D’Antoni Must Step Into The Void … Now!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — As much as the rest of this season for the Los Angeles Lakers is about Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace, the responsibility for how the Lakers finish sits squarely on the shoulders of one Mike D’Antoni.

The Lakers’ coach lost the cloak of Kobe Bryant, who is recovering from Saturday surgery to repair his torn Achilles and will be out for at least the next six months. D’Antoni no longer has the option of allowing Bryant to answer for the Lakers basketball sins this season. He can’t ease into the background as Bryant explains away one of the great botched chemistry experiments in pro sports history.

All of that internal security from doubters, both near and far, evaporated with just over three minutes to play Friday night at Staples Center, when Bryant’s season came to an abrupt end.

This season’s defining moment will come without Bryant in uniform, it could come as early as tonight’s showdown with the San Antonio Spurs (9:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV), with D’Antoni clearly at the controls of a team he had no says so in building after taking over for Mike Brown in November.

The style disconnect that has existed all season can no longer be used as an excuse, not with both Howard and Gasol playing their old selves in recent weeks. Nash is a non-factor and has been for much of the season, due to injuries, and World Peace is going to bring the same frenetic energy he always does, regardless of who is and is not in uniform.

D’Atnoni is now the wild card. Can he cajole this team into the playoffs, making good on Bryant’s guarantee, and ensure that they make the noise Bryant swore they would once they got in? D’Antoni’s future with the Lakers depends on it. D’Antoni has a chance to reintroduce himself to this team in ways that he simply could not when Bryant was at the center of all things.

Unlike some, I don’t blame D’Antoni for pushing Bryant too hard, playing him a merciless amount of minutes as the Lakers clawed their way back into playoff contention after the All-Star break. There’s enough of Southland bashing of D’Antoni, Lakers’ owner Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak to fill every minutes of every day until Bryant returns, and you know he’s coming back from this.

Bryant was in the midst of a seven-game stretch where he was averaging 46 physically taxing minutes a night trying to rescue a team that plenty of us feel has been mismanaged since Bernie Bickerstaff‘s brief tenure at the helm, he bridged the gap between Brown and D’Antoni. Even a freak injury like the one Bryant suffered looks a bit curious to those of us who don’t buy into the conspiracy theories.

I blame D’Antoni for dropping the ball and not being able to reign in Bryant’s wicked competitive streak at a time when it was clear the seemingly ageless wonder was laboring. I blame him for being too stubborn to adjust his own philosophy to fit the talent on the roster he inherited. Game after game Bryant was forced to carry the Lakers in ways that were really unnecessary, given the fact that remain the only team in the league with two elite 7-footers at their disposal.

Lucky for D’Antoni, he has a chance to make it all right. If can guide the Lakers past the Spurs tonight, he could set up a weekend date with Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the Spurs. Or maybe it’s Scott Brooks, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

There is room for redemption if D’Antoni can claw his way out of this weekend’s and this season’s mess. But it has to include the Lakers finishing this playoff fight with the Utah Jazz right and following it with a playoff run as spirited as anything Bryant did during his one-man rescue of the Lakers before Friday night.

We can all agree that D’Antoni is an offensive genius and visionary in a league filled with followers. But if he can’t engineer the Lakers’ rise from this latest fall, if he can’t go back to the drawing board and pull out the motivational tactics to inspire this team, then he might very well be devoured by the Lakers’ season on the brink.

But if he wants out of Phil Jackson‘s shadow and wants to write his own chapter in Lakers’ lore, he has to step into the void now and run with it for as long as humanly possible.


  1. AK says:

    I think D’Antoni did not do his job as a coach thus far. Your team needs to be able to play well with your superstar on the bench or injured. Look at what Miami did when Lebron and Wade rested, they took care of business cuz coach Spolestra built a working chemistry within the team. The fact that Kobe was on the floor 100% of the time meant the team didn’t even adjust to playing with Kobe sitting on the bench, more so towards the end of the season. I do believe, with all due respect to Kobe, that the Lakers will play better team basketball with him out. Every possession of the Lakers always focused on Kobe, Kobe, Kobe. They struggled this year because they lacked chemistry, they did not play proper team basketball. There is a lot of talent on that team, and now they will be forced to spread the ball and play a proper team game. I gotta say, and I will get attacked by many for saying this, but the Lakers will put up a better fight against OKC in round 1 with Kobe out, because Howard, Gasol, Artest, and the rest will step it up, spread he ball, and execute team basketball like it was meant.

  2. Eugrne Mills says:

    It’s a wash either way,they’re not beating San Antonio,without Kobe,and could’nt beat Oklahoma with or without him,not enough offense without him,and not enough defense period.

  3. amani says:

    You should proofread your articles better.

  4. Jack says:

    i was never a Laker fan, but humility reasons, i feel their pain now as thei main man fall down, it seems they dont know what hit them when the only man cost them these is D’ Antoni, fire this guy because he is not genius to handle such caliber of Lakers, he is just there sitting and it seems that his mind is out of the game,..FIRE D’ ANTONI, Lakers will never get the run they deserve if this guy is in the helm!!

  5. Lakers Fan says:

    I think coach’s a major issue. I remember this season, the Spurs took the Heat to the distance without Tim Duncan and some other key players. Lakers at full strength is having problem with Nuggets, Blazers and the list goes on. A weak bench and key players’ age are also contributing factors. To Kupchak: it’s time to rebuild, please.

  6. danishgambit22 says:

    kobe should win the mvp! see his effort to lead the lakers to the playoff! KOBE SHOULD WIN HIS MVP THIS SEASON!

  7. sportsfan says:

    D’Antoni will now be relying on the whole team like he should have been doing in the first place. And he’s going to have his offense start with the big men like he should have in the first place. I think it’s really too late for D’Antoni to show what he can do in the playoffs if they make it because they need time to develop chemistry without Kobe. But if he’s not fired by next season (or quits like he did in NY) he will then have a chance to show what he can for probably half a season without Kobe.

  8. nbafan says:

    Everyone needs to stop blaming people on the lakers……what happened to them is unfortunate but everyone needs to get over it.

  9. MJfromOKC says:

    I think its just ridiculous the expectations put on Mike Dantoni. “Hey, take this roster to the Finals, we just got together but we think were damn good.” Then after numerous injuries and a season of bad play they are fighting for 8th. Aside from 4 dudes that roster is BAD. I think hes obviously a great coach for being able to get that team to the playoffs. Anyone who doesnt realize that doesnt take time to read about basketball. Bashing Dantoni is definitely going to get a combined nod of approval from everyone in the Laker nation though.

  10. laker4life says:

    mike should be fired at the end of this season. he is not a coach that can coach a superstar team and has shown it this year and previous years else where. as a coach you have to have some control over your players others whats the point of you even being there. its been kobes team all season he may as well have been a player/coach. mike needs to coach a young team like Sacramento that all they do is run a gun. offence sells tickets but defence win championships. mike has no defence whats so ever either

  11. LA 4LIFE says:

    I think the LAKER’S need young players for the future. Be smart, sign Shannon Brown plz

  12. Sid says:

    C’mon Tom not gettin things done in Chicago, Kevin unhappy in Minnesota and John is too good to die in Washington! I said it half year ago I say it now – lakers Management get it done!!!

  13. Sid says:

    Get Ride of Mr. I-can’t-Coach-Defense and get Tom from Chicago. Sell Dwight to Minnesota, get Kevin Love and some side dish – Give Nash, Jamison and Blake to Washington for John Wall – let Pau play center again, suits him better anyway! Voila lakers are ready for 13/14 championship.

  14. jill says:

    D’Anthony has nothing to proof tonight. He will have the flexibility to coach a TEAM without selfish players. Now them will open opportunities to other players rather than the geniuses and balhoggers. Granted Kobe have great talent and heart, but he will never be remembered a a man who help other players to be better. He will always be the selfish man with the great talent. What a waste. He could have been better than Jordan. Go Lakers now you are a team and show why you have three all stars in your lines

  15. Willy says:

    Injuries can sometimes unite or inspire other players to step up. Pau will get his touches now no need to complain about Kobe taking 87 shots in one game anymore. Double the big men let the very small guards shoot. Coach D road the horse too hard and put him away wet. They are both done in my opinion.

