Remember when it was Kobe vs. Shaq, everywhere, all the time?
Well, Bryant and O’Neal have mended fences, with “The Big Aristotle” in the Hall of Fame, and “The Black Mamba” ready to join him.
Most teammates never got close with Kobe, but the one guy who might have been his least favorite was none other than William “Smush” Parker.
Now, aside from the cool nickname, there’s actually a lot to like about Smush.
He went undrafted out of Fordham, but was still able to carve out a five-year career in the NBA.
When he was with the Lakers, Smush actually played in every game, and started all but two contests over two seasons.
But it was a down period in Los Angeles, with Bryant, who was feuding with seemingly everyone, rumored to be on the trading block.
Let’s just say that Bryant doesn’t look back fondly on that era.
“I almost won an MVP with Smush Parker and Kwame Brown on my team,” Bryant told the Orange County Register back in 2012. “I was shooting 45 times a game. What was I supposed to do? Pass it to Chris Mihm or Kwame Brown.”
But, let’s let bygones be bygones, right?
Um, no. During a question-and-answer session at a USC event last month, Bryant was asked who was the second-leading scorer in the game in which he dropped 81 points.
“What did he have, four?” Bryant said, according to TMZ.
Smush actually had 13 points.
“Now you know why I had to score 81,” Bryant added.
“Tough day, man. That was tough.”
Parker, now involved with a church in Brooklyn, is taking the high road, as he told Bleacher Report.
“There was really no interaction between us at all,” Parker remembers. “We didn’t have a relationship outside of the locker room or even in it, but when I put on that Laker uniform, we were teammates, and I believe that he thought the same thing. We had a lot of good basketball moments because I believe we played a lot of good basketball together. He’s Kobe Bryant, a Hall of Famer. He did the majority of the work.”
Still, Smush wouldn’t mind an apology
“If he could say something like that, it would really mean the world to me,” he said. “I get a lot of whiplash for being the guy who said something about Kobe Bryant.”
Smush sounds like a good guy, but he probably shouldn’t hold his breath.
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