At the “Lakers All Access” event on Monday night, Bryant spoke to a crowd of Lakers fans, and according to Kyle Goon of the O.C. Register, he ended his remarks with a dig at fans of the Warriors’ fanbase:
Kobe’s parting shot: “We’ll be champions again before you know it. And we’ll be laughing in the faces of all those Warriors fans who came out of nowhere.”— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) December 4, 2018
Dave McMenamin of ESPN had the video:
Here’s Kobe stirring the pot with Warriors fans as he puffs his chest about the Lakers championship he sees coming on the way. pic.twitter.com/jkoBwBjiaX— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 4, 2018
Now, Bryant is probably talking about the scores of Warriors fans who have scurried out of the woodwork since the team got good — even if the team did have a small-but-passionate following in Oakland when they were bad — but he’s also (basically) talking about this guy specifically:
Nearly three years later, that is still embarrassing to watch.
But anyway, Bryant is going out on a limb by predicting a Lakers title anytime soon. Even amidst the worst dysfunction they’ve ever faced, the Warriors still seem like a lock for the championship this year. Even if Kevin Durant leaves the team in free agency this summer — which is far from a guarantee — the Lakers wouldn’t necessarily be the favorites against the Warriors in a playoff series. Unless they were the ones that signed Durant, in which case things would be different.
What Bryant is for sure right about, though, is how Lakers fans would relish the chance to trash Warriors fans if Los Angeles beat them and won a title. Ever since LeBron James opted to sign with the Lakers over the summer, Warriors fans have incessantly trolled Lakers fans on Twitter and elsewhere, rebooting the rivalry they had with James’ Cavaliers with his Lakers. Social media is going to go ballistic if the Lakers win a title at any point in the aftermath of that.
And whether Warriors fans like being called bandwagoners or not — probably not — that type of ribbing on social media is what those content platforms are all about, right? As long everything stays relatively respectful, all of this appears to be in good fun. Or at least Kobe appears to be enjoying it from afar.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.