  16. theholyspectator says:

    @aditya …your statement of lakers needing to be dominant in playoffs has no logic behind it nor is it reasonable..it would be one thing if kobe was still alright and in the line up, all tho gettin thru okc wouldnt be possible…but their may have been some possibility..but now? lol forget about it, these lakers are done…without the black mamba, they are below 500 team..i been callin it all year….this year was a complete bust..you sign big names and they dont produce..your top guy is forced to produce, at a very high level, every night and is old, and now hes done for this season and who knows how many games next year, not to mention next year is his last, hey look i respect kobes game..but father time has caught up to him, he works his butt off in the summer, gets healthy comes back hes not gonna be the same..and its his last year…this was the year for kobe to win it all, and unfortunately laker management didnt think it thru..and becuz of that the mans journey to ring 6 and tying jordan, we wont see it…rip lakers ….rip

    • Rommel says:

      if kobe can carry his team and is called a GOAT as fans claim him to be , then they should be winning more games, no one yet can equal the efforts of MJ

  17. Ben says:

    It was not efficient to play Bryant that much. The most shoots and points he was having, the more point difference the Lakers was loosing.
    It might be weird but Lakers is a better team with Bryant as a facilitator and not as a scorer.

    So by playing too much, a collaetral damage was done for the team and for Bryant.
    Only the coach could have stopped this but it was almost impossible for a new coach to come to LA and dictate Bryant how he must play. keep in mind Phil Jackson that labeled him as ncoachable.

    Hope he can recover and come back as a facilitator and not a scoring machine.

    This year nba finals will most likely be the same as last year between Heat and Thunders.

  18. Aditya says:

    The lakers also needs to be dominant in the playoffs or i will be extremely upset.we have to go for the title this season
    Lakers will win the title and win the rest of the games to finnish the season or i will be extremely upset. i watch others teams too. i cheer very very loudly. i watch every lakers game. i am a die hard lakers fan.
    when the lakers are loosing and are not playing well during the game i also get extremely upset. i celebrate when lakers win the title and maybe playoff series. lakers will play excellent basketball with out Kobe or i will be extremely upset. EVERY ONE STOP saying bad things about lakers or i will be extremely upset. i am extremely happy goudlock is coming back.

  19. W/E says:

    The Lakers management should get rid of D’antoni and make Kobe the coach, he will do a better job for sure.

  20. Alex says:

    This is 99% your fault d’antoni.

  21. Alex says:

    This is 99% YOUR FAULT d’antoni!!!!!!!

  22. truBballfan says:

    i am a nba fan so im not bias to any one team. mike dantoni is a great coach, he didnt build this team or give any input on how it will be put together, he had to work with what he had. as for kobe he is one of the greatest players and competitors the game has ever had if anybody denies that they dont know basketball, the game i love so much, and since i love the game i know why kobe was playing tons of minutes (in wich he chose to do so himself). listen, D12 is an upset, obviously not performing the way we know he can., he still has a lot of growing up to do mentally and the way he plays the game. as for Pau Gasol no denying hes not the same player he was when they won 2 championships. but hes still 7 ft. he can still put the ball on the floor and his court vision allows him to create for others no doubt about that. Metta hes just fine nothing to worry about with this guy, he goes and gets his. Metta puts in work every game he plays in! Nash one of my favorite players is probably saying to himself what did i get myself into J/K. ha. Steve Nasty needs to just get himself on that court and relax, do what you do best nash CREATE opportunities for others and himself. OH YA IF ANYBODY NEEDS TO TAKE BLAME FOR THIS MESS OF SEASON THE LAKERS HAD ITS. KUPCHAK!!!

  23. A.K says:

    what dantoni needs to do is step aside and let kobe take over the coaching or the lakers stand no chance

  24. rex says:

    kobe should just start coaching. he knows this team better than everyone else in the exception of phil.

  25. mega says:

    brown left the laker to bring someone who cant coach a team what a mess

  26. 2e says:

    As to the devastation of losing the superstar Kobe Bryant bringing everyone and every critic to point the finger at someone or something for why this could have happened and if it could have been avoided, watching Kobe coming back to throw the two free throws and as the camera focused on his feet, you realize that the shoes he was wearing are as cheap as they come. He was probably trying to promote some company’s shoes regardless if it was the best shoes to play the game with or not. Choosing a shoe could be the determining factor for injuries as I have found out through my own foot problem.

