D’Angelo Russell made a bit of noise last week
because it’s August because he told Slam Magazine he hadn’t spoken to former teammate Kobe Bryant this summer.
Some saw this as a bigger deal than others. For me personally, I didn’t raise my eyebrows at it for a few reasons.
Bryant is retired for one, and he’s had other business ventures he’s clearly been focused on (and was never really known for hanging with teammates in the offseason anyway). Additionally, it is the offseason, and Bryant and Russell are nearly two decades apart in age.
This is really only a headline for two reasons: Bryant, fair or unfair, never had the best reputation as a teammate. There has also been a tendency on the national level ever since Russell recording Nick Young blew up the locker room last season to look for any sign of teammates being discontented with him.
Those two factors combined to make this a story, but for anyone on Twitter taking this and running with the “Russell hates Bryant” angle, well, his sartorial choice for the Power 106 All-Star game seems to be a direct response to that (as well as just being an awesome shirt showing Kobe photostopped over Wilt Chamberlain holding up an 81, representing his career-high 81 points).
Look, this shirt doesn’t totally erase any larger concerns over how Russell or Bryant are as teammates, but it seems safe to assume the two don’t hate each other and aren’t deliberately ignoring one another.
It’s also the summer though, which is why we’re writing about Russell’s shirt and whether or not he’s texting with Kobe.
Basketball, you can’t come back soon enough.
If you’d like to buy the shirt D’Angelo Russell is wearing in the above photo, you can do so at Citizen IV here. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.