Kobe Bryant was a guest on the "Loose Cannons" show on XTRA Sports 690/1150 AM and said it was "just intuition" that led him to believe that Karl Malone would retire. Malone, 41, had knee surgery in June and has not decided whether he will return for a 20th NBA season.
"I don't think he's coming back," said Bryant, who was then asked whether he had planned on Malone's return from a strategic perspective.
"Yeah, naw," Bryant said. "Plus it's not really fair to hold it over the guys' heads that are here. Like, the guys that we have here are working hard, practicing hard every day. It's kind of tough for them to be looking over their shoulder, wondering if he's going to come back and then everybody is going to disappear.
Karl Malone is said to be so upset with the comments made by Kobe Bryant that he has ruled out rejoining the Lakers at any point this season.
"Karl is furious," agent Dwight Manley said. "He felt very disrespected and betrayed after personally being the first to stand up for Kobe over the last year throughout his rape charge and all he went through."
Malone however has not ruled out returning to the NBA this season. Malone says that he has recovered from knee surgery and that he is 100% healthy.
Wasn't Malone really playing up the "mentor" role that he had with Kobe last season? It sounded like the both of them were getting along swimmingly amidst all the other controversies going on ... I'm suprised (well, maybe not) that Kobe would turn around and criticize him like that after all Malone did for him.
"Who needs this?" Manley told host Fred Roggin. "I gave last year by (Malone) coming here. He gave last year by him coming here (signing with the Lakers as a free agent for $1.5 million). Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.
"Who was the biggest beneficiary of that sacrifice?" Manley continued, referring to Bryant. "What one person got $100-some million to be on this team, to be the darling of everybody? "Whose arm was put around that person when he was at his low point? It was Karl. He did all that stuff. And I take it personally when somebody that I saw sacrifice so much gets kicked in the pants like that. It's inappropriate."
The Kobe Bryant-Karl Malone feud has turned personal, with Bryant accusing Malone of making a pass at his wife at a game.
Rob Pelinka, the agent for Bryant, told ESPN.com Sunday night that Malone made "several inappropriate comments" to Bryant's wife, Vanessa, on Nov. 23 at a Los Angeles Lakers home game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
"Kobe and Karl had a true friendship, much more than teammates," said Pelinka. "Their wives are quite friendly as well. Kobe has told me that he feels very hurt and betrayed by what has happened."
Bryant said to reporters before Sunday night's game against Orlando, "The comments that [Malone] said, I don't know any man in this room that wouldn't be upset about that. The past month, myself, my wife, [Malone's wife] Kaye, we've had fun together. We've been out to their house, just joking around, giving each other a hard time, just clowning, being sarcastic with one another, baby-sitting kids and all that."
Asked if there could have been a misunderstanding, Bryant said, "What he said is what he said. I believe in my heart that it wasn't a misunderstanding. My wife wasn't going to stand for it. She felt uncomfortable being around him to the point that she felt she had to call his wife and tell her."
Bryant said Malone didn't deny making the comments and told him during their phone conversation, "Aw, you know, I'm sorry if I said anything that was out of line."
Bryant added, "He was like a mentor, like a brother to me, so when something like that happens, you're upset, you're hurt."
Kobe Bryant championing marital fidelity? I Love This Game. IF Malone doesn't sign with Miami in the next week, could Kobe please make a comment involving Charles Oakley so he has a reason to sign with Miami before X-Mas.
Does Kobe think dragging other guys name in the mud will make him look positive now?... Selling the Lakers to free agents wth Kobe as the lead man is going to as easy as selling a house with a bad case of rodents.
smark/net attack wienerville advisory holds at ORANGE alert - High (JBL is STILL WWE champion and now smarks arch enemy HHH is the World Champion. Major red threat, but the undercard seems okay. The alert holds... for now)- 9/19
He didn't have much opportunity to pass (though a pass backwards to the guy who made the steal and threw him the ball in the first place would have been nice), but what was basically a pass to himself like he was at a slam-dunk contest was pretty dumb....