PJax: Give Bynum Some Space

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The man who coached Dennis Rodman and Metta World Peace (back when he was just Ron Artest) is telling us that Andrew Bynum is no big deal.

Phil Jackson was contacted recently by the Los Angeles Times and basically had this message regarding the increasingly volatile and unpredictable Laker center: chill.

The former Lakers coach told The Times he enjoyed seeing Bynum’s development, even if it had been filled with inexplicable turns the last few weeks.

“Bynum is not quite mature, but everyone should relax and watch him grow up,” Jackson said via email. “This year has been a big step for him offensively…nice to see…and when he takes up the mantle as defensive captain the Lakers can get back in the hunt.”

Jackson was strict with Bynum while coaching him for six seasons, prodding him about his fitness, getting more rebounds and playing better defense.

Bynum’s on-court troubles began last month when he tossed up a three-point shot early in the third quarter of a close game against Golden State. Bynum didn’t exactly apologize afterward after being yanked from the game.

He was fined a total of either $5,000 or $7,500 by the team for his conduct relating to that game, which included shrugging and frowning for a TV camera while sitting at the end of the bench.

From Bynum’s more distant past, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar lauded his former protege for being able to “learn about the game and stay healthy to become an All-Star.”

But Abdul-Jabbar, who mentored Bynum for a handful of seasons, showed concern about his recent on-court activities.

“That’s something he has to deal with because they need him on the court. He needs to figure out a way to stay out there,” said Abdul-Jabbar, who will make a guest appearance Tuesday on the Fox show “New Girl.”

I certainly can respect where Jackson’s coming from as we often forget Bynum is only 24 years old. He has lived much of his adult life in the fish bowl/temptation garden known as Los Angeles. So, yeah, a maturation process to a degree was and is to be expected.

But what’s not acceptable is when Bynum behaves like a punk, such as when he tried to hurt J.J. Barea last spring in the playoffs. Compared to that, taunting the Houston bench, as Bynum did recently, was mild stuff. Alarming — given his pattern of weirdness of late — but mild.

Here’s what I never understood about young millionaire athletes: Shouldn’t life be about happiness? Celebration for your good fortune? Then what’s with the attitude?

Bynum is rich and healthy (finally) and plays basketball for the Lakers. That sounds like a pretty good deal to the rest of us. Sure, he probably has life issues (like everyone else) that we don’t know about. And yet, the important basics — health, with wealth a distant second — seem to be in order here. Plus, he’ll make even more money in two summers when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. All this for a kid who was drafted at 17 at a time when he hardly looked like a future NBA star.

In a sense, Bynum won a lottery ticket and a better life, not to mention a possible long and productive NBA career. Oh, well. Some people are wired differently.

Bynum is the best news to happen to the Lakers this season. He’s better than ever, is a double-double machine most nights and is giving the Lakers a solid shot in the playoffs when the cast surrounding their big three (Bynum, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant) has never been more suspect. After Dwight Howard, Bynum is probably the best center in the game.

He’s a solid pro. Now he needs to carry himself like one.


  1. Chancellor Palpatine says:

    Henceforth, you shall be called Darth Bynum.. WELCOME TO THE DARK SIDE HAHAHAHA

  2. Bruce - Las Vegas says:

    Tame by most young punk standards. He’ll grow up or he’ll die. I’m betting he’ll grow up, most of us do.

  3. james moore says:

    i think people should lay off of Bynum. He is still a young player who Will show those tendencies at times. His behavior has not lost the lakers any games, in fact he has become a major contributer this past yr. There are very few superstars that havent been critizised bc of their behavior one time or another during their careers. Bynum will keep improving and in time will mature. All he needs is time.

    • lakerfan323 says:

      umm… his behavior has lost a couple games in the last few days… i’ll name two right off the top of my head.. the last two houston games he got ejected from. Now hes 1 T away from a suspension. You’re like a bad parent who lets his kid be a punk… Bynum needs some regulating, bad.

  4. LAL24 says:

    he is young. but he must change his attitude because it may cause him to a serious downfall.

