Michael Smith says it would be a waste of money to pay extra to see an ineffective Kobe Bryant play.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak joins the Dan Le Batard Show to reflect on the rivalry between Kobe Bryant and Shaq.

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- LeBron James said knowing this will be Kobe Bryant's last season is "truly sad for me" and that he regrets that the pair never faced off in the NBA Finals.

"I didn't hold up my end of the bargain in 2009 for the fans, for us, to meet in the Finals," James said Tuesday, looking back on the 2008-09 season when his Cleveland Cavaliers led the league with a 66-16 record and Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers were right behind him at 65-17. "I know the world wanted to see it. I wanted it, we wanted it. He held up his end and I didn't hold up my end, and I hate that. I hate that that didn't happen."

James and the Cavs lost to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference finals 4-2, with the Lakers going on to beat the Magic in the championship round 4-1. With Bryant and the Pau Gasol-led Lakers hitting their stride at the same time James was on the top team in the East with Cleveland and later the Miami Heat, a Finals matchup seemed inevitable to observers. However, James said he never assumed it would occur.

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Stephen A. Smith predicts the Sixers will win their first game of the season against the Lakers, while Skip Bayless says Kobe Bryant will score 25 points in a Lakers win.

Darren Rovell discusses how Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is capitalizing on his retirement and the market for ticket prices to his games.

Kobe's Philly finale

December, 1, 2015
Dec 1


Sal Paolantonio looks ahead to Kobe Bryant's last game in Philadelphia and how 76ers' fans could react.

The Lakers are suffering through their worst three seasons since moving to Los Angeles 55 years ago. But with Kobe Bryant announcing his retirement at the end of the season, the team now has the clarity it needs to prepare for a future without Bryant.

Since the Lakers' hopes for a sixth championship with Bryant were dashed by his Achilles injury in April 2013, followed by Dwight Howard's departure for the Houston Rockets that summer, the franchise has been stuck in an awkward purgatory -- caught between trying to stay competitive in Bryant's golden years and developing young talent to eventually supplant him.

Now, the organization can fully commit to building the next great Lakers team. Here's what that should entail in six steps, some of them easier than others:


Mike & Mike discuss whether Kobe Bryant should be considered a greater all-time player than Tim Duncan.

Jalen Rose and David Jacoby share their ideas for Kobe's statue, then talk about playing against Kobe, Jahlil Okafor's habitual line-stepping, the death of "The Dab" and more.

In Scott Van Pelt's One Big Thing, he says good bye to Kobe Bryant, who will retire after his 20th season in the NBA.

The SportsNation crew breaks down Thunder forward Kevin Durant's recent Twitter comments regarding the media portrayal of Kobe Bryant after announcing his retirement.

Lisa Salters reports on Kobe Bryant's relationship with fans in his home city of Philadelphia.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant says he "idolized" Kobe Bryant as a player growing up, adding that he was angry at the media for their treatment of the Los Angeles Lakers star.

"I did idolize Kobe Bryant. I studied him, wanted to be like him," Durant said Monday at a shootaround in Atlanta. "He was our Michael Jordan.

"I've been disappointed this year because you guys [the media] treated him like s---. He's a legend, and all I hear is about how bad he's playing, how bad he's shooting and it's time for him to hang it up. You guys treated one of our legends like s---, and I didn't really like it. So hopefully now you can start being nice to him now that he decided to retire after this year."

Bryant, 37, announced Sunday that he is retiring at the end of the season. He is coming off injuries that have limited him to 54 games since the beginning of the 2013-14 season and has seen a steep decline in production.

Responding to social media backlash to his comments, particularly the part about media coverage, Durant said his point was noting the negativity around Bryant, rather than appreciating the accomplishments of a legend on his way out.

"I understand [the media] have to write about the game. Of course I understand that," Durant told "Kobe hasn't played well, and his team hasn't played well, but did we expect that from them? You did say he was the 93rd-best player in the league, you did have the Lakers as the worst team in the West, but it seems like everybody is happy that he's going out like this. Every game he's played on TV is about how terrible he looks, every article the next day is about how he should retire and give it up. Just killing him.

"I never hear about the Finals MVPs, the accolades. They did it for [former New York Yankee] Derek Jeter, they will do it for Tim Duncan

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Jordan Clarkson
15.6 2.4 1.1 31.6
ReboundsJ. Randle 8.6
AssistsK. Bryant 3.4
StealsJ. Clarkson 1.1
BlocksR. Hibbert 2.1