The Los Angeles Lakers were in the midst of a rebuild based around superstar guard Kobe Bryant in 2005 and found themselves in need of a point guard. Enter William “Smush” Parker, the lanky journeyman who caught on with the Lakers and impressed then-coach Phil Jackson enough to spend two seasons as a starter.
While Parker never set the world on fire with his play, that era’s Lakers had little need for a ball-dominant point guard with Bryant in the fold and Jackson’s triangle offense installed. Instead, Parker was there to play stingy defense and occasionally knock down an open three.
Years later, when Parker’s Lakers stint was long over, Bryant made a comment about how weak his team was and claimed that Parker was the worst and shouldn’t have been in the NBA. In a recent interview with Matt Caputo of Bleacher Report, Parker spoke about how much he would like an apology from Bryant:
“This might not ever happen, but in a perfect world, if Kobe would just say something like he might have said something [about me] out of anger and he didn’t really mean those things about me being the worst point guard in the NBA,” Parker says earnestly. “I really can’t believe that the two seasons that I played with him, with the numbers that I put up and moments that we had, that he really felt like I was the worst point guard in the NBA.”
“If he could say something like that, it would really mean the world to me,” Parker says, laughing at the notion of being issued an apology. “I get a lot of whiplash for being the guy who said something about Kobe Bryant.”
Clearly, Parker is still stung by Bryant’s comments, although it has to be noted that he isn’t blameless either. In 2009, Parker made comments criticizing Bryant as a teammate and the war of words has been on ever since.
It’s always possible that at some point Parker will get his wish and finally find peace with Bryant, but for now, he will have to settle for enjoying the memories of his time in the spotlight with the Lakers.
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