Skip to main content

What If Tiger Wanted a Trade

Consider me one guy whos thankful Tiger Woods didnt go on a rant this week about PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem and any perceived notion that PGA TOUR winners Ted Purdy and Steve Flesch arent good enough to be a part of the team.
As for Kobe Bryant. just taking Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton from the front pages wasnt good enough. Hes done his best to send the league thats made him famous into chaos during its playoff spotlight.
In a day of radio interviews that seemingly had no end, the star of the Los Angeles Lakers - and perhaps the NBAs brightest star - had requested a trade from Hollywood. Tinseltown, which loves its stars, would perhaps never be the same without number 24 (or the former number 8.)
I would like to be traded, yeah. Tough as it is to come to that conclusion, theres no other alternative, Bryant told ESPN radio.
Then, about three hours later, after a conversation Bryant had with his current (perhaps soon to be former) coach Phil Jackson, Bryant told KLAC radio I dont want to go anywhere, this is my team. I love it here.
Regardless of whether Kobe stays or goes, it brought me to thinking about the world the PGA TOUR lives in.
Kobes frustrated that the Lakers arent pointed in the direction of winning. And with four years left on the seven-year $136.4 million contract he signed in July of 2004, Kobes burned out on trying to light a fire under his current franchise.
Kobes not winning ' enough.
Tiger Woods has 12 professional major titles to his credit. Bryant helped (along with Shaquille ONeal) guide the Los Angeles Lakers to three straight NBA titles but hasnt won since ONeal left town for Miami.
And so goes the difference between two of sports greatest superstars ' and their desire to win, win and win some more.
Tiger Woods is in control of Tiger Woods. As he approaches 60 PGA TOUR titles, he doesnt have to rely on Smush Parker or Lamar Odom or Chris Mimm for help.
Kobe Bryant, meanwhile, can shoot his way to 60 points in a single game ' but it hardly guarentees that his team wins or that his team wins the title that year.
Golfers are required to worry about themselves. NBA stars are required to play within a team concept.
There is no salary cap for Tiger. For the Los Angeles Lakers ' there is.
Tiger dominates the PGA TOUR with regularity but has never asked for a trade because the competition isnt quite good enough. Hes never asked to player for Europe in the Ryder Cup because his American side isnt competitive enough.
My problem with Kobe is not his $136.4 million contract. Its his apparent lack of understanding about the ramifications to the rest of the franchise because of the huge sum paid directly to him.
Sure, the Lakers need to do a better job of finding better pieces to the puzzle around Bryant. And they need to watch what they say about Bryants dedication to the team or lack of dedication. Frustration is one thing ' reality is another.
Does the PGA TOUR need to do a better job of finding the pieces around Tiger in a 156-man field? No, but could it do a better job of promoting its PGA TOUR winners?
Tiger is a part of the team on the PGA TOUR. Kobe Bryant is a part of a team named the Los Angeles Lakers. Fans pay big money to see each man do their thing. If Kobe doesnt like the frustration that comes with playing a team sport ' then give Butch Harmon a call and start working on the 60-degree wedge.
As I see it, Bryant called out Odom and Mimm and Parker as unfit parts in Kobes desire to build a winning team. Are they perfect? Perhaps not, but most NBA players arent stars and are thus reliant upon the likes of a Bryant to achieve a championship.
Michael Jordan never gave up on the Chicago Bulls along the way to its run of titles. And Bryant needs to sit back, be more like Mike as he perhaps chases his legacy, and work harder to make the others into champions just as Jordan did. Believe me ' it will feel a lot better to win when folks think you cant than to have two other stars dumped into his starting five where winning becomes easy.
PGA TOUR golf and the NBA are apples to oranges in comparison. But perhaps each could learn something from the other.
Kobe ought to learn that there isnt an I in team. Winning comes from making others better.
The PGA TOUR ' bolstered by a collective group of individuals focused on their own score ' should do more to develop the team concept that has been brought to light be Kobes comments this week.
For now, (and well see how long this lasts) Bryant and his coach Phil Jackson will be tested to prove their greatness as superstar player and coach. They chose the sport in which they live and play.
As for Tiger - with all due respect, you can bet hes glad his legacy is not directly tied to the likes of PGA TOUR winners Will MacKenzie or Paul Goydos who might be playing alongside in a three-man weave of their own.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann