New Steamed Regard

We've told you that THIS IS A LEAGUE OF STARS, so of course the Gilbert/Kobe fireball is tops on our reflective agenda. You also might have heard that THIS IS A LEAGUE OF PSYCHOLOGY, which is why I found myself entranced by Kobe's post-game reaction:

"You tip your hat and say, 'See you next time,'" [Bryant] said. "I don't think he has a conscience. I really don't. He was chucking out there. He took some horrible shots and he made some big ones. I don't get a chance to play him much. I'll be ready next time."

As Brett's noted, there's a surface irony to Kobe questioning anyone else's "conscience." This supposes, however, that it was intended as a swipe at Gil. I think we can all agree that part of what makes Arenas such a joy to watch is that he does lack a basketball conscience. But rather than come off as stubborn or malicious, it's responsible for his rapturous innocence. If Gilbert sometimes make counterintuitive or downright stupid choices on the court, it's not because he's a rebel or an uncoachable cur; that's not him, and anyone with an internet knows this. It's borderline racist to talk about "instinctual basketball," but Arenas really seems to play best when channeling some as-of-yet-unknown hoops muse. It's not the hedonism of id-driven slop, since there's certainly some kind of logic to his play. That Gil travels this wobbly path without hesitation is, without a doubt, the mark of man secure in his ego.

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.


Since I've already dipped into my dime-store Freud bag, I'll spare you the pat Nietzche reference. But in Kobe's comment, I see nothing less than a confrontation with the unknown and possibly unknowable, the absolute antithesis of his raison de baskebtall. That Arenas won the duel is significant, since it forces Bryant to acknowledge him as a peer; Dr. LIC saw condescension in the excess of pronouns, while I feel the shiver of cautionary distance. You got the sense that Kobe had met his babbling, foreign match, that at least for one night, Arenas's mastery of the game surpassd 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. Maybe he's stuck on processing this for the rematch, or maybe, just maybe, he wonders if it might be of some use to him.


NOTE THAT DOUBLES AS MY POST HERE ON THE BRAWL: No Mas with an interesting observation/bit of information.


At 12/18/2006 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No comments about that thing that went down in MSG the other day? Looking forward to the freedarko breakdown.

At 12/18/2006 8:58 PM, Anonymous jesus shuttlesworth said...

Gotta say I agree w/ DLIC. Upon reading Kobe's comments, I definitely see a certain level of condascension. You can tell from his postgame quotes that it absolutely eats away at him that Agent Zero was his superior for a night.

At 12/18/2006 9:20 PM, Blogger T. said...

anon 8:25pm - Check the last post. 93 posts of commentary.

I don't think anyone is surprised about KB24's dismissive and condescending attitude about Arenas - flash back to his constant referals to Raja Bell as "That Kid" despite Bell locking him up (for a while) during the playoffs last year.

I don't think there's any sort of meta-anylisis needed here to look into Kobe's psyche - other than he's kind of a jerk.

At 12/18/2006 9:33 PM, Anonymous ziploc p said...

witness the FD emergence of the yao...


YAO for MVP, pondered applicable FD icon, came up with hurricane-destructive from all 360 degrees but with deceptively quiet and calm center.

At 12/18/2006 9:49 PM, Anonymous torgo said...

So, is this Kobe as Captain Marvel (summoning his powers with a mystical incantation invoking mysteries of old), LBJ as Superman (uber-being from another world, using his powers to affect/protect our lives), and to cross companies, Arenas as the Phoenix (unknowably powerful, yet young, with a poor understanding of how destructive it can be?). Who else out there is which comic book character? Who's the Juggernaut?

At 12/18/2006 10:15 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Young Shaq was the Juggernaut - an unstoppable force when in motion, and a unmovable object when set.

At 12/18/2006 10:35 PM, Anonymous Jesse said...

Makes perfect sense for Kobe to talk about conscience, properly understood. A pat Nietzsche thing applies, maybe, but only insofar as he reiterates Kant. Ethics doesn't mean being nice to old people (or Shaq) -- it means proving autonomy by being a slave to a law you give to yourself. Hegel, even Rawls, would agree.

The thing is that nearly everybody feels this about Kobe, as a basketball player. He's held endlessly responsible (and culpable), and as he showed in the blue sweater-vest, seems to believe the same thing. If Kobe takes "some horrible shots," he'll believe he had a reason -- he'll believe it was absolutely necessary. Or at least he'll feel like everything demands him presenting it as such.

That's what's so bizarre about Gil to him. The arbitrariness of "took some... made some." No relation between the action and the effect. If anything, Kobe is trying to put the ethical structure foremost with the call to "conscience." He's reminding Gil -- the same way (again the sweatervest) he reminded Kenny, Chuck, and EJ -- that every shot has to come from necessity. Gil, for him, is just an example of heteronomy, impulsiveness ("instinctual," as Shoals is right to be tentative about).

Any undergrad reading of the Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals would make more sense accompanied by Kobe's TNT appearance and this quote. And the comparison of 24 and 0's respective games.

At 12/18/2006 10:53 PM, Anonymous Jesse said...

And by the way, I don't mean to ignore the points above about Kobe being condescending. He certainly is. I'm just saying that the standard way to condescend in defeat is not to accuse the opposing guy of playing without "conscience." That suggests that his dismissal of Gil is different than say, Pujols's of Glavine, or last year's Pistons of just about everyone. He's not putting down Gilbert's game so much as the meaning of Gilbert's game. And it's perfectly consistent with the way Kobe has communicated his game for at least the last few years.

At 12/18/2006 11:14 PM, Anonymous euphronius said...

a baseball player who dod waht Melo did would have gotten 5 games. in a season that is twice as long. 5 games in baseball is 2.5 in basketball. so, 15 games for Melo is 5 times more or so than baseall. thus, we can quantify racism.

btw, bethelhem, i just stumbled across this blog and i must say I love your posts.

At 12/18/2006 11:16 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

j--seems like we agree on a lot here, except you seem to think that there's no discovery here for kobe. that he's making such a public thing out of the conceptual distinction makes me think i'm not completely off-base.

At 12/18/2006 11:18 PM, Anonymous euphronius said...

it would have been interesting if kobe said "he plays without consciousness"

At 12/18/2006 11:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's inexplicable that you haven't written anything about the msg brawl. Just further proof that this is the most pretentious and self-indulgent basketball blog on the internet. Can we get off gilbert arenas' dick for a single, fucking week? Jesus. I can't decide if freedarko is the steven soderbergh of basketball blogs or if steven soderbergh is the freedarko of film directors.

I'll be sure to check on your page tomorrow afternoon.

At 12/18/2006 11:36 PM, Anonymous Jesse said...

Shoals -- True enough. I guess I read the comment as him attempting, in his usual half-step-off style, to tattle on Gilbert (thinking deep down that everyone shares his conceptual framework). Or at least: "Don't you all see?"

But, yeah, it's equally possible that he might just be mulling it over out loud, trying to work it out.

Either way, I guess where I differ is that I don't think he sees it as a possibility. It seems like it would be trying to move backwards from language. To strip a layer of signification away from his world. But I guess that doesn't mean there can't be some envy, all the same.

At 12/18/2006 11:43 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

dear feisty anon.: not sure if you've heard, but i've been putting in some serious work over at the fanhouse. click here for the fd-approved take on the brawl. you might also want to check out the very, very extensive discussion we had about it here, too.

At 12/18/2006 11:53 PM, Anonymous boris said...

Well, 10-30 shooting (and no free throw attempts) against Denver tonight. That's a Gilbert Game, and not a Kobe Game (has Kobe ever attempted 30 shots without an FTA?).

Kobe, with a scoring average down on last year but on a winning team, has to play the gunner card, and he can, because he can say "well, I did my 81 last year, and look where that got us" as a way of simultaneously positioning himself as a better scorer than Arenas, and yet all grown up now. This plays off Arenas' own sanctification as the innocent savant on blogs like FD and its follwers, a sanctification which has its own uncomfortable racial dynamic from this POV.

But this might just be me externalising my lack of fascination for Arenas, while 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.

At 12/19/2006 12:02 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

boris--i think arenas is perfectly bright and functional, just in his own way. especially off the court.

At 12/19/2006 12:13 AM, Anonymous Jesse said...

Boris-- I think I might have been taking the long way around to what you said in your final paragraph, which I think I almost thoroughly agree with. One exception is that I don't know if Kobe's limits are "social limits." I think they're his own limits (he has none on the court, but he has a lot in trying to engineer a relation to self based on his on-court talent). And they're constantly on display. Either way, yes, utterly compelling.

The Mishkin-ization of Arenas is a little uncomfortable in some ways, but I'm not sure if race is one of them for me. If anything, Gilbert as "innocent oddball" seems to me to benefit from the importing of a benign baseball category, one that is usually (Manny might be the big exception here) coded white.

At 12/19/2006 12:14 AM, Blogger T. said...

shoals - fiesty anon is right though. this is the most self indulgent blog on the net. wait, aren't all blogs self indulgent? so is this the most accurate representation of oneself? is freedarko a mirror to my soul?

At 12/19/2006 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to come out and say it. Arenas is little more than a rich man's Jamal Crawford. I've clearly got an axe to grind tonight. Enough with this guy.

At 12/19/2006 12:20 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

gilbert is fascinating exactly because he's not a manny-ish space cadet. he's systematic in his oddity, not random.

i think it would be self-indulgent if i posted anew about something that has been talked to death here already and is currently inescapable in any remotely sports-related media.

pissy anon.: if you can't see it, i'm not here to convert you.

At 12/19/2006 1:13 AM, Anonymous Sourounis said...

