Published January 21, 2011
DENVER – Kobe Bryant is clarifying his remarks that Denver Nuggets fans are "stupid" for booing Carmelo Anthony over his trade stance.
After shootaround on Friday, Bryant was asked again about Anthony getting roundly booed following his 35-point performance against Oklahoma City 48 hours earlier.
"I said they were idiots for booing," Bryant recounted.
Reminded that a day earlier he had characterized those frustrated fans as "stupid" for booing their own superstar, Bryant replied, "Stupid and idiots are synonymous."
Idiots might be harsher.
"I don't know," Bryant said. "They're close. They're cousins."
Either way, the Los Angeles Lakers star who regularly gets booed at the Pepsi Center himself, contends Anthony, his teammate on the 2008 Olympic gold medal team, doesn't deserve similar treatment from his home crowd.
Bryant suggested that if Anthony were at all waffling about his desire for a trade, the Nuggets fans' hostile treatment might just push him out of Denver.
Anthony has been the subject of trade talk since refusing to sign a three-year, $65 million extension last summer. Two potential blockbuster trades with the New Jersey Nets have fallen apart.
Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri said after the Nets halted negotiations on their latest megadeal Wednesday that he was still talking to several teams about his All-Star forward.
Bryant's teammate, Ron Artest, had a different take on Anthony's treatment from Nuggets fans.
Artest, who famously declared upon his arrival in Los Angeles that fans should throw tomatoes at him if the Lakers didn't repeat as champions, suggested Anthony should feel fortunate that fans are only hurtling insults his way.
"That's nothing," Artest said. "He should be happy he got booed."
Anthony missed the Nuggets' shootaround Friday morning because of what coach George Karl called a personal matter, but he was in the starting lineup against the Lakers.