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Doug Gottlieb: Kobe Bryant Told Me LeBron ‘Is Not Built For L.A.’

“LeBron does not get, know, or understand L.A. He’s not built for it the way I’m built for it.'”

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Coming out of the NBA All-Star break, a lot of speculation circled LeBron James and whether or not he might leave the Los Angeles Lakers after his contract runs out after next season. (A possible return to the Cleveland Cavaliers has been part of that conjecture.)

Much of the rumor and innuendo surrounding Lebron and the Lakers is the team’s disappointing performance this season. The Lakers are ninth in the Western Conference going into Tuesday (March 1) night’s play and a match-up versus the Dallas Mavericks at home.

The team has lost its past five games and first two since the All-Star break. On Sunday, they were demolished at home by the New Orleans Pelicans, 123-95. The Pelicans, by the way, are behind the Lakers in the West standings.

Understandably, the home fans at Crypto.com Arena showed their unhappiness with their team’s poor performance by booing and heckling the players. Showing that the losing and failure to meet expectations is getting to them, LeBron and Trevor Ariza exchanged insults and profanities with fans behind the Lakers’ bench.

That entire spectacle compelled Fox Sports Radio’s Doug Gottlieb to say that the Lakers “hit rock bottom” Sunday night and led him to recall a conversation he had years ago with the late Kobe Bryant. This was after Bryant retired and he knew Gottlieb through the youth basketball teams they both coached.

The two finally met for drinks the night shortly after LeBron and the Cavaliers visited Los Angeles to play the Lakers and Kobe had opinions he needed to share.

“He said to me — unequivocally — ‘LeBron does not get, know, or understand L.A.,'” Gottlieb recalled. “‘He’s not built for it the way I’m built for it.'”

Gottlieb then asked Bryant to explain what he meant by that.

“He’s like, ‘Look, man — I shot those two airballs when I was 17 and I thought the world came crashing down,'” said Gottlieb. “‘And my reaction to it was, I lived in the gym all summer. The way in which people reacted to those airballs — shots that I shouldn’t have shot, they were bad shots, but I missed by a mile — fueled me. Fueled me my whole career.

“‘I took negativity and it fueled me. That’s not what fuels LeBron. He’s just built different. He’s not the savage competitor that me and Mike are. I’m the type of killer that wants to kill you and your whole family. LeBron just wants to be loved, wants to play ball, wants to win games. But he is not the killer that me and Mike are.'”

Gottlieb’s overall point, emphasized by the Bryant story, is that Los Angeles and the Lakers fans have never embraced LeBron. And maybe he hasn’t embraced L.A. either. If the Lakers miss the playoffs this season, has LeBron’s tenure with the team been a success? They won the NBA championship in 2019-20, so the answer is surely yes.

Yet that title was won in the Orlando bubble. Lakers fans didn’t celebrate it with their team. (And COVID probably would’ve prevented them from fully doing so anyway.) The Lakers have fallen short of expectations in three of his four seasons. And his fifth season could be a disappointment as well unless general manager Rob Pelinka is able to make impact changes to the roster.

LeBron might leave town after that, and maybe Bryant will have been right about whether or not he was built for Los Angeles and the heavy expectations put on the Lakers.

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Nick Wilson: Deshaun Watson Press Conference ‘Insulting’ To Local Media

“You — neither Deshaun, his lawyers, or anybody involved in this — get to dictate what those reporters get to say, ask, or think.”

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson met with the media for the first time yesterday since being reinstated by the NFL after the league ruled he was guilty of violating the Personal Conduct Policy due to improper sexual advances towards more than two dozen massage therapists. 92.3 The Fan afternoon host Nick Wilson called Watson’s press conference “trash” and “insulting” to local media.

Watson told reporters he would only answer football related questions from the assembled media members, which Wilson took issue with.

“You can’t bury this story simply by saying ‘I won’t talk about it’,” Wilson said. “It is insulting to the media who covers this team. This is not about Nick Wilson, I promise. This is about the beat reporters who cover this team. It is insulting — intentionally or not — to say ‘You know what, guys? I love y’all, but I’m going to dictate what you ask me’.