  5. Magic Johnson says:

    Next I wann see him doing behind the back dimes…nuff said.

  6. Joe says:

    Bynum isn’t even the 2nd best center in the NBA.
    Per 48 Minutes
    Dwight Howard
    Tim Duncan
    Bynum (maybe)

    • Big Z says:

      Tim Duncan is not a center. He’s a forward. Get your facts right.

    • LakersWillWin says:

      LOL Duncan crowned the best “Power Forward” of all time plays the 4… not the 5…. See, comments like that just show you shouldn’t listen to anything in these damn comments boxes

  7. jonski22 says:

    i just want him to mature enough to help the Lakers win another championship. his offense is good, but i like to see him playing defense like DHoward. players are not intimidated by him.

  8. ebo says:

    cmon the guy is not immature hes just plain stupid would love to know that guys iq it would be dangerously low

  9. commercial slave says:

    “said Abdul-Jabbar, who will make a guest appearance Tuesday on the Fox show “New Girl.””

    cmon guys….

  10. LakersRangafan2417 says:

    guys remember that bynum is only 24 and has been in the nba since he was 17. And btw how immature is dwight howard but he still carried a team to the finals. Bynum will grow up and take his career seriously in the next 2 years so get off the guys back look at how much he has improved this year. Him and Ramon Sessions will be a lethal combination in the future

  11. dan'o says:

    Bynum has some swagger … I rather enjoy it. Yes, his body check last year to the driving spanish leprechaun (wearing the “Mavs” jersey) was a clear-cut case of immature handling of frustration, and his suspension was just. But the kid has game and knows it. It should also be stated that the Lakers have been donned the “drama” team, and the press has and will continue to magnify anything that could resemble a story.

  12. GrimeWizard says:

    The majority of 24 year olds are not mature, why does Bynum have to be then? Let the guy grow up instead of making fun of his immaturity…..especially when, like i said, most 24 year olds dont have it together.

  13. Paul says:

    When the NBA forces players to go through college a minimum 2 years before entering the league, then I’ll be a fan again. Bryant, Garnett, Stoudemire, James, and many other young stars the past 15 years never started out properly due to the lack of college training:
    Floor IQ training,
    Maturity to ‘lead’ your team (and not play for over 10 years in the NBA before finally becoming a leader – Garnett, Bryant for examples),
    Being ‘coachable’ (Jermaine O’Neal, Bryant for the first 10 years, LeBron – for jacking 3’s in the 4th quarter of important Cleveland playoff games, go to the bucket young Goliath),
    Making the players around you mentally better and more confident,
    The will to win, with the seriousness and confidence shown in demeanor (unlike Howard, Stoudemire, O`Neal)

    • hooplover says:

      sorry to burst your bubble, but you don’t learn any of these things in college! because you don’t go to college doesn’t make you an idiot you know nor does it make you a man. if you’ve got natural skill then use it with or without college. college doesn’t make you a better or worse person, you are who you are and everything you, are should have been imparted in you long before college.

    • lakerfan323 says:

      wuh? Veterans and championship ring holders like Kobe and Garnett lack floor IQ? dont think college teaches what these players innately have… and i certainly dont think the will to win is learned from college either.

  14. aurelio herrera says:

    lakers campeon con su nuevo piloto simmmons eres bueno continua

  15. aurelio herrera says:

    en espagnol los lakers van bien con bynum es unos de los mejores centro pero gasol no ayuda lo suficiente en los rebotos debiera jugar mas abajo del tablero como lo hacia antes y vera que sera mejor para los lakers

  16. eo says:

    yes bynum is just a not so bright guy looking for attention lets not give it to him

  17. Jay says:

    You all are drama queens. This is absolutely nothing. You have no other news because players don’t share all the inner workings of their lives so you cling to stupid nonsense like Bynum shooting a 3, attention in huddles, etc. Bored to death so yall obsess on bynum. Pathetic. There is no feud, nobody is talking about this nonsense at practice or on planes. It’s just YOU ALL lol!