  27. Bryan says:

    Lakers needs Phil Jackson Next seaon

  28. metal says:

    It’s time for the Lakers to concede, they aren’t going anywhere the rest of the season.

  29. Cohos59 says:

    It amazes me all the Kobe hatters and the ha ha’s. Give your head a shake folks. What Kobe Bryant did will go done in Sports as one of the few examples of an athlete giving everything and more for his team and the game. Watching the Staples Centre standing ovation as he barely made it off the floor was something I will long remember. Hopefully this inspires Dantoni and the rest of the team to dig deep within themselves.I don’t care about the result but if every man to a man on the Lakers can play the last 2 games knowing they left everything of themselves out there, then I applaud them.

  30. KB24 says:

    it is not mikes fault mitch kupchak said it himself kobe would sub himself in at times nobody can stop kobe from playing but kobe

  31. KB24 says:

    laker haters are funny kobe is a ballhog…… lol i did not know you were a ballhog when you averaged 6 ast a game i guess james harden is a ball hog to i guess jeremy lin is a ball hog to i guess dwade is a ball hog to

    • Rommel says:

      compare the ratio of the missed and made field goals, kobe is a self serving ballhog. i stayed away from the Lakers mainly because of him, i will be jumping for joy when he retires. btw, i was a Laker fan ever since the time of Magic up until this black mamba joker took over.

  32. erheme says:

    lakers need T-MAC

  33. JUBES says:

    This is a career ending injury and if ever he will come back and play again it will be a few games and eventually retire, ruptured achilles is a serious injury and the player cannot play at the same level again, he has no other choice but to call it quits.

  34. Jim says:

    Sad day when the GOAT falls. Kobe’s dedication is unmatched, get better soon Kobe, radio edit them haters.

  35. Chris says:

    If D’antoni can push the lakers past even the first round after all that’s happened this season he deserves an instant spot in the Hall of fame.

  36. Vasquez says:


    • deliveredkarma says:

      phil don’t want you, damn. lakers fans are like a stupid ex who is calling you again and again and again. it’s over, done, move on. it will never happen again. phil+la = past. done. DONE lakers fans. (the idiots one at least)

  37. True Laker Fan says:

    D’ Antoni is a good coach but he doesn’t realize that this team THE LAKERS just don’t fit to his system of run and gun. He should let his team play on their own a just coach them on how to use some diadvantages for their benefits. And Kobe now by his side will be a big help to coach his mates.,. Kobe can see the mismatches and use to their advantage. I hope they can try to do the triangle so the TwinTower can get a lot of touches to dominate in the paint.

  38. C's says:

    I blame the Lakers and the fans on that one.. so much pressure to get DH12 . they got him , the lakers were destroyed almost the entire season.
    Now that they need to get the 8 spot, more pressure from the fans , the staff didnt knew what to do and they put Kobe to play 47 minutes a game. Kobe has 34 years old , we all saw that coming.
    Just hope is he can come back to finish his career strong.
    Now good luck Lakers , without Kobe and i dont think the refs can keep helping you guys right now!

    • Rommel says:

      horrible English, it might have been better if you chose to type your thoughts in your own language, LOL.

  39. david mann says:

    This is squarely on D’Antoni. He never utilized the talent he had correctly, and he doesn’t know defense. Howard is the most dominant center in the league, and with Pau and Kobe??? They should never had struggled (and lost) against teams like the Warriors. If the Lakers had brought Phil Jackson back, regardless of his price, the Lakers would have won many more games, finished much higher in the standings, and not had to force Kobe to play so many minutes this late in the season. D’Antoni is not a good coach for the Lakers.

  40. Wizzy says:

    I always thought it is D’Antoni’s fault. I don’t see him as an offensive genious. Not with the way he did in NYC, since the Knicks are better on both ends of the floor after they changed coach and also not with the way Lakers are playing. He just obviously can’t adjust. It was the sami thing when he was with Suns and the burden was on Steve Nash who got injured as well…
    When he came to the Lakers and said I will play the main three guys a lot, they will earn the millions they are making…I got a bad vibe. The idea this year was that main guys will be rested and everything will be balanced. Only Bernie achieved that. You can check the stats for all the games he led and look at the minutes played for Kobe,Dwight an Pau and also the stats. all three contributed pretty evenly and a lot. It was just a few games, but still it is pretty consistent if you compare the stats with Brown and D’antoni.
    That is why Phil Jackson is the man..Triangle or not,he succeded with groups of such a different players. Jordan-Pipan-Kukoc; Shaq-Kobe, Kobe-Pau. He adopts his system and defense

    • NHbleedsGREEN says:

      Everyone forgets that Phil Jackson was swept outta LA with a team that should of won a 3rd straight title.
      Safe to say he is not the answer anymore no matter how Zen people think he still may be.

