Monday, April 18, 2011

Kobe's $100K fine didn't buy Lakers' best effort

A hundred grand is nothing to sneeze at, even for a guy taking home $25 million a year. So it seems fair to ask what Kobe Bryant actually got for all that money.A chance to play in the Lakers postseason opener instead of a suspension? Probably, plus the warm feeling that accompanies a charitable donation, and a forceful reminder that while speech is still free, it isn't necessarily cheap, let alone worthy of a hearing.

And yes, it's still possible that the commissioner's unprecedented $100,000 fine for the homophobic slur Bryant directed at a referee last week will be cut in half, since the same NBA Constitution that grants David Stern wide-ranging discretion to levy fines against players also stipulates that they "not exceed $50,000."

Wherever the figure ends up, though, may be less important than whether it eased the frustration with some teammates that likely set off Bryant's tirade in the first place. Judged on the admittedly slim evidence of the Lakers' lackluster performance Sunday at home against the Hornets, the answer is probably not.


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