Ex-Lakers player: It’s Kobe’s fault we lost to Pistons in 2004 Finals

AUBURN HILLS, MI - JUNE 13: Ben Wallace #3 of the Detroit Pistons and Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers battle for position in the first half of game four of the 2004 NBA Finals on June 13, 2004 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant will go down as one of the all-time great NBA players. With 18 All-Star appearances, five championships, two Finals MVPs, and a host of scoring accolades, he was also known for his fierce competitiveness.

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But he doesn’t spark the greatest of memories for one anonymous member of the 2004 edition of the Lakers that became infamous for their defeat at the hands of the underdog Detroit Pistons in the ’04 NBA Finals.

Author Jeff Pearlman is penning a book about Bryant and the Lakers and interviewed an anonymous former teammate of Bryant’s during the shocking Finals loss to Detroit. According to that former player, it’s because of him:

Despite 22.6 PPG in the Finals, Bryant also shot only 38% and turned the ball over a paltry 18 times. Of course, the loss was the final straw for fellow superstar Shaquille O’Neal, who was then traded to the Miami Heat that summer.

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