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Kobe Bryant, in Brazil for World Cup, laughs off Jürgen Klinsmann’s comment on his contract

Jun 16, 2014, 9:01 PM EDT

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United State’s Men’s National Soccer Coach Jurgen Klinsmann had a lot of questions to answer after he left Landon Donovan off the the World Cup team (at least he did before the win over Ghana). To explain it he took a shot at Kobe Bryant’s new contract with the Lakers:

“This always happens in America. Kobe Bryant, for example — why does he get a two-year contract extension for $50 million? Because of what he is going to do in the next two years for the Lakers? Of course not. Of course not. He gets it because of what he has done before. It makes no sense. Why do you pay for what has already happened?”

Kobe, a huge soccer fan, is down in Brazil for the World Cup and to cheer on Team USA. He sat down with ESPN while there and was asked about Klinsmann’s comments (hat tip Mark Medina at the Daily News):

“I thought it was pretty funny. I thought it was pretty comical actually. I see his perspective. But the one perspective that he’s missing from an ownership point of view is that you want to be part of an ownership group that is rewarding its players for what they’ve done while balancing the team going forward. If you’re another player in the future and you’re looking at the Lakers organization, you want to be a part of an organization that takes care of its players while at the same time planning for the future. Jurgen is a coach, a manager. He’s not a GM or owner of the franchise. When you look at it from that perspective, it changes a little bit. But you probably could have used another player as an example.”

Kobe is right, he and Klinsmann do come at this from different perspectives. More than that, they are participating in very different systems — you can make the long play in running an NBA team in a way you cannot in picking a World Cup team.

Klinsmann is putting together and coaching a team for a once every four-year event, he needs his best players right now, and in choosing them he should be merciless. He needs his best team ready and peaking at World Cup, in that kind of setting you do not just bring a guy along as a reward for past performance.

For Kobe and the Lakers, it is about building an organiation that can complete over time and if you reward a player like Kobe free agents (and their agents) notice and think “if my guy is there and performs they will reward him, too.” You can make the long play. Not to mention it’s a business, and while the Lakers try to rebuild the roster Kobe will be what is sold to fans — and he will fill the luxury boxes and expensive courtside seats, the sponsors will still flock to the team.

That said, I still think the Lakers overpaid Kobe. It will lessen their flexibility to make roster moves the next couple years.

  1. antistratfordian - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Kobe knows Klinnsman is right on some level. But that was quite a game today, huh? USA! USA!

    • zerole00 - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:33 PM

      Well it depends, from a competitive standpoint Klinnsman is right. From a financial standpoint, he’s so far off it’s ridiculous. Kobe’s contract wasn’t about competition or contention, it was about making money for the Lakers. As large as Kobe’s contract is where he is in his career, he still brings in several told that to the Lakers’. Name recognition and popularity wise, he’s still top 3 alongside Durant and LBJ.

      I don’t even like Kobe, these are just some pretty obvious observations.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:39 PM

        As if Kobe was going to go somewhere else if they offered him a lower figure.

        No, it really didn’t make much sense at all – and the timing of it couldn’t have been worse.

      • moneyz2 - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:13 PM

        video of Bryant taking place in a street soccer game in Brazil. Bryant looks good running around the court and seems to show no ill-effects of the injuries he has dealt with over the past year.

      • therealhtj - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:15 PM

        Everyone loves to talk about “all the money” Kobe brings in just by being on the team, but I’ve yet to see any facts substantiate that.

        The bottom line is this: The Time Warner Deal is signed and sealed. There’s a waiting list for season tickets a mile long and if one guy gives up his seats, there are 3 who’d snap them up in a heartbeat.

        So what’s left? Merchandise and Concessions – all a drop in the bucket compared to Tickets and TV Deals. With or without Kobe, that money’s still coming in. This theory about Kobe bringing in all this extra money is a pretty weak argument for his last 2 contracts.

      • moneyz2 - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:18 PM

  2. therealhtj - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:22 PM

    I’ve yet to see a max free agent choose a location because he expects to get overpaid on the downside of his career. Maybe if all other things are equal, something like that could maybe make a sliver of difference. Most of those guys take a stiff paycut at similar stages of their careers. It should’ve never come down to this sorta debate – Kobe, if he was as serious about winning as his spiel, he would’ve taken the Duncan deal.

    That contract was a bad move by everyone involved – except for Kobe’s agent.

  3. lakerade - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:27 PM


  4. jmblosser82 - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    Kobe is washed up, being off the court for as long as he has been may charge his battery a bit tho.

