Smush Parker may be the bravest person to ever wear a Lakers uniform, and that’s saying something considering a future Laker once tried to fight an entire stadium crowd at The Palace in Auburn Hills.
But picking a fight with a few thousands average schlubs pales in comparison to taking on a basketball deity.
Smush Parker played two of his five seasons in the NBA as the point guard of a bad Lakers team that Kobe Bryant viewed as a skid mark on his legacy.
After the Lakers let Smush walk in 2007, he did an interview two years later ripping Kobe’s failure to motivate the team and went as far to call the five-time NBA champion “overrated.”
“The reason why I say overrated is because everybody thinks that playing with Kobe Bryant is the best thing since sliced bread, when it’s not,” Parker added.
Smush also claimed that Kobe instructed him not to talk to him in practice.
Kobe waited until 2012, when Parker was out of the NBA and playing in the Dominican Republic, to deliver a knockout punch.
“I tell Steve [Nash], you won MVP, but I was playing with Smush Parker,” Bryant told reporters. “He’s playing with [Leandro] Barbosa. I’m playing with Smush and Kwame [Brown]. My goodness. … Smush Parker was the worst. He shouldn’t have been in the NBA, but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. We let him walk on.”
And then there was this:
The two went back-and-forth for a bit before things tampered down, but the former teammates never made an effort to reconcile before Bryant’s death.
The 38-year-old Parker spoke to TMZ about having regrets about never burying the hatchet with his nemesis.
“I was hoping for an opportunity to really sit down or our paths to cross so we could physically and verbally have a dialogue.
There was a lot of underhanded shots that were fired from both directions. It’s unfortunate that I’m not gonna be able to get that opportunity now.
“If I could verbally speak to him, I would verbally apologize to him,” Parker said. “To be able to look a man in his eyes and take into account his own faults for an issue, is the greatest thing a man could do for another man, to look a man in his face and say, ‘You know what? I was wrong and I’m sorry.’”
Pretty powerful words from Smush about the importance of self-reflection and reconciliation. To be honest, I’m kind of surprised since his initial Twitter tribute took a turn halfway through.
File this one life lesson: Let Go Of The Petty Shit.