  41. Mattshoes says:

    The article had potential, but the poor writing cost you credibility, Sekou. You should find someone to proofread your pieces before you hit, “Send.” And did you not hear D’antoni admit that Bryant basically puts himself in the game, and takes himself out? D’antoni may be the coach, but Bryant called the shots as to when he played and for how long. He did it to himself, trying to carry a team that he should not have had to carry, given the profusion of talent. But here is where the problem lies: too many stars and not enough team-players. His team mates hung him out to dry by not playing team ball.

    • Rommel says:

      after the game, Gasol looked happy and relieved knowing that he can start playing his own brand of basketball and not to be put in a fish bowl when kobe was around.

      • ranfan says:

        The same fish bowl where he was hitting a lot of mid range jumpers off of Kobe’s dimes?

  42. Carlos says:

    Kobe is out? Good news for the lakers organization. Now Pau and Dwight can play real basketball. The one with teammates around. Now anybody can shoot the ball!

  43. Carlos says:

    Nba players got payed millions of dollars for playing, what 2 – 2 1/2 hrs every game. ok 48 minutes. Got the rest of the day to rest. These people were athletes . I will not complain for that.

  44. Pray4Bryant says:

    Good article. D’Antoni got the most responsibility for the team. Now Kobe is gone~
    D’Antoni~Good Luck with your stubborn coaching and your coach career.

  45. MNH says:

    Bring back Phil

  46. dantoni hater says:

    Mike only uses 7 players for a match, never seen a coach not fully utilise his bench players and not find a way that his players can play efficiently. DO PUT ALL BLAME ON MIKE D’ANTONI. HE HAS RUIN EVERYTHING NOW.
    The purpose of a coach is to handle and manage the player’s condition and playing time, seeing Gregg Popovich fully utilises his bench players and limiting his starters minutes. This is wt a coach does. If he can’t handle his players, find another coach . He is not responsible at all, no wonder why the whole lakers management is still protecting him!

    TBH, i don’t see Mike’s offense was genius, the only offense is playing isolation for Kobe.

    • 16going417 says:

      I agree with you 100%. Kobe will ALWAYS want to play 48 minutes of every game. It is the COACHES responsibility to manage a player’s minuets. With Kobe playing that many minuets, in that many games, with the NBA being a very physical league, it was just a matter of time before he got injured.

      This is D’Antoni’s fault. And if you doubt it go back and look at NBA stat sheets in general. You will see this code on the roster DNP, which stands for Did Not Play and after it you will see “Coaches Decision.” That is because the COACH determines who plays and who does not and how many minutes each player plays, not the players.

      • 16going417 says:

        On another note, although I feel bad for Kobe and I do not wish injury on any player, I choose to look at this as a blessing in disguise. Kobe has been trying to do too much too often lately. With Kobe on the floor the Lakers took too many outside shoots and did not go inside to the low post enough. Also, instead of playing team basketball they went to the Kobe isolation too often. This is a team sport that requires team play in order to win.

        With Kobe out, the Lakers are going inside much more, moving the ball and playing better defense. Against San Antonio the Lakers have proven they can play and win without Kobe in the rotation. I do not believe the Lakers are a championship contender, but they can compete with any team currently in the playoffs. If they get in at no. 8 they could pull off a few wins and make these playoffs very interesting.

  47. V R says:

    Fantastic article – from a die hard laker fan

  48. Joker King says:

    Hey Sekou,

    You’re a big time Kobe hater. Why do you keep writing about him and Lakers. I don’t want to hear about your rant regarding Kobe any more. I can’t put up with your nonsense.