  5. footballer4ever - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    I am a football fan, US National Team fan. I like nba basketball too. Having said that, no matter the point JK was trying to make there was no need to use anybody in particular to prove his point. What the Lakers do or conventional American sport franchises do is not his prerogative, but he should make sure to get the US National football team past the first round and beyond. That is what he is getting paid to do based on his previous footballing experience as a footballer. Thanks Kobe for taking that in a better way than what it actually sounded like. i hope JK’s wife grounded Klinnsman just like the son may have been grounded after tweeting about LD.

    • tomasekradek - Jun 17, 2014 at 3:26 AM

      “make sure to get US National football team past the first round and beyond”

      You definitely have no clue where US football (or soccer if you like) stands in the world hierarchy . You should enjoy that Ghana miracle as you have only two more matches to watch…. and neither one ends up well for US.

      • tomasekradek - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:37 PM

        Wow, I expected a few thumbs down, but this little bit surprised me. Maybe it’s my fault as I should have expected that not many here know much about soccer. As usual, most of you expect the national team to win and it doesn’t matter if it is table tenis, soccer or baseball. One can either admire that self-confidence or hate lack of humility. Can’T choose, but I have news for you, this is not basketball. There are sport where US aren’t a top dogs and soccer is definitely one of them (maybe not for long because US players getting better every championate but for now, there are 20-25 better teams in the world cup out of 32).
        By the way the 13. position in FIFA ranking is misleading, you can imagine the europen competition as w-konference, south america as e-konference and north america&carib as a backyard playground for your children.

      • davidtmp - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:47 PM

        I know enough that anything can happen in the World Cup…..some things you can predict: England choking and the USA being overhyped. Just a hint, as long as FIFA is involved, the USA doesn’t stand a chance. They will be screwed out of a game like they always are. There is also much competition in USA in way of football, baseball, hockey, basketball, etc that a lot of players on these other countries teams don’t have access to. They have soccer and play with a lot of pride. I can respect that. As far as a miracle, the USA had a chance to score on an earlier corner, but the USA player didn’t charge to the far post like he should have, the ball came right where he should have been for a scoring chance. Ghana had their chances, but didn’t capitalize on them. All this with the USA down 2 players due to leg injuries, another one played thru another leg injury as long as he could, and one player playing thru a broken nose as he really had no choice due to the other injuries.

      • footballer4ever - Jun 26, 2014 at 3:35 PM


        Who’s the one who is clueless now? Next time speak in the form of expressing an opinion and not like a knowledgeable brat so you don’t end up looking a complete fool. USA survived and advance the Group of Death.

  6. adoombray - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    He’s laughing all the way to the bank. If someone gave me that much money I’d laugh at criticism too. It will pay for his great grandkids college, who cares what the German dude who betrayed his own country for American money has to say

  7. kb2408 - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    He deserves every penny of that contract. Kobe makes the Buss family way more than they will ever pay him. They don’t get that billion dollar deal without a superstar like Kobe on the roster. This is why the LAKERS are a top notch organization. We never hear former LAKERS speak poorly about the franchise. And don’t bring up Magic, he’s speaking out of frustration. Kobe will be the next LAKER great with a statue outside the Staples.

  8. cluelessdufus - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    Bryant is more than just a player, he is a brand. LA loves him so much that the Lakers couldn’t let him walk. The way I see it is he is the Justin Bieber of basketball.

    • kb2408 - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:47 PM

      “He is the Justin Bieber of basketball.”? You sir win the prize for the silliest comment of the day. Don’t be so disrespectful.

      • billtetley53 - Jun 17, 2014 at 8:20 AM

        Yeah, how disrespectful! Bieber never forced himself on a concierge in a Colorado hotel room. Find another comparsion please!

  9. lhollis74 - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    I guess magic Johnson’s lifetime contract (25years) back in 1981 was a franchise killer also?!

  10. lhollis74 - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    I didn’t realize that everyone was taking less money at their place of employment in order for their company to hire additional employees!? This is what annoys me most about “fans”, never recognizing that this is a business first and foremost, secondly employment and thirdly entertainment for millions and a game lastly. Brainless fools always expect those they see on tv to devalue cold hard cash in order to fit into the “fans” agenda.
    Btw, go to your boss tomorrow and demand a $3 paycut to your salary in order to help build the business.

