The career of Kobe Bryant is arguably one of the most impressive in league history but there are some black marks on his resume that many people have forgotten about. The biggest black mark came when he quit on the Lakers in Game 7 of the 2006 Playoffs against the Phoenix Suns to prove a point about the poor roster around him.
Charles Barkley wasn't happy with Kobe when the incident took place, admonishing Kobe for his actions.
"Do you remember the night Kobe Bryant wouldn't shoot the basketball against the Suns one year? I went off on him after the game. We're all big Kobe Bryant fans but what he did that night was bullsh*t. He wouldn't shoot the ball, I think he shot the ball one time in the second half. It was brutal. He was just trying to prove a point that he had no help."
Barkley then revealed how angry Kobe got after he heard the comments.
"So he started texting me after the game, calling me every freaking name in the book. This goes on for about three hours. It's like 4 or 5 o clock in the morning now, we worked until late. I said, 'Yo man, pick up the freaking phone and talk to me.' He was calling me every name in the book."
The arguing continued until late in the night but ultimately reached a positive conclusion.
"I get back to the hotel at 2:30. We text each other probably another 10-15 times. His texts were cursing me out. I said, 'I explained to you why I said what I said. ' When we saw each other the next year, he was like 'Yo man, you were right.' That's what I admire about Kobe. He says, 'Chuck, you were right and I was wrong.' I said, 'I love you, you were wrong that night. I'm not trying to cancel anybody.'"
Kobe's actions led to a near 30-point Game 7 loss for the Lakers at the hands of the Suns. He ended the game with 24 points on 50% shooting from the field. What's worse is that Phoenix was down 3-1 and made a comeback to advance to the second round.
In Game 7 of the series against the Suns, Kobe was leading his squad admirably. He had 23 points by the end of the first half but suddenly became passive. He tried to get players like Kwame Brown, Lamar Odom, and Luke Walton into the game by playing de-facto playmaker. The others let him down as Kobe himself decided not to try and outshoot the Lakers due to the tough series he had been having.
Kobe averaged 27.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.1 assists in that seven-game series. This loss put heaps of pressure on the Lakers to get Kobe a teammate that could help take him toward a championship again. He would have to wait until 2008 to have that teammate, as the 2006 playoffs ultimately forced the Lakers' hands in trading for Pau Gasol before the 2007-08 season.