The worshipful sports media lavishly praised Kobe Bryant after his farewell game Wednesday night, except for contrarian commentator Jason Whitlock who claimed the career-ender was no cause for celebration.
Ending his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant scored 60 points with a career-high 50 shots in a 101-96 win over the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center, formerly the home of the “showtime” Lakers. The 2015-2016 season was the worst in Lakers’ history, however, as the team finished with a dismal 17-65 record.
“Bryant took 58.8 percent of his team’s 85 shots, the highest percentage of his team’s shots that he has ever taken in a game, even more than when he scored 81 points. In essence, Kobe’s final game was so Kobe. He has always been a gunner, firing away as much as he pleases, even excessively. And he has had an ultra green light during this season, but never more so than in his finale, and he took full advantage,” ESPN explained about Wednesday night’s hoops action.
After two tours of duty with ESPN, Jason Whitlock — the former Kansas City Star columnist — is back with Fox Sports. He also operates a blog called J.School.
With opinions all over the map, Jason Whitlock in the past has been accused by his detractors of playing the race card as well as being a sellout and an Uncle Tom. “Over the years, Whitlock has taken several unpredictable and often unpopular positions, especially when racial issues intersect with sports,” the New York Times detailed in September, 2010.
Whitlock left ESPN the second time in the fall of 2015 several months after losing his gig as editor in chief of the long-form sports journalism site The Undefeated, which has been described as the “black Grantland.”
The Undefeated site still contains a “coming soon” logo, while ESPN shut down Grantland in November 2015.
Sitting in on Thursday for Colin Cowherd on the The Herd, a radio show which is simulcast on Fox Sports 1, the controversial Whitlock declared that Kobe Bryant is “the most fraudulent superstar celebrity athlete we have ever seen.” See clip below.
Spending his entire pro career with the Lakers coming out of high school, and who was injury plagued in his last few seasons, future Hall of Famer Bryant is a five-time NBA champ, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, an 18-time NBA All Star, and the league’s MVP in 2008. He also won gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
Despite the storybook ending, Jason Whitlock didn’t hold back about Kobe Bryant and his much-hyped last NBA game.
“Sports are a team endeavor. Especially as it relates to basketball and football and whatnot…[Kobe] destroyed a franchise. His narcissism and selfishness destroyed a franchise. The Lakers are a laughing stock and just had the most embarrassing season we’ve pretty much ever seen an NBA team have. And Jack Nicholson and everybody’s sitting at courtside celebrating this, standing ovation. And then we’re heaping on more fraudulence to the night. Magic Johnson calling him the greatest Laker. No he’s not. And Magic knows it. Magic and Kareem are the greatest Lakers. Kobe and Jerry West probably equals … During his own era, there were far better players all the time. Kobe ran off Shaquille O’Neal—they could have established one of the greatest dynasties in sports history, but his narcissism and selfishness ran Shaq out … That game last night was hot garbage…”
Kobe also bullied former coach Phil Jackson and was an NBA legend Michael Jordan wannabe according to Whitlock. “Kobe Bryant’s [20-year] imitation of Michael Jordan was sheep activity,” Whitlock insisted.
Last month, Jason Whitlock claimed that the St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam because the NFL wanted to engage in a politically-correct stunt rather than on the merits.
When it comes to now-retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, do you think that Jason Whitlock is or isn’t a truth-teller?
[Photo by John Amis/AP Photo]