    • tomasekradek - Jun 17, 2014 at 3:43 AM

      Everyone knows basketball is business, the only thing most of the people pointing at is that the Lakers doing it wrong with Kobe contract. You can talk all the bs about how he makes them more money then they pay him and i can’t disagree, but still, why overpay?
      You really think Kobe could bolt LA for a few bucks (in case some idiot offers him that much outside LÁ)? Or had he retired if not offered 50mil? Well, on the other side, I’m pretty sure he would accept 10-15mil a year for those two seasons to finish his great carrer in LA if he is offered that much and not a dollar more.

    • Gabbo - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      Uh, you mean like Manu/Duncan/Parker did, so they could keep Splitter and get Diaw?

  11. lhollis74 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    Question, why do ceo’s and the like get huge year end bonuses? Could it be not for what they will do the coming year, but that they outperformed what their current salary pays? I, myself have had the fortunate experience of an employer realizing late in the year that my value didn’t match salary and was happily given extra seemingly for no reason to the uninformed observer. I guess the Buss family is full of failed business men and women and they have no idea what to do with their money. Or maybe they know that Bryant has brought them revenue that they have not been able to show appreciation for over the past 16 or so years due to the salary cap and other players on roster. But then again “fans” only can handle “right now” type thought processes.

    • adoombray - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      Man, it’s a good thing the Heat fans have gone into hiding, because I forgot how ridiculous Laker fans can get. I seriously don’t understand why Laker fans feel the need to defend Kobe’s contract so much, your team is going to lose lots of games next year, nobody wants to the head coach or work for Fredo Buss, and “right now” is all that matters. You WANT to lose games so Kobe Bryant, some guy you don’t even know who will never even buy you a beer, can get paid more?

      The Buss family IS full of failed businessman, Doctor Buss is dead and his idiot kid runs the show now. The new reality is that, especially with Donald Sterling being shown the door, the Lakers are being run by a West Coast Jimmy Dolan.

  12. golfrangeman - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    Kobe had every right to take the money and the lakers had every right to give it to him but it certainly isn’t going to help them win a championship, and isn’t that what laker fans want? To say nobody is going to there boss and ask for a pay cut is not the same as Kobe who’s made hundreds of millions of dollars taking a pay cut to better the team. The nba has caps corporate America doesn’t. If they wanted to reward him for past performance offer him a front office job for stupid money when he retires.

  13. ebrownwareagle - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:16 AM


    5 CHAMPIONSHIPS. Look How Long it took Duncan to get it and People STILL AINT SATISFIED! GETCHA MONEY KOBE. While The Delusional Fan Lives in Envy wishing it were them!

  14. redbaronx - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:08 AM

    The Lakers should have offered Kobe less and dared him to walk.

  15. billtetley53 - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:35 AM

    Its astounding the amount of lakers fans that will defend to the teeth anything Kobe. I expect it out of kb.
    I guess. I do out of ebrowneye too(though he disappeared When he saw how bad they stunk this year).

    Quit comparing your jobs to the NBA, its a totally different world.

    If you want to see how it works, look no further than Duncan and the Spurs. He took way below market value and they just won a title. Kobe could have done that, but his ego wont allow it. He took the $ over trying for titles, what’s so hard to understand about that? Yet you all still defend him like he is a family member. How much he makes the lakers is irrelevant. Hes made nearly 1/2 billion dollars already. At this stage he should be worried about competing for titles and bridging to the next generation.

    Ego,ego,ego. Has to be the highest paid, has to have the highest career earnings. You shouldnt be supporting that, you should be angry that hes preventing a competitive team.

  16. billtetley53 - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    By the way, Magics contract came when there was no salary cap, thats a terrible comparison.

  17. unxpexted1 - Jun 17, 2014 at 9:56 AM

    Like I’ve said before on this topic. Duncan didn’t take his deal so they could get unknown players, the original reason to take his deal was so that they could keep manu and parker, players that already exist on the team. This would be different if the Lakers were saying, “Kobe take less so we can keep pau”. But asking a player to take a cut to “see what we can get” is not going to fly more times than not.

    Also, tim duncan was never offered a big deal and turned it down for less. He was offered/told what type of deal he needs to take. SO this is more about the Lakers front office. If they said “we can offer you this deal and still get players and just go into the luxury tax” its not Kobe’s job to say no to that.

    • billtetley53 - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      I hesitate to even reply to you. You are so pig headed regarding this, its probably a waste of time.

      Duncans pay cut allowed them to resign the free agents they wanted while KEEPING THEM UNDER THE LUXURY TAX LINE! It also gave them FLEXIBILITY moving forward to make the moves necessary to stay competitive.

