With the race for the top seed in the Western Conference all but wrapped up, it appears that Kobe Bryant has set his sights on a new opponent: the entire Japanese city of Kobe.

Kobe Bryant was actually named after the expensive and highly sought after Japanese beef when his father, whose nickname is “Jellybean,” saw it on a restaurant menu. Now, the tables have turned, and Bryant is suing the city of Kobe itself over naming rights to the beef.

We managed to speak to Bryant's attorney, Jeff Rundvlees, on the issues at hand. “While we are aware the city of Kobe has been around longer than my client, Mr. Bryant has clearly become more famous and influential. I mean, just type 'Kobe' into Google and tell me what comes up first.” Rundvlees continued, adding, “Kobe gets paid a lot of money by a lot of major companies to have his name associated with their products, and now this Japanese beef is reaping the benefits of all his hard work. I mean, if Gatorade had a flavor named Kobe and wasn't paying him for it, we'd be suing them too.”

So does the Laker guard want to be compensated for the sales of Kobe beef? “He will require back-compensation, certainly. But to be honest, he has a very specific brand that he is trying to cultivate, and this beef doesn't exactly fall in line with that. In fact, I'm pretty sure the only reason it's so well regarded is because of its association with the 11 time All-Star.”

Instead of future compensation, Kobe Bryant feels that it should be up to him to name the beef. Bryant, when spoken to after the team's 109-92 loss to the Atlanta Hawks last night, declined to comment at first on the legal matter. But when pressed for possible alternate names to the beef, he did eventually offer some suggestions. “I don't know, man. Maybe they should call it Shaq beef, since it's really fatty. Or who's that airplane dude? The guy who directed Mallrats. Whatever his name is.”

Experts are predicting a long and drawn out legal process.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.