  49. steppx says:

    I actually do blame D Antoni. A good coach would have limited kobe since he was playing hurt already. If he hadnt been banged up i might not think that…….but it was clearly something looming, given just how many serious injuries we’ve seen in this year, and which we will continue to see until they shorten the season 20%. But secondly, i dont think Kobe will be back. this is a career ending injury for a guy in his 17th season. He wont be back until the end of next season……a year from now……..he’s not 20….you dont bounce back….its a serious injury and a lot of guys have failed to return, players just as driven as Kobe in their way. Kobe is not some special god in that respect. He is a great player, who has had a great elite 17 years……..but no, he wont be back.

    • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

      Thank you for saying what were all realy thinking … Kobe is HUMAN, he had an amazing career..but its over 4 him

  50. Nen says:

    I really don’t like the idea of playing kobe 40mins+ but what the heck there’s no choice for d antoni the lakers are in the breach of not making into the playoffs,feel bad for my idol kobe,i really admire his guts of playing tru pain go back on the basketball court and prove them who’s next to MJ..

  51. DocnSG says:

    Mike D’Antoni should pick Pau to lead the team in the absence of Kobe. He knows better than anyone on the floor since he had 2 rings from the franchise. Dwight should support Pau to lead the lakers to the playoff. To win their 2 remaining games is their most priority at this time. Good luck Lakers!

    • NHbleedsGREEN says:

      Pau “the ostrich” Gasol cant run this team he is a beat down under-motivated has-been.
      Just like all the other lakers haha MWP,nash,dwama,Kobrick.

      • Scottie says:

        Your attitude and biasness need to burn in HELL

      • dan'o says:

        Just pity him. NH posts nothing but cranky, shallow insults based on empty rhetoric and/or conspiratorial nonsense. He’s either an angst-ridden 12-year-old or a very sad, lonely and envious adult.

      • Laurie says:

        Why do you waste your time? Stop it! Do something you like, something worthwhile, but stall on the Bitter Boston routine!

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:


  52. W/E says:

    D’antoni should change job, he cant coach and even worse the players just ignore him they have no respect for him, thats why Kobe was doing his thing, playing 48 minutes per game and injured himself.

  53. Mike Patton says:

    Good article. And from a perspective that I didn’t think about and many may not see.

  54. Mike Patton says:

    Good article. Didn’t think about it from the D’Antoni perspective.

    • NHbleedsGREEN says:

      The biggest ballhog in NBA history gets hurt and its STILL the coaches fault.
      What a joke. Write about something OTHER than Kobrick and the Fakers
      maybe like an article on okc,miami,s.antonio,ny, contending teams!!
      To all the lame Fakers fans….I quote Nelson Muntz….”HAW HAW”

      • Chris says:

        for every win in the Miami streak there were like 4 articles. Kobe is one of the greatest ball players, and he’s gone down, it’s another story and every one of these writers wants to capitalize on it like they did with the heat. It’s unfortunate that that’s how our media works. We know what happened to Kobe unfortunately every HT writer wants a piece of the action. I don’t blame the team, I blame the writers. “Fakers” and etc? You lakers haters are just as irrational and immature as die hard laker fans, get over yourselves.

      • lakerslakerslakers says:

        no true fan would laugh at any player getting injured, minor or not. these are the guys we pay to see win/lose. even if you hate a player or team, what possible satisfaction could you get from seeing them injured and knowing it influenced the outcome as opposed to the dedication and talent?

      • LOL! of course it’s his coaches fault, he might be a ballhog but he has a warrior’s heart, none of your “GREEN TEAMS” have that…and none of your green teams have a coach that doesnt think about the health of his players like this lol

      • ranfan says:

        Lol, you’re the worst troll I’ve ever seen here. Gotta do better than that man

      • People be hating on kobe bryant for nothing, he is one of the greatest players to ever step on a basketball court if not the best player, and the man still dont get the proper respect he deserve.All I have to say is Kobe keep doing your thing no matter what people criticize you on.You started from the bottom now you hear

      • LBJKIN6JAMES says:

        The reason why everyone is so sad, because everybody knows this is possibly the last we will see of kobe bryant.. Hes Human & father time has caught up to his ego… if he would have just put his ego aside, like other older players (Vince carter/kg/jkidd …etc etc) these guys know they cant do the same things they did when they were younger, Kobe’s ego was so big that he thought he was invincible, not the coach’s fault,.kobe only has himself to blame (remember baron davis lol, he forgot how old he was too, and look how he ended up)