Kobe Bryant has been in the NBA for 16 years. He has won five NBA championships and once scored 81 points in a single game, so you could say he has earned the right to talk trash to just about any player he pleases on the court. However, Kobe says it takes a certain type of player to return the smack talk.
What type of player is that? An older one like Paul Pierce, for example.
“If there’s one Celtic that tries to talk smack to me, it will be Paul,” Kobe told Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston.com. “We’re similar in age, have been through some of the same things, so he feels like he can try. But he’s not as good at it as I am. I don’t talk trash often, but when I do, I go for the jugular.”
On the flip side, Kobe said the younger generation of NBA players is almost too friendly. Many of them played AAU together, and Bryant said the league’s younger stars aren’t interested in talking trash the way players like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird were.
“They don’t seem to want to talk any trash,” Kobe said. “I say everything to LeBron. He says nothing back. He just laughs. There’s no banter back and forth. I guess it’s a generational thing. When I first came into the league, the trash talk was downright cutthroat.”
I know for a fact I have seen LeBron James go back and forth with some opponents while watching the Heat in the playoffs. Maybe he respects Kobe too much and knows talking trash isn’t going to throw him off his game. Or maybe Kobe is right — the NBA is more soft now than it was 15 years ago.
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