“You don’t do that. You dictate when you speak, your opening statement, or how you respond. You — neither Deshaun, his lawyers, or anybody involved in this — get to dictate what those reporters — who work very hard day in, day out covering this organization, covering Deshaun Watson, covering this town — get to say, ask, or think. That was trash.”

Co-host Dustin Fox added the whole job of the media is to bring information to fans, and Watson wouldn’t allow reporters to do that Thursday, and may never do that.

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Gregg Giannotti: Biggest Issue With Craig Carton, Jon Jastremski Feud Is “Mole” At WFAN

“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems.”

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Gregg Giannotti

A feud has sprung up between WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton and former WFAN host John Jastremski. Boomer & Gio discussed the spat on Friday morning’s show, with Gregg Giannotti being troubled by a revelation.

During his New York New York podcast, a voicemail left for Jastremski asked about Carton’s comments, but the caller said a WFAN employee sent him the clip of Carton’s criticism.

“So that means we have a mole,” Boomer Esiason said.

“That right there is a problem,” Gregg Giannotti added. “‘We both have a mutual friend that still works over there’ and that person shared a link of Craig talking about JJ (Jastremski). So, clearly, that person is on JJ’s side and they’re still working here. That’s a mole! That’s someone going against the team! And I think know who that is!”

Esiason then asked if he knew the person, to which Giannotti said he did. He then asked if he would be upset by who it was, which Giannotti affirmed as well.

The show then played the final portion of Jastremski’s rant, which included him saying to Carton “I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike.”

“Jesus!” Esiason exclaimed. “Good for JJ, though. Standing up for himself.”

“I like both of these guys. I do. I got respect for both of them,” said Giannotti. “Everybody doesn’t have to go to the jail, crook thing with Craig every single time. Do they? It’s low-hanging fruit. Everybody goes there. There’s no way he can defend himself in that way because everybody saying ‘You went to jail’ didn’t go to jail, and it’s not apples and oranges. But the business stuff is apples-to-apples.

“So when I hear that, I’m just like ‘Ok, you went there. Be a little more creative than that’. As far as I listen to legend things, please, nobody has given me worse advice in my life than Mike Francesa did. Nobody. I would still be out in the newsroom cutting Islander highlights if I listened to that guy. And the only reason why Mike liked JJ was because he didn’t feel he was a threat. The only people Mike likes is the people he feels non-threatened by. And that’s where that comes from.”

After concluding Jastremski’s rant was a “little over the top”, Giannotti then turned his attention to the “mole” inside the station.

“The thing that bothers me the most about this is the leak from within the building. Someone here is sending this audio out to a former listener…to cause problems. That — to me — is an issue. The guy on the voicemail said ‘We may or may not have a mutual friend that still works at the radio station’ and this guy just slammed the radio station. And he’s friends with the guy who slammed the radio station and then slammed Craig and this guy’s on their side?! And this guy that works here is on their side?! That to me is a major, major problem.”

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Dan Dakich: Craig Carton is ‘The Way Talk Radio Should Be’

“If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

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Craig Carton has prided himself on being one of those hosts who tells it like it is, especially when talking about New York’s pro sports teams.

That willingness to call a spade a spade and levy criticism on teams like the Jets and Giants, especially when things are not going well on the field, is something Dan Dakich has always seen as a recipe for success in the industry.

Interviewing Carton on Thursday on his Outkick show Don’t @ Me, Dakich praised the WFAN afternoon host for essentially creating a blueprint for how sports talk should be done.

“In Indianapolis I’m the bad guy right, because I say look the Colts stink, this regime is 46-49-1 – why are you telling me the GM is the best in the country – why are you telling me Frank Reich can really coach?” Dakich said. “New York’s different, though, right? I mean, New York they expect you to say look if you ain’t any good then you ain’t any good. Yu don’t sugarcoat nothing, and I think that’s the way talk radio should be.”

Carton noted that what’s key in how you critique a team or a front office, executive or owner is finding a balance. He said you can’t as a host be the ultimate homer and blow smoke up everyone’s behind.

“You have to be able to be critical when it’s warranted,” Carton said. “If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Carton pointed out that the fan bases in both New York and in Indianapolis are ultimately the same, because at the end of the day it’s all about making sure you have competent people calling the right shots. He added that the organizations are the same too because of how sensitive they can be to criticism, which he said if they don’t like it, “too bad.”

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