It's obvious that the media in professional sports has helped take the level of entertainment to that of not only a game but a reality show. The real problems though, are the players' loose lips and their coaches' lack of discipline.
Every time I flip on ESPN, I hear of more drama between players. Rivalries are great but definitely not when you are on the same team. The recent Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard media explosion has brought this issue straight to the forefront.
With Howard underachieving and being injured this year, it is easy to understand why Bryant is frustrated. This does not mean though that Bryant should air out his dirty laundry for the media to pick up. Bryant should simply take his frustrations out in practice. As one of the most successful players ever in the NBA, Bryant has the authority to express his feelings and offer advice, but this should be done in-house.
Most times when outside media becomes involved in something that is personal or within a team, the situation worsens. This is especially true when dealing with a player like Howard who is known for caring about outside opinion and letting those opinions affect his play.
Players go in and out of funks all the time, even those who are considered elite in the league. The worst thing you could do for your own teammate is to create a complex in their mind. Even if they say it doesn't affect them, the game of basketball has an element of trust and an outside situation easily translates to the court.
Coach Mike D'Antoni isn't innocent in all this either. We all know what kind of pedestal Bryant is on in the eyes of NBA fans, but the coach is meant to be the ultimate leader. Not being able to command his team is a sign of the lack of disrespect within the Lakers' organization.
On paper, the Lakers have one of the best teams in the league, but if the regular season were to end right now, they would find themselves on the couches for the playoffs. The egos of multiple superstars on the same team definitely have an impact on their play, but that is just a matter of feeling the chemistry out. I believe these arguments put on display for the world, definitely does attribute to the team's lack of success.
A player who is slumping and already gets a good amount of media attention does not need additional spotlights on him. Tough love is necessary from a team leader sometimes, but not at the expense of where it really matters in the world of sports; in the win-loss column.
Stephanie Vedral is senior sport management major from Yonkers, NY. She can be reached at email@example.com.