      Tim taking less allowed them to keep Green and Mills, get it?!

      Kobe taking that contract hamstrings them. Hes taking up nearly 40% of the cap space on his own.
      If he wasnt out for himself, he could have said no, I want to win.

      Why are you worried about maybes as free agents? I thought you lakers fans said la sells itself?!

      Its not just about 1 year dummy, its about the franchise moving forward. And if he truly cared about it or you fans, hed facilitate the easiest route back to respectability. Dirk understands that and is doing it in Dallas. Quit blaming management, they know him well enough to to know that anything less than him being highest psid would be an insult to him.

      This is on Kobe and him alone. His salary is the difference between having some decent 2nd tier fas vs. D league scrubs.

      Just spit his sack out and move on. Its obvious you are a fanboy and dont understan the economics of the sport. You just know someone said kobe is wrong and you just have to defend him no matter how dumb you look doing it.

      • unxpexted1 - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:22 PM

        lol why so angry? And obviously you don’t get my point. I’ve always stated it’s a bad deal, but more so on the part of the Lakers organization offering. Again, did Duncan’s deal help the team eventually get these no name players at the time like Green and Mills, sure….but the ORIGINALLY reason he took a pay cut was to KEEP the core intact of him Manu and Parker.He didn’t take a cut in hopes that the spurs would eventually sign other people, they knew exactly who they were trying to keep. It’s a lot different when players have a hard reason in front of them to make a decision then a hypothetical.

        Again telling a player to take a paycut in hopes of signing somebody in the future is highly unrealistic. Could Kobe have denied the deal offered, sure. But most realistic humans beings that get offered that salary and are TOLD by the organization that it will not hamstring them, are going to take that money.

        If he held the team up in contract negotiations because he wanted a bigger deal because the team would only offer say 12 million, then I would be pissed a Kobe. But if the team says they can do it and its gonna work, who are you, as a player to say no?

      • unxpexted1 - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        Wait…did you really just say quit blaming management? HAHAH…..who is in control of the money and the decisions made. Everything ALWAYS goes back to managent. Nobody should ever let management off the hook, when they are the final decision makers.

        Hell management didn’t even have to do contract negotiations, they could have waited till he came back, till they saw he was healthy…they could have handled this situation TEN times better. But yet this isn’t managements fault. SMH. Clueless.

        And you’re right. Dirk probably is going to take less money. But i can guarantee Mark Cuban is not stupid enough to offer him 25 million a year. You know why? Because they have good management.

      • billtetley53 - Jun 17, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        Im not angry. The capitals were to get my point across, which obviously doesnt take with you.

        Google “Duncan takes pay cut”. It will say in any article thst his taking less $, allowed the Spurs to also sign, Green, Mills and Diaw. If he took more, those guys could not have been signed, or theyd be into luxury territory. His taking less $, helped sign good players that helped get a title.

        It also kept them below the threshold. How are you this obtuse not to get any of this? You’re a willfully ignorant fanboy.

        Who knows kobe better? Management gthats dealt with him for 17 years or a fanboy, hero worshiper such as yourself?

        Hes a primadonna and hes proven that time and again. He doesnt need the $ , if he was really about winning he would have said no. BTW, if youd have taken time to read the article i linked to awhile back, instead of blowing it off because it blew your argument out of the water, youd know thart Dirkboffered the paycut beefore Cuban even thought about it.

        Dirk cares about winning, so does kobe as long as he gets his $.

        Dont bother responding. Youre an idiot fanboy that worships kobe, you obviously cannot be reasoned with.

  18. azarkhan - Jun 17, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    I’m with Klinsmann on this one. Kobe is way overpaid, especially considering the ramifications for the Lakers salary cap situation. As for all those who claim Kobe brings in millions more than he is paid, how much did he bring in for the 2013-2014 season? And, oh yes, please back up what you say with verifiable evidence, not just your opinion. .

  19. jvw1982 - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    I loved what the Lakers did with Kobe, I am tired of hearing how Billionaires want millionaires to take less money in order to win, they forget the salary cap is soft and can exceed it as long as they pay the luxury tax….Billionaires can afford it they just don’t want to….I would have loved to see the Bulls pay Pippen and let that Bulls team play until someone beat them instead of breaking it up after a championship because they felt Scottie couldn’t live up to his contract…how many titles have they won since?……Give me the Lakers Org over the Bulls any day…..

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