Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Smush Parker opened up about his feud with his former teammate Kobe Bryant.
Parker called Bryant “disrespectful” when describing the relationship with him during their time together in Los Angeles.
Pablo Torre brought up Bryant’s comments from years ago when he complained about having to play with Parker and Kwame Brown. At the time, Bryant had said the Lakers were too cheap to pay a point guard, leading to Parker being on the team.
Parker, who played for the Lakers in the 2005-06 season and 2006-07 campaign, appeared in 82 games in both of his seasons with the franchise. He started all but two regular season games in his Lakers tenure.
Smush Parker explains his side of his feud with Kobe Bryant:
"The man never spoke to me. … I started with this man, I was his co-worker. Like we shared a cubicle side-by-side. How do you do that for two seasons and never hold a conversation? … I'm not even going to get to… pic.twitter.com/3mnazvKPoA
— Pablo Torre Finds Out (@pablofindsout) December 19, 2023
“So that spark has been there for years,” Parker said of Bryant’s comments. “Something that – a snowball that I created.”
Parker talked about an interview that he did after playing with the Lakers where he was asked about his time in the NBA and with Los Angeles.
“When I got to answering about my time with Kobe Bryant, as normal, I answered it honestly,” Parker said. “My truth – what my experiences were. And I said it was an overrated experience playing with Kobe Bryant.”
Parker detailed more about his relationship with the five-time champion, who is one of the greatest players in Lakers history.
“My locker was here, his locker here for two seasons,” Parker said while motioning that the two lockers were right beside each other. “I watched this man put on his shoes every day for work. He watched me put on my shoes every day for work.”
Torre pointed out that the starting backcourt for Los Angeles was Bryant and Parker during the former Lakers guard’s two seasons with the franchise.
“I was speaking from my experience,” Parker said. “It was overrated because the man never spoke to me. I wasn’t the 12th man on the bench. I wasn’t the call up from the G League who is tryna just fill a roster spot. I started with this man, I was his co-worker. Like we shared a cubicle side by side. How do you do that for two seasons and never hold a conversation?”
Parker said that his comments in the interview hurt Bryant’s feelings, which led to the Lakers legend having to retaliate.
“I shared a story about how I did try to talk to him,” Parker said. “You know I’m like, ‘I’m the starting point guard with him in the backcourt. Let me just try to talk to him.’ And I said, ‘Did you happen to catch the football game last night?’ And he looked at me – honestly – and said, ‘You can’t talk to me. You need more accolades under your belt before you come talk to me.’ He was dead serious.
“I’m not even going to get to how that’s disrespectful as a man.”
Parker revealed that he never spoke – or tried to speak – to Bryant again for his two years in Los Angeles.
Despite not having a relationship with Bryant, Parker had his two best NBA seasons with the Lakers, averaging over 11 points per game in each campaign with the franchise. He even admitted that there was some chemistry with Bryant on the floor.
Parker’s experience with Bryant certainly doesn’t appear to be the best, and he ended up moving on from the Lakers and signing with the Miami Heat after the 2006-07 season.
While Parker is sharing his side of the relationship, Lakers fans will never get to hear Bryant’s side. The Hall of Famer tragically passed away in a helicopter accident in January of 2020.
It’s unfortunate that the two never seemed to work things out, but Bryant ended up leading the Lakers to two more NBA titles after Parker left the franchise. Lakers fans will always have a special place for Bryant in their hearts for everything he did for the franchise in his storied career.