Deep Inside His Unclenched Eyes

Imperials ups to Kaifa, who has brought to our attention this fantastic Le Batard Q&A with Kobe. Haven't decided yet if it radically alters my view of the man, or if I want to gloat about how right I've been on his ravaged complexity. For now though, read it good, write about it, and I may or may not deliver an opus when the pagans subside.

Now back to playing hall monitor for a race war.

Addendum: I still desperately want to watch Suns/Wiz, ideally before Suns/Nuggets. I've been offered a VHS copy, and am grateful, but can anyone come through with the digital footage for me? Holiday aside, my birthday is in a week; never was there a better time to lend me a hand. Be warned, I may otherwise be overwhelmed with yearning and lock myself in the bathroom if nothing suitable transpires!!!!


At 12/25/2006 11:15 AM, Blogger japaja said...

i appriciate what kobe does. still he's beyond full of himself. he should be. but i dont know how to handle it.

check this quote out: The guys on the team are like little brothers to me.

condencenging, isnt it?

At 12/25/2006 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not sure how condescending the Mamba's quote is. other than odom (and maybe vlad rad), most of these guys are younger players who probably look up to kobe (kwame, bynum, farmar, sasha, turiaf, luuuuuuuuuuke, etc) like a little bro looks up to a big bro.

he does have 3 rings and how many mvps? oh wait, no mvp's, but kobe can still tell them to kiss his rings

At 12/25/2006 6:35 PM, Blogger Vegan Viking said...

I guess I don't see it. You talk about the interview proving his "ravaged complexity," then I find out he likes caramel apples with nuts and his pet peeve is dog poop. Nothing in that interview showed me much interesting about a human being.

At 12/25/2006 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ole' boy wants to school his 3-year-old in Concentration? Reminds me of those "Like things easy?" commercials. I wonder how many NBAers cheat at shit like Uno.

At 12/25/2006 9:35 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I thought it was interesting that the best thing about being Kobe is the access fame provides. That's pure, uncut THUMOS. Like, I would be thrilled with having the millions needed to buy a helicopter. Kobe's more excited about being famous enough to get a bargain.

Feel free to insert your own jokes about Kobe's desire to be Jewish.

At 12/25/2006 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, I just skimmed through that Awvee Storey "discussion" over at the AOL Sports Blog and now I need someone to hold me and stroke my hair and tell me that, no, three in 10 people aren't as incredibly, terrifyingly racist as those comments would have me believe.

At 12/26/2006 3:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quality Shots

At 12/26/2006 10:41 AM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

If someone asks you about your greatest weakness and you reply "caramel apples", isn't that also quite telling about how you perceive yourself? And that among the four word desribing yourself he uses "misunderstood"?

That Kobe is trying to fight the "selfish" label is nothing new, but it's still fascinating to me. Of course the reasons for him trying to change that public perception could be strictly economical - jersey and shoes sales etc. But to me (and apparently to thers as well) it seems like there are far more complex desires at work here.

I guess the central quote is this: "People just don't know me, but I'm trying to change that. I haven't had an opportunity to let people know me because I've been so, so focused on my game, but I don't want misconceptions about me when my career is over."

He says this in the context of supposedly being aloof with teammates but immediately brings it back to public perception. Now I have no psychological background whatsoever, but I find this very interesting. One motivation could be him worrying about his place in the pantheon once he is done playing - in the direction of "he won 3 rings with Shaq, is an all-time great, but man, what an a-hole", that the perception of his persona would tarnish his accomplishments on the court.

Another motivation could be that Kobe has had problems fitting in throughout his career. You have the Shaq feud, then him coming from a rather wealthy family and not really fitting in with the AIs and Marburys of the NBA. So it appears like he's alsways tried to manufacture that in some strange way and under a lot of media scrutiny. So it does come across as him being really possessed about it, whether it's true or not.

The quote above reminded me of Shoals' post after Kobe's Arenas quote, especially the "so focussed on my game part" and him saying "It's a passion, an obsession... Every advantage I have is because of preparation." Here are Shoals' quotes that came to my mind in this regard:
"Kobe, on the other hand, has tailored his bones and blood to the structure of the sport. He may frequently flout basketball logic, but even his decadence stinks of rigor. Often, I find myself wondering if Kobe doesn't force the issue only because he feels himself the most basketball human being in existence. My standard LeBron spiel goes something like this: King James has within him the ability to alter the essence of the game on a whim. Then there's Kobe, who has so internalized basketball as we know it, all decades and decades of it, that he flexes its soul with every second he moves. His arrogance, inexcusable as it is, draws its strength from this indentification with the game itself, making him nothing less than the embodiment of the basketball super-ego."

And: "You got the sense that [in Arenas] Kobe had met his babbling, foreign match, that at least for one night, Arenas's mastery of the game surpassed that of Kobe. Were Gilbert a mere gunner, this would be a fluke. Given the heavenly way of Arenas, this represents an ideological shock to Bryant's system. And so it occurs to Kobe: could one exist without a conscience-driven basketball mind? He sees Arenas play free, loose, and unencumbered, and must accept his legitimacy."

To round out the quotations, some reader comments to that post pushed the Kobe-Arenas discussion into a direction that makes equal sense here: Boris said that "Kobe to me is an utterly compelling portrait of the social limits of fostering to the technics of the self - a portrait that implicates all of us involved in fashioning our identities through critique". And Dave said: "Like Hegel’s Spirit, his [Kobe's] transgressions, his moral lapses (selfishness, a shoddy character off the court, jealousy, and condescension) depict a combative individuality that has yet to succeed in defining his legacy – that has yet to mature. Even his championships are not enough to redeem him in the public eye, nor does he seem to take them as self-defining, just small, fleeting victories in the quest to distance himself from his peers."

Hard for me to elaborate on that, but that's what this here basketball itelligentsia is for.

At 12/26/2006 1:20 PM, Anonymous Carlos Destrroyo said...

Unrelated, but did no one notice Arenas holding to his promise to drop fifty on the Suns? Does it count as revenge if it comes half a year later and no one notices?

I think it makes him the Inigo Montoya of the NBA, or somesuch.

At 12/26/2006 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kobe is the tenured astrophyisicist obsessed with attempting to write the unified field theory, afraid of showing anyone his progress.

Why afraid? Because when the answer is that you can look at one man and simultaneously know and explain basketball then it fundamentaly changes the sport.

Why should he give answers any more indepth than the questions asked? 20 questions is hardly the format to begin waxing philosophic. The little he does is merely to assuage LeBatard's need to feel liked by every player he comes into contact with.

I listen to LeBatard's radio show here in South Florida every day. They constantly rip off FreeDarko (in addition to many other blogs) without giving credit, but at least it makes the show easier to listen to.

P.S. James Brown's hair is FreeDarko.

"Least I have your son." - Leeroy Sinise


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