Daniel Gibson sides with Kobe Bryant; Paul Pierce doesn't

Stephen Dunn

NBA players are starting to weigh in on the Kobe Bryant injury saga.

Kobe Bryant thinks Dahntay Jones committed a 'dirty play' when he closed out hard on Bryant's last-second attempt against the Hawks on Wednesday, but players around the NBA are split on the issue. Kobe suffered a severe ankle sprain on the play, and he holds Jones responsible for the injury and even said: "I gotta wait a year to get revenge." It's become a tough subject for players to address, because many have been on different sides of the issue.

Former NBA stopper Bruce Bowen chided Jones for sliding under the feet of a shooter, which is an opinion ripe with hypocrisy, while Jalen Rose noted on ESPN that he made the same type of aggressive play against Kobe in the playoffs during his playing career. Current NBA players Daniel Gibson and Paul Pierce also weighed in on Kobe Bryant Injury Gate.

Gibson did not mince words as he came to the defense of Bryant and shooters everywhere (via Ohio.com):

"I think that was a dirty play," Gibson said. "He's been known to be a guy to do that.

"If you watch the tape, after the shot was taken, he kept walking forward toward him," Gibson said Friday. "He never really turned around to see if the shot went in or anything. He kept walking toward him looking at the ground the whole time."

It's important to remember that Gibson tore a tendon in his foot on a similar play last season when being defended by Paul George, because Gibson also tossed George under the bus with Jones when talking about dirty defensive plays:

"When I saw (Bryant's injury), it (ticked) me off because (Jones) was on the team with Paul George last year," Gibson said. "Rumor has it, he taught (George) a few tricks."

Meanwhile, Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce wasn't buying Bryant's argument (via Celtics Hub):

"I think it got kind of blown out of proportion. I thought [Dhantay Jones] put his hands up, [Kobe] got into the defender. I mean the fact it's Kobe Bryant, it's an issue. I mean if it was somebody else, we wouldn't even be talking about this today."

Pierce recently passed Charles Barkley for the No. 20 spot on the NBA's all-time scoring list, and he certainly didn't mind going after the No. 5 player on the all-time scoring list (Kobe Bryant). That wasn't the only subject of conversation that made him roll his eyes. When asked about the Miami Heat's recent 20-game winning streak, Pierce told NESN.com: "I really don't even care. I hope they lose every game the rest of the season."

If you to go to the deeper level of the discussion, Tom Ziller of SB Nation has written a post about the morality of Lakers schadenfreude.

Meanwhile, Bryant appeared at the team shootaround on Friday morning, and he's listed as a game-time decision for the Lakers' game against the Pacers.

More in the NBA:

7 thoughts on Kobe's controversial injury

Did Dahntay Jones intentionally hurt Kobe Bryant?

The evolution of the "Stretch 4"

Can the Nets keep Andray Blatche?

Ziller: Playing board games with DeMarcus Cousins

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