There has been a lot of back and forth recently over Kobe Bryant’s role in the Lakers downfall over the last couple of years with many questioning whether other star players in the NBA want to play with him.
One player who had the opportunity to sign with the Lakers this off-season was Carmelo Anthony, who ultimately decided to remain in New York with the Knicks. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Ohm Youngmisuk, Anthony said his decision had nothing to do with Bryant himself:
Hell no. Of course not,” Anthony said. “If I thought that [playing for the Lakers] was the right situation for me from an overall perspective as far as having a team there, then I would have looked at that situation more in-depth. I just felt more comfortable staying here in New York. But as far as playing with him … I’m here now but I would always love to play with Kobe.”
Anthony is now the third player to speak directly against the ESPN article that came out this past week. That article quoted numerous anonymous people around the NBA saying that players didn’t want to play with Kobe. Paul George immediately tweeted out his disagreement and Ramon Sessions also denied Kobe having anything to do with his decision to leave Los Angeles.
Bryant is not the easiest person to get along with, and has surely rubbed people the wrong way at times throughout his career. However, with so many people denying that he was the reason they chose not to play in Los Angeles, Kobe’s reputation seems to be just fine amongst NBA players.[divide]
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