In 2001, Michael Jordan and the Washington Wizards decided it was a wise move to make Kwame Brown the first pick overall out of High School in Georgia during that summer’s NBA Draft.
As the story goes, Kwame told Doug Collins and the Wizards brain-trust during a pre-draft work-out, “If you draft me, you won’t regret it.” The Wizards believed him, drafted him, and have definitely regretted it ever since.
Despite that though, Kwame has gone on to play in 576 NBA games since that day he first met David Stern on stage ten years ago, and that number includes the 66 he played this past season for the Bobcats. Persistent guy that MJ, eh?
Anyway, the career 6.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game averaging Kwame Brown may have just had his NBA career ended by Kobe Bryant recently, another person he spent a few seasons with along the way. Kobe decided to describe to Michael Lee of the Washington Post just how bad it was for him a handful of years back in LA, and he used Kwame Brown as his primary example.
In that look back at the Pre-Pau years with the Lakers, Kobe told this story below about Kwame being too frightened to catch the ball under the basket and try to score when left completely wide open. Kwame Brown fans, cover your ears, it’s about to get ugly for your boy.
From the Washington Post:
“I got to say, it was tough doing it that year. I was playing with guys, God bless them — God bless them — but Kwame Brown. Smush Parker. We had one game right before…by the way, what I say here, I say directly to them, see what I’m saying, I don’t talk behind people’s back. Things that I say to you, I’m comfortable saying this to them and I’ve said this to them…
But like, the game before we traded for Pau, were playing Detroit and I had like 40 points towards the end of the game.This is back when Detroit had Rasheed [Wallace], Chauncey [Billups] and those guys, so we had no business being in the game. So down the stretch of the game, they put in a box and one. So I’m surrounded by these players, Detroit players, and Kwame is under the basket, all by himself. Literally, like all by himself. So I pass him the ball, he bobbled it and it goes out of bounds.
“So we go back to the timeout and I’m [upset], right? He goes, ‘I was wide open.’ ‘Yeah, I know.’ This is how I’m talking to him, like, during the game. I said, ‘You’re going to be open again, Kwame, because Rasheed is just totally ignoring you.’ He said, ‘Well, if I’m open don’t throw it to me.’ I was like, ‘Huh?’ He said, ‘Don’t throw it to me.’ I said, ‘Why not?’ He said, well, ‘I’m nervous. If I catch it and he foul me, I won’t make the free throws.’ I said, ‘Hell no!’
“I go to Phil [Jackson], I say, ‘Hey Phil, take him out of the game.’ He’s like, ‘Nah, let him figure it out.’ So, we lose the game, I go the locker room, I’m steaming. Steaming. I’m furious. Then, finally I get a call, they said, ‘You know what, we got something that’s happening with Pau.’ I was like, ‘Alright. Cool.’…That’s what I had to deal with the whole year.”
First of all Smush, calm down dude. He let you off way easy, just be cool, everybody’s focused on Kwame with this story anyway. Speaking of whom, bro, seriously, what were you so afraid of? You averaged 7 points a game for a 10-year NBA career, that’s not really that awful. Sure it might be for the first overall pick, but who cares man, get a hold of yourself. You can’t let stories like this happen.
And Kobe, totally unprovoked, just smashing Kwame Brown, wow. I’m literally not sure where Kwame goes from here. I’m not sure if he issues a statement saying Bryant’s lying, or he just retires and sits back on the mountain of cash that he has. Because chuckle all you want peoples, dude does still have a mountain of cash; at least I think he does. Unfortunately though, that cash can’t buy street cred, and Kobe just stripped dude of all he ever might have had in the first place. Don’t expect a Christmas Card from Kwame, Mr. Bryant. You really hurt his feelings.
Photo: LA Times