SAS uses Kobe to criticize Kawhi, Kyrie
It’s no secret Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving formed a close bond with Kobe Bryant after mentoring them when they got to the NBA. But when SAS decided to lambast Kyrie and Kawhi and used Kobe to drive his point, it backfired, as reported in Complex.
“Players missing games for reasons that have nothing to do with injury,” Stephen A. says in the clip, as footage of Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving appear on screen, “That was not Kobe Bryant.”
"Players collecting paychecks without regard to regular season participation, that was not Kobe Bryant. Players prioritizing any and everything but championships, that was not Kobe Bryant.”
Now, netizens are all up in arms with Smith’s recent feature. Many claimed he did not have to criticize current players at the expense of Bryant.
The intention and timing are problematic here. SAS rode the wave of Kobe’s 2nd death anniversary, made it look like it’s a tribute, but in reality, it’s just him dissing current players.
Here’s where Smith got it wrong
Let’s give the benefit of the doubt to SAS and say the basketball analyst, TV host, and presenter just wanted to pay tribute to Kobe on the 2nd anniversary of his passing. However, here’s where it went wrong on three things:
- Using the name of a dead person to advance his agenda.
- Turning players against each other.
- Praising one player at the expense of others.
Kobe had a special relationship with Kyrie and Kawhi, and, sadly, the memories of it have been tarnished by Stephen just because Irving and Leonard did what is perceived to be not in the way Kobe would appreciate.
All the other players Bryant mentored, such as Kawhi, Kyrie, Trae Young, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, are all men of their own. They decide what’s best for their family and careers. Leonard missed games due to injuries, while Kyrie missed games due to vaccination stance. How are they not Kobe-like? Is prioritizing mental health or recuperating from injuries, not the critical factors at play here? Yes, Bryant played through the pain. Yes, Kobe rose above adversities. But current players should not be blamed for choosing to do what the Lakers legend wouldn’t have done.
Instead, Stephen A. Smith should have made a Kobe Bryant tribute and the way he impacted the next generation while creating a separate video criticizing Kyrie, Kawhi, or Ben Simmons without using Byrant’s name.