NBA

Meet Smush Parker: The Basketball Player Who Kobe Bryant Did Not Like

Kobe Bryant played with many people throughout his career. Some players he enjoyed playing with and others he did not. One player who he was not too fond of was Smush Parker.

Parker played two seasons with the Lakers from 2005 to 2007, and he was the starting point guard. He had glimpses where he displayed his talent, but Bryant did not enjoy playing with him.

 A look at Smush Parker’s career

Parker spent five seasons in the NBA. The Cleveland Cavaliers signed him for the 2002-03 season. Parker played in 66 games and averaged 6.2 points and 2.5 assists. He played overseas after playing one season with the Cavaliers. In 2003, he signed with Aris Thessaloniki of the Greek League. Parker had success playing with the team, and he helped lead the team to the 2004 Greek Basketball Cup. After spending one season overseas, Parker returned to the NBA and played for the Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns.

Parker only played 11 games for the Pistons and was sent to the Suns after. He split time playing in the G League when he joined the Suns. In the summer of 2005, Parker signed a contract with the Lakers. Parker was not known throughout the league until he joined the Lakers. In his first season with the Lakers, he became the team’s starting point guard. He started in all 82 games and averaged 11.5 points, 3.7 assists, and 3.3 rebounds, all career highs for the point guard.

The next season, Parker remained a starter for the Lakers and averaged double digits in scoring again with 11.1 points per game. Lakers head coach Phil Jackson was impressed with Parker when he first joined the team. But toward the end of his time in L.A., he did not get along with the players or coaches. After the 2006-07 season, Parker was no longer a member of the Lakers organization.

Smush Parker and Kobe Bryant beef

In 2012 Bryant gave his thoughts on Parker when they played together. Bryant told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times that Parker did not belong in the league. “He shouldn’t have been in the NBA, but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard,” Bryant said. “We let him walk on.” Bryant was the type of person who had no issues expressing his feelings about someone or something.

Parker made an appearance on ESPN’s Highly Questionable six years ago and talked about a conversation he had with Bryant. ‘I tried to talk to him outside of basketball about football, and he looked at me in practice and was dead serious and said, ‘You can’t talk to me. You need more accolades under your belt before you come talk to me.’ Just from that conversation alone, Bryant let Parker know he wasn’t trying to hear anything he had to say.

Smush Parker’s short NBA career

Parker did not last in the NBA for long. After he spent two seasons with the Lakers, he signed with the Miami Heat in 2007. He only played in nine games with the Heat and averaged 4.8 points per game. That same season, Parker went back to L.A. and played for the Clippers. In 19 games, he averaged 6.4 points and 3.6 assists.

The 2007-08 season was the last time that Parker played in the league. After that season, he played for multiple overseas teams during his career. The last time he played for a team was in 2017 when he signed with the Albany Patroons of the North American Premier Basketball. Parker had a short stint in the NBA, and he had his best seasons playing with the Lakers even though Bryant was not a fan of his.