    Nice to hear a word from Phil on the Lakers, he’d make a great consultant if he ever wanted to

  18. Choker says:

    Its just one three pointer. It doesnt matter. If he shot the 3 pointer what is your reaction?

  19. Aer2 says:

    Not sure what this writer is trying to say. Is HE happy with his good fortune being a writer on nba.com and all? I mean, sure Bynum should be happy with what he is doing, but that is not a reason to say he cannot have attitude. As a matter of fact, most people with attitude are the ones that are most successful. All pro athletes need to have a chip on their shoulder. Bynum just needs to learn how to control it and harness it in a positive manner, which will happen.
    Shaun Powell, happiness has nothing to do with this issue. If every athlete sat there content with their lives, nobody would be watching sports. As a doctor, if I am content with my life, my life being all about happiness as you say, then it is my patients that suffer from from somebody that is “content.” Dis-satisfaction is only a result of ambition.

  20. Eazy says:

    He needs to mature no doubt. He is so inconsistant on defense. At the start of the year he helped on pick in roll. Now all he does is sit back in the lane and allow the guard to get up jump shots or a lane to the basket. He has become lazy if the ball is not in his hands. Lakers need a big man coach to keep him interested movitated to be great not just good.

  21. Concerned Fan says:

    First and foremost, Bynun is still young… People asre giving this way too much attention. He is still in the learnign process and will continue to learn and grow. Everyone that has been in their 20’s knows how we were back in the day.. we did stupid things that now wecan laugh about or be ashamed off. This is his time to grow and there is no need to bring more drama to the fact that we are still talking about a YOUNG man. Who cares if he has an attitude?? He is no different than , Jordan, Barkley, Pippen, and a few other big name players with talent. Look at all the drama D. Howard has created with his coach… there is no room for criticism on either side. Stop riding him so hard and leave Kobe out of it, he is NOT Bynums parent, coach nor trainer. Mike Brown took on the job, now let him do it.

  22. Francisco says:


  23. PP34 says:

    my quota for Bynum are gone, he’s not a adult, still suspect his injuries will come back after he sign the next fat contract, i’m betting he will be the next eddy curry in 2015

  24. Samuel L. Jackson says:

    YOU have become a PROBLEM. A PROBLEM I HAVE to deal with. And despite what YOU think YOU are not the center of MY universe. We all know how things can get REAL bad, REAL fast. So here’s what I’m going to do…
    I’m going to open a window

  25. Taino says:

    Maybe Bynum is just acting out to sell jerseys and tickets, after LA with no drama is not LA.
    He knows acting out gives sportswriters something to moan about, creating huge word of mouth for himself.
    In this age of “bad news sells” Bynum may just have learned more than you give him credit for. Maybe he is just building his brand.

  26. dominique says:

    As long as he is going out putting up numbers doing his thing every night who cares. He is still young and has some maturing to do. Im 22 years old if I was out there you probably would see the same thing from me. Its good for the critics and the media plus not to mention Kobe. Leave hin alone stop riding the kid

    • lakerfan323 says:

      I agree with shaq when he says when phil let rodman be rodman, kobe be kobe, and shaq be shaq it didnt matter as long as they put up the numbers but… you cant put up numbers when you get ejected from games for being a punk… you cant play when you’re benched… and you’re not helping the team, the franchise or yourself by acting like a little girl scout and now andrew bynum is 1 T away from a suspension. The problem here is you cant JUST continue to let him play the way he is cause hes screwing everything up he needs to grow up now, fast.

  27. Bynums attuitude is bad and thats whats going to hold the lakers back, kobe needs to be a real mvp and talk to bynum and get him straight because kobe is the only person he will listen to, if bynum would stop acting like a tuff guy and put that energy in to playing great ball he would be great but till then its going to hold him and lakers back.

    • Knower of all says:

      Hahaha for all the salt you guys throw at him, I haven’t heard one laker player say he hates playing with him so relax I hope he stays this way because players who fill entitled to something usually with always play hard because they have something to prove. It’s ok to love the player who wins the sportsmanship awards but jerks get payed too.