Kobe Is a Great and Terrible Teammate

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Kobe Bryant = Mr. Polarizing

    Unlike LeBron James who walks on water, Kobe Bryant is as polarizing to NBA players as he is to the public at large.

    Sports Illustrated recently asked 190 NBA players who they most would want as their teammate. LeBron won going away with 32 percent of the vote, Kobe was second with 13 percent.

    What we can take away from that is guys on other teams want to win and be relevant. Which makes sense, if you were playing out the string in Minnesota or Toronto to half full stadiums and with no chance of making the playoffs, then playing with top guys on national broadcasts and in front of sell out crowds would sound pretty appealing.

    Most of those surveyed respect Kobe — he won the poll about whom players would want to take the last shot with a crazy 76 percent of the vote.

    On the other hand, plenty of guys agree with Smush Parker, too.

    When asked what player they would least like to have on their team Kobe Bryant came in third (behind Stephon Marbury and Ron Artest; he tied with Stephen Jackson.) That’s a list of notorius guys that can stop the flow of an offense and go all out for themselves. No one likes playing with that guy at the playground, much less the NBA.

    To be fair, Kobe does a lot less of that now that he has Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher to pass to. Still, the poll shows that opinions among NBA players about Kobe are as divided as sports talk radio callers.

    The thing is, love him or hate him, people can’t stop watching him. LeBron, everybody loves and watches. And you wonder why David Stern is secretly praying for a Cleveland/Los Angeles Finals.