Brandon Jennings took some heat on Twitter for saying that Kobe Bryant didn’t belong on the Drew League team.
Brandon made a point to note that Kobe playing in the Drew League itself was not the issue; rather, he was saying that Kobe should refrain from jumping into the head-to-head LA/DC fray, because Kobe was born outside of LA.
Jennings has a relevant point. They already played one game. It was a close contest whose outcome hinged on the final shot. And so after losing a game on the East Coast, the Drew League wants a rematch out on its home court: same teams, same rules, different venue. Fair enough. From the viewpoint of a competitive athlete, it makes perfect sense. They simply want another shot at the “title”, no matter how meaningless that term is when it comes to exhibition basketball. Adding Kobe to the roster at this point would change the dynamic of the roster and cloud the rematch angle to the story.
The problem is, of course, Brandon called out Kobe two weeks ago — so now anything he says about Kobe holds an air of negativity. As an intern for Under Armour, Jennings donned a UA shirt that took a swipe at Kobe and, worse, he posted it to Twitter. Nike sponsors Bryant, and its basketball market share dwarfs upstart Under Armour’s. So even if it was just a prank for cheap and easy PR, the image still sticks. That memory is unfortunate because Brandon idolized Kobe as a kid. In a feature piece on ESPN LA last week, he said,
“I was a big Allen Iverson fan and a big Kobe Bryant fan. Kobe Bryant used to have the afro back in the day, so I used to have all his sneakers and AI’s shoes. “
Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.
One of the folks who chimed in on Twitter to respond to Jennings was Kevin Durant, who got in an easy zing to take Brandon back on the defensive.
And there you have it. Josh Selby “cooks u on the regular”. At that point, Brandon had already lost this verbal sparring session, but he went on to pointlessly cite point totals from summer exhibitions. (It was a defensive move — quite possibly the only one he’s learned this summer.)
Even in defeat, Jennings — and basketball viewers at-large — stand to win if the rematch happens. Washington Post reporter Michael Lee spoke to Goodman League commissioner Miles Rawls last night prior to the showdown between the Goodman and Melo leagues. Rawls said that he’s still working on both arranging the rematch and getting Kobe involved in the event, which is tentatively scheduled for September 25.
And even though the Goodman League lost last night, Durant didn’t provide any fodder for Brandon’s trash talk. Nobody cooked KD on the regular. In fact, it was Kevin who scored 59 points, most of which came above, around, and in front of LeBron James.
The video shows an off-the-dribble aspect of KD’s game that he hasn’t used much yet. Take a good look at highlight #5 from the clip. The fake stepback move he used is utterly dirty and — this is the best part — it’s one of those moves from a summer exhibition that could realistically make the transition into an NBA game.