Full disclosure: when Mark Heisler of the L.A. Times emailed me his thoughts earlier today, it wasn't exactly as I published it.
I published a sentence that read:
Phil can't get upset at Kobe any more than he could get upset at Michael Jordan, even if Mike did something outrageous.
But what Heisler wrote was:
Phil can't get upset at Kobe any more than he could get upset at Michael Jordan, even if Mike did something outrageous like punching Steve Kerr.
That was not a tale I had heard. And I couldn't get Mark in time to give me some background or attribution. And it seemed like a big deal! Very distracting aside. So, being a cautious type, I took it out until I could talk to Mark.
Then I did talk to Mark, and it turns out that this incident was widely reported at the time. Google turned up several such accounts. ... Including this really interesting 2001 Barry Wilner Baskteball Digest article about "Family Feuds" on NBA teams. Kerr and Jordan are mentioned, as are Gary Payton, Jerry Stackhouse, Ray Allen, Ruben Patterson, Isaiah Rider ... even Magic Johnson makes a cameo in this one. Interesting indeed.