LA Daily News, Daily Breeze – May 31, 2007 – Jill Painter – Whatever the result of the circus that is Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, it is clear a lot of healing is necessary before there can be harmony again.
During the past few days, Bryant publicly has aired his desire for Jerry West to return to an organization that he deemed a “mess.” He also said he thought team owner Dr. Jerry Buss lied to him.
The Rustic Lite
Bryant demanded a trade Wednesday, then several hours and a Phil Jackson conversation later, rescinded that demand.
These are problems that can’t be solved overnight.
“I think (Kobe) was frustrated and expressed himself maybe more than he wanted to,” said Dr. John Murray, a sports psychologist in Palm Beach, Fla. “He’s got some repair work to do. If he wants to stay, he’ll have to do some kind of public commentary being apologetic for overreacting.
“I don’t know what Phil said to him, but it’s a sign of the times where we don’t focus as much maybe on the teams as much as we used to. People think they can be traded very quickly. It’s somewhat of a statement of ego that someone could demand to be traded when they’re being taken care of so well by a team. But it also speaks to his competitiveness, his fire and his desire.”
Should fans deem it necessary for an explanation from the Lakers front office as well? Did owner Jerry Buss really tell Jackson this would be a rebuilding process, all the while telling Bryant he would do things necessary to win now?
Buss, general manager Mitch Kupchak, Bryant and Jackson likely will have some serious meetings in the near future, the kind where they might lock themselves in a room until there’s a general understanding.
Murray believes much progress can be made in closed-door meetings.
“They have to say, `We have to do whatever we have to do to get the family together,”‘ Murray said. “Then tell everybody. Work out the problem, then tell people (outside) what the issue is. There has to be a message of unity. This accusatory tone on either part is a recipe for L.A. disaster.”
Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.
Kobe has used his Web site, the print media and air waves to state his grievances, which haven’t been complimentary of his employers or â€? however unintended â€? his teammates. One apology might not do the trick.
“Kobe is Kobe,” Murray said. “He’s great. But what does this do to team unity and the respect for his teammates? Whatever he decides to do, he needs to make a decision and stick with it. He’s got some PR work to do.”