A headache for his coach, Kobe Bryant’s tweets during a Lakers playoff game were a hit at the NBA office.
Bryant has since decided to stop, saying the focus should be on his team, and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday he missed Bryant’s online commentary.
”I thought it was fascinating,” Silver said at a meeting of Associated Press Sports Editors.
Unable to sit on the Lakers’ bench after his season-ending torn Achilles, Bryant appeared to spend most of their 91-79 Game 1 loss to San Antonio on Sunday online, offering some pointed analysis of what he was seeing.
Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni later called Bryant a ”fan” when asked about the tweets during the game, which Bryant laughed off when he heard it.
”His coach said, he’s a fan now, that’s what fans do,” Silver said.
NBA players are prohibited from posting on social media from 45 minutes before games until they have finished their media responsibilities afterward. Silver doesn’t think that rule needs to be expanded to cover players such as Bryant.
”I don’t think we need a leaguewide rule, I think that’s a team decision,” Silver said. ”I mean, assuming that the player is not on the bench. There’s an absolute league rule if the player is on the bench, but I mean for a player who’s injured who is not sitting on the bench, I think that’s a team decision. That should be a team decision as to whether a player should be tweeting.”
Bryant made the decision himself after his tweets became perhaps a bigger story than anything that happened on the court.
”To tweet or not to tweet.. I CHOOSE not 2,” he wrote Monday. ”Focus should be on the team not my insight.”
In what will be news of interest to both the Lakers and the Spurs, Stern said there still remains no interest in removing fouls away from the ball – the original ”Hack-a-Shaq” – but does expect the league to revisit the idea of resting healthy players.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has used intentional fouling against Shaquille O’Neal and current Lakers center Dwight Howard, another notoriously poor free throw shooter, as a way to slow the opposing offense. League president Joel Litvin said owners and the Competition Committee felt that abolishing the strategy, which does slow games down, would be ”rewarding a guy who can’t shoot free throws.”
Popovich has also liberally rested healthy Spurs and drew the ire of Stern and a $250,000 earlier this season when he did it in Miami, sending key players such as Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili home before the end of a road trip.
LeBron James sat out some games after the Heat clinched the best record in the league, and New York’s Carmelo Anthony didn’t play in the final week of the regular season.
”I think we’re going to have to come to grips somehow with the issue of resting players,” Stern said. ”We have to recognize both sides of that issue, in terms of not telling a coach how to manage his lineup while at the same time trying to deliver to our fans what they’ve come to expect.
”Historically, when you’re resting a 36-year-old player or a player with a history of injuries, that’s fine. But when that player gets to be 26 and it’s a wholesale sort of an elimination of rosters for a game, that’s less about resting and more about something else going on, and we’re going to have to come to grips with that at some point. Or at least, Commissioner Silver will.”
Stern is scheduled to retire Feb. 1 and Silver will replace him.