thus they criticize him more than any other player. But I personally think thats a good thing because thats the only way he’ll even be considered to be the GOAT. He needs to exceed everyones expectation of him to get that respect and that title of being the greatest. Is it fair? No, but thats the way it has to be.

  • sincebirth1

    [quote comment=”12127″]Jordan and Shaq got away with a lot of stuff, while Kobe is ridiculed for pretty much everything he does, because of one thing. Its not enough that he is the best player in the NBA, the most talented, the most electrifying, and most complete player because he is NOT WINNING. I REPEAT NOT WINNING. It doesnt matter that he doesnt have the talent around, the bottom line is he is not WINNING. Jordan and Shaq backed up everything they did with WINS. Kobe is said to be cocky and arrogant, but Shaq has never really been called those names. Although this is the man who deemed himself MDE, Most dominant ever, it doesnt get more cocky and arrogant than that, but he backs it up with his play and more importantly with WINS. A player gets RESPECT for wins, not scoring 81 pts or averaging 50ppg throughout a month, its all about wins. At this point were Kobe is actually leading a team, hes not winning, but true bball fans know this team has achieved more than it should and Kobe has done everything and more and with the lack of talent its not all Kobes fault. But people care more about winning than anything else.
    People hold Kobe to the highest standards because he is the only player alive that even comes close to surpassing the greatness of Jordan. People dont want Kobe to surpass Jordan and thus they criticize him more than any other player. But I personally think thats a good thing because thats the only way he’ll even be considered to be the GOAT. He needs to exceed everyones expectation of him to get that respect and that title of being the greatest. Is it fair? No, but thats the way it has to be.[/quote]

    No truer words spoken BEC… for someone of Kobe’s caliber not to get any love in this sport.. is sickening

  • http://www.myspace.com/on3s3qu3nc3 123kid

    eventually by the time kobe retires, people will start to compare new and up and coming stars to kobe as well. i know kobe is constantly trying to shut up the media even if it is for a quick second. hez always trying to surpass jordan in everything, but like everyone has said, the media and the nba are constantly trying to contain him from doing so. but dang…if kobe was playing those same years jordan was, jordan would never ever be able to surpass kobe.

  • Fan of the Mamba

    Excellent write-up.

    I’ll just say the only person Kobe is being compared to is the man who was considered the greatest. That says enough about how talented he is right there.

    And yes winning championships not just winning is what’s valued most. Here’s to knowing that Kobe will win another ship cause he’s smart enough, talented enough and driven enough to make it happen.

  • fred0s

    That is so true. Sure you hear a lot about how great players like LeBron and Wade are, but you rarely hear them compared to Jordan.

  • 24allup inya

    JORDAN WHO??? KOBE IS THE BEST THERE IS THE BEST THERE WAS AND BY FAR THE BEST THERE EVER WILL BE!!! NOT ONLY DOES HE HAVE TO CARRY THE TEAM (MOST OF THE TIME) BUT HE ALSO HAS TO DO IT GOING UP AGAINST THE OP’POSITION AND THE CROOK’ED A** OFFICIAL’S (KOBE IS THE BEST NO QUESTION ABOUT IT)

  • foxxy

    kobe is the best…lets stop the hate and give him his props!!!!! people always hate the best…it goes with the territory!!!! carry on kobe with your baaad self!!!!

  • foxxy

    HISTORY WILL SHOW YOU ARE BY FAR THE BEST BALLER YET!!!!ITS NOT OVER YET…JUST WATCH!!!!!

  • redline

    ^Check the tape. Checkmate.

  • oh god really?

    Oh c’mon, really now?
    “Yet, I don’t remember Kobe coming out to the media throwing a tantrum screaming rape, the way that Shaq did”

    Don’t you remember how Kobe ratted out Shaq?
    What you talk about in the locker room should never leave the locker room, Kobe is one of the reasons Shaq is having problems with his marriage. You cannot blame shaq for doing that “Kobe tell me how my ass tase rap”.

  • oh god really?

    Also I’d like to address this line that you said

    “On the other hand, Kobe’s request is due to his frustration of not winning”

    Its not that, its how HE said it.
    Did you even pay attention to how he said it?
    He said it in a very demeaning way.
    I would quote Kobe, “Ship his ass out”
    That’s what he said to Bynum.

    I am a Laker fan and I love the Lakers but I am also unbiased and criticize them for their mishaps and such.
    I’m not like the close minded Laker fans that are delusional.