Jurgen Klinsmann, the German coach of the U.S. men’s national soccer team, made headlines when he said that the United States couldn’t win the 2014 World Cup.
The coach also drew ire when discussing his not including Landon Donovan on the squad, saying that the American tradition of paying aging players when their best days are behind them isn’t smart.
“This always happens in America,” Klinsmann told the New York Times Magazine.
“Kobe Bryant, for example — why does he get a two-year contract extension for $50 million? Because of what he is going to do in the next two years for the Lakers? Of course not. Of course not. He gets it because of what he has done before. It makes no sense. Why do you pay for what has already happened?”
Bryant has now responded to the comments, telling ESPN that it was “pretty funny.”
“I thought it was pretty comical, actually. I see his perspective. But the one perspective that he’s missing from an ownership point of view is that you want to be part of an ownership group that is rewarding its players for what they’ve done, while balancing the team going forward,” he said.
“If you’re another player in the future and you’re looking at the Lakers organization, you want to be a part of an organization that takes care of its players while at the same time, planning for the future.”
Bryant said that Klinsmann should look at the bigger picture.
“Jurgen is a coach, a manager,” he said. “He’s not a GM or owner of the franchise. When you look at it from that perspective, it changes a little bit. But you probably could have used another player as an example.”