D'Angelo Russell sure has a way with words sometimes.
Although the memories of his monumental muck up with Nick Young last season are beginning to fade, Russell may now have angered a core group of fans that he really doesn't want to alienate: Kobe Bryant fans.
Speaking to ESPN the Magazine’s Alipour, the point guard - who in many ways is meant to fill the Black Mamba's shoes - implied that Kobe's retirement actually helps the Lakers as a unit.
“We’re all about playing together now,” Russell said. “It’s not about one guy anymore. It’s about sacrificing for the team.”
“Kobe deserved every bit of attention he got in his last year, but there’s freedom in Kobe not being around.”
Russell averaged greater than an assist and four points per game more when Kobe was not on the floor last term, so it is hard to argue with his assertion on a personal level.
Kobe is one of the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood; that fact will scantly be contested. But, last season, in particular, his retirement tour seemed to take precedence over the blossoming crop of youngsters the Purple and Gold possessed.
Russell said Kobe deserved his farewell run, and we're sure there is a ton of respect there, but still, his choice of words make it seem like Bryant was holding the franchise back.