There’s no shortage of intrigue in the aftermath of Raja Bell’s takedown of Kobe Bryant that’s resulted in his suspension for tonight’s Game 6 in Los Angeles.
You can start with Raja being apologetic during his post-game statement, then reversing to calling Kobe a “pompous, arrogant jerk” after he found out he’s not allowed to play. He also said he – well, he’s said a lot of stuff. That last link is a full compilation of his comments.
“Look man, that’s his job for that team. To be what they need him to be, and that’s cool with me. But like I said, when I get hit in the face multiple times, you’ve stepped across a line with me. It’s not basketball anymore. It was basketball for four games. When he hit me in the face, it was the last straw for me.”
“It’s a personal thing when someone continually hits you in the face. I’ve been trying to do a good job, I’ve been trying to be what my team needs me to be, and I continually get hit in my face.
“Honestly, (Bryant) hit me in the face, then he came down and tried to bully me…”[snip]
“I cant speculate on what they take away from it, it wasn’t meant to send any message. I was just done getting hit in my face, man.”
“If you’re going to keep hitting me in my face and then talking like you’re not doing it on purpose, there’s a reason both my cheeks are bruised right now and I can barely open my jaw. All right?”
“If somebody is going to repeatedly hit me in my face or do stuff like that…”[snip]
Dude, enough. We get it – it’s all about your face. Plus, we’re pretty sure Kobe’s job for the Lakers is “being the best player in the NBA”, but if Raja thinks he needs to be downgraded to “face-hitter”, so be it. If that wasn’t enough, he finishes up with this one:
Every time you stick your butt out and try to hit me in my genitals, you’re doing it on purpose.
Maybe he realized the “my face got hit” defense wasn’t working after the 3,000th time, but doesn’t he follow the NBA? The testicle card gets you nowhere, yo.
Better than anything Raja said over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over was Kobe’s response, though. He essentially laughed, said “who cares?”, and repeatedly called the 2-years elder Raja “kid”.