COMMENTARY | Living legend Kobe Bryant is allowed to take as many shots as he wants to at former Los Angeles Lakers' guard Smush Parker for a lot of reasons. The most logical is that Kobe Bryant is Kobe Bryant and Parker is two notches below being Mr. Irrelevant.
Southern California's Orange County Register gives us a great quote from the five-time NBA champion regarding playing with Parker during the 2005-2006 NBA season. "The worst," Bryant said only half kidding. "He shouldn't have been in the NBA but we were too cheap to pay for a point guard. So we let him walk on."
What makes Kobe Bryant's comments even more justifiable is the old adage we've all clung to since grade school -- he started it.
'He' being Parker, the rent-a-guard NBA journeyman that was a part of some of the worst Lakers' teams in the Bryant era (those that would still be good by a lot of people's standards). The fact that he started 162 games for the Lakers over the course of two seasons shows the lack of importance placed on the point guard position in the triangle offense.
Derek Fisher had a lower efficiency rating (10.2) than Parker (12.0 PER) during his second stint in Los Angeles. But in the prime of his career, Parker was easily among the worst starters in the NBA while Fisher was a veteran during that stretch. The two further separate themselves when considering that Fisher was the Lakers' inspirational leader, hit clutch shots when they needed him most and was an integral part of two championship runs in 2009 and 2010.
It's comical that Parker would feel compelled to lash out against the greatest player in a generation and the best player in franchise history. There was no reason to do so other than animosity. It was Parker who infamously overslept and missed a team plane, and that was before he chose to target Bryant in an interview, where he called the experience of playing with Bryant "overrated."
It's all laughable, and it's impossible for Kobe to be wrong in this debate.
As Bryant ages and goes into the farewell tour phase of his career, he is becoming more candid in interviews, and it's making for some terrific discussion fodder. Expect more of the same whenever anyone dares to bring up one of the worst starting guards in Lakers' history or Bryant feels like doing so unprompted.
Hearing about how bad Smush Parker was from someone who truly knows is always a good time.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the Los Angeles Lakers as a Southern California-based sports journalist, editor, and blogger. You can read him on SB Nation and Examiner.com. He is also the Editor and Founder of Sports Out West.
You can follow Michael on Twitter @MikeJonesTweets