ESPN’s NBA Countdown crew really set Jamie Foxx up to fail on Wednesday night. Foxx—who is currently out promoting his new film, Sleepless—stopped by the set of the show during halftime of the Trail Blazers/Warriors game, and he was asked to take a look at a meme that Tracy McGrady had posted on his Instagram earlier in the night. That meme featured six NBA players—Hakeem Olajuwon, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan, and Shaquille O’Neal—and the line, "Name the worst player in this picture."
There really is no right answer to the question—everyone has a different opinion on it and, if you take a look at the comments on McGrady’s original IG post, you’ll see that every player in the photo received votes from fans—so regardless of what Foxx said, he would have been both right and wrong. But Foxx created some controversy when he took one quick glance at the players in the photo and then took about two seconds to choose the player he would label as the "worst" on the list: Kobe Bryant.
Foxx then provided this explanation as to why he would remove Kobe from the list over any of the other players. He also talked about why Duncan would be the other player he would consider removing:
The only reason I’m saying it is because, if we’re trying to build a team, I think the team aspect of the players is a little different than the Kobe Bryant of…
I’ll say this. Let me explain this. I think when Michael Jordan played so well, there was something that happened with every kid that came behind Michael Jordan that it had to be themselves because Michael Jordan made this big thing. So every agent, every manager was like, 'Yo, you have to be Michael Jordan.' Which wasn’t necessarily, to the naked eye, the team sport. So if I’m building a team, the guys other than Kobe Bryant are more team-oriented players.
If it’s another type of, like, we’re trying to win MVPs, then Kobe Bryant is definitely a person that you would not kick off the list. You would take Tim Duncan off the list, because Tim Duncan is a quiet assassin who was always, sort of, never got out of college if you think about it. [Spurs coach Gregg Popovich] sort of runs a college—think about what I’m saying—he ran a college program when you look at Pop. So it was more about quiet.
Foxx wasn’t the only one on the set who selected Kobe. Not surprisingly, Jalen Rose—who played a big part in Kobe's epic 81-point game in 2006—did, too. But Foxx provided his answer so quickly that, within just minutes, NBA fans were going in on him on social media for picking Kobe. They didn’t appreciate his explanation for choosing him, and they essentially told Foxx to stick to acting over talking hoops.
Here were some of the strongest reactions to Foxx’s selection:
As we mentioned, there really is no right answer to this question. But we’ve gotta ask: Who would you label as the "worst" NBA player of the six guys mentioned? Good luck trying to decide.