"Up to this point, I’m not a D’Antoni fan."

“Up to this point, I’m not a D’Antoni fan. I feel like the Lakers hiring him is the biggest blunder in the Lakers franchise.”

Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers might “surrender and channel the gods” while he plays massive sets in dangerous sandstorms like last weekend at Coachella, but when it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers, the basketball-obsessed bassist is not playing around. He is not a fan of Mike D’Antoni’s coaching style where massive adjustments in game play aren’t obvious.

“I don’t claim to be an astute judge of basketball,” confesses Flea. But he’s definitely at enough Lakers games to know what’s going down. Last night he was there cheering his “guts out” and this morning Flea weighed in with KROQ Los Angeles morning show hosts Kevin & Bean on why the team is coming out of their individual shells with Kobe Bryant injured. He also talked about whether the Lakers have a chance in the playoffs and if they think Bryant’s ego makes him jealous his team is winning without his dominant presence.

Flea said that there are three factors to why the rest of the Lakers are playing so well sans Bryant. The first point he made is that the other players on the team have the ball in their hands more. The second is that they don’t take it for granted that Bryant is there and he will “take care of it.” Lastly, Bryant is an “Alpha male basketball player” that likes to take the ball in “close situations.” To Flea, Dwight Howard isn’t playing any better; he’s always been good just hasn’t had time to shine with Bryant in the mix.

Without Bryant do they have a chance at winning in the playoff games against the San Antonio Spurs? Flea thinks so as long as the Lakers “really play well and all play at the top of their game.” He’s an optimist about the talent of the players, even if he thinks that Coach Mike D’Antoni’s style leaves much to be desired. According to Flea, he doesn’t seem to adjust to variables.

Even though he doesn’t know Bryant personally, Flea doesn’t think being benched will depress Bryant too much because “he just wants the Lakers to win, man.”

“Kobe is so sincere and earnest in his loving of the Lakers and his caring about the team winning,” said Flea. “I think people always think that he puts his ego first and I think that’s a drastic misinterpretation of Kobe Bryant. He just wants to win. He cares so much. I just think he’s rooting for his team and wanting them to be the best that they can be.”

Last Sunday when the Red Hot Chili Peppers headlined Coachella they had to adjust to a gamut of elemental variables. Because of the possible dangers of wind and sand combined with heavy equipment and electricity, all the band’s friends were kicked off the side of the stage and their usual arsenal of lights and video were vetoed by the crew working.

It was so dark that Flea said that the Red Hot Chili Peppers basically played in the dark. They couldn’t see the audience and since their friends weren’t onstage, they felt like they were playing alone.

It didn’t matter though. The Red Hot Chili Peppers just put their head down and rocked out. In that way, Flea is a lot like how he perceives Bryant.

“[We] get deep into the groove and play as best as we positively can and reach for the cosmos,” said Flea. “All that matters to me is that we play well.”

–Nadia Noir, KROQ Los Angeles


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