I don't know if it's because i just habded in an assignment on Borges, byt this post with "the double" resonates with me in more ways than one.

At 12/19/2006 1:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

arenas does seem to have an interesting things to say about scoring on his blog every now and then, seems to be quite important to him.

btw, who's starting the melo all star campaign?

At 12/19/2006 1:29 AM, Anonymous Aaron said...

I think any time Kobe talks about someone else taking lots of horrible shots, you can't quite take him seriously. I don't buy into Jesse's or Shoals's ideas about Kobe taking offense at the motivation behind Gilbert's game. I think it's gamesmanship, pure and simple.

Kobe has, as Shoals amazingly states it, 'internalized the game of basketball.' And an important part of it is doing everything you can to get a psychological advantage on your opponent. I don't think many do it as effectively as Kobe. I think Kobe sees every single press conference he does as a way to increase his mental edge on the other players, all to further his performance on the court.

For me, the key line is "I'll be ready next time." He's called out Arenas. And Arenas isn't really the type of player who responds positively to being called out like that. Luke Walton in that article called Arenas "a showman." Absolutely, but is he a competitor? Not always. Kobe, though? Always competing. Always playing basketball, even off the court.

wv:eicesh- the Indian Yao

At 12/19/2006 3:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What stands out to me in all this is the type of personality Kobe is choosing to call out. The last, and only player I can remember Kobe calling out in public is Ray Allen, another understated, self-consciously cool guy with a preternatural instinct for scoring. I can't decide whether Kobe believes the best way to get in the head of these types is to call them out in public or if these types just rub Kobe the wrong way. Not to say Ray and Gilbert are of a 'type' but in Kobe's mind maybe they are?

At 12/19/2006 10:05 AM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

I think manny is actually a pretty good comparison for arenas. sure, the media plays him up as a "space cadet," as you say, but there is a stubborn, systematized, almost obsessive element to his weirdness that belies simple air headedness, in a way that's similar to how arenas' game seeks to mechanize chaos.

manny, for example, has never talked to the media, ever. not a single post-game press conference or interview. hardcore sox fans barely know what his voice sounds like.

most athletes appear simple in their movements and motivations (even if this is an illusion created by the regulated stage of a sport), but there is something unknowable about players as like manny or arenas. this, of course, could not be more different than kobe, who plays out his full inner turmoil on the court, with no obfuscation, about 5 nights a week.

At 12/19/2006 10:15 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

maybe the operative word is "flakey." manny could definitely be described as this, gilbert, never.

go ahead, say that the missed free throws in the playoffs were just a guy losing focus.

At 12/19/2006 10:23 AM, Blogger spinachdip said...

white people - you're forgetting Manny's post-World Series quote:

"I don't believe in curses, I think you make your own destination."

It's kinda brilliant, but not Gilberilliant.

At 12/19/2006 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For soccer buffs:

West Germany = Kobe
Brazil = Zero

At 12/19/2006 11:13 AM, Anonymous Steve said...

Call me crazy, but after reading Kobe's quote for a second time, I'd like to think that 24 was just defending himself; i.e.: "He certainly couldn't have done that to my team if he didn't hit insane shots he had no business taking. There's only one person who can score 50+ legitimately, and you're looking at him".

Honestly, that sounds more like something Kobe would say, no?

Shoals, the Zero-Manny comparison isn't all that far off, nor would I be offended if I were either party.

At 12/19/2006 11:43 AM, Blogger O.D.B. said...

To all the Anons. commenting on this post: welcome to FD.

Thank you, Shoals, for responding perfectly to 24 hrs that featured a brawl and the best individual performance of the season followed by the most fascinating post-game comments of the season. I commented on a bunch of blogs yesterday pasting Kobe quotes and wondering why no one was talking about this.

Like the Anons., perhaps Monday was Kobe's introduction to FD as well - or at least the side of FD that his lineage always warned him was out there.

At 12/19/2006 11:58 AM, Blogger spinachdip said...

Anon 10:41am

I'm thinking Arenas is more like Hungary circa 1954. Stylish, with a bull-in-a-chinashop brutality, but ultimately falls short of non-mythical honors. I'm tempted to say 1970s Netherlands, but Arenas lacks the all-around excellence of the Clockwork Oranje.

Kobe = W. Germany? I can dig.

At 12/19/2006 12:04 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

The thing i like best about all manny quotes is that no one really has an idea how good his english is. (he grew up in nyc!?) the destination quip above could be brilliant, could be obtuse, could be both.

and i don't mean to say that they are identical, but the similarities are there: offensive brilliance, stubborn compulsiveness, refusal to play defense, unselfconcious idiosyncracy to the point of denial, overall adorability, etc.

At 12/19/2006 12:18 PM, Anonymous Jesse said...

Okay, let's run with this, Shoals's objections noted. Gilbert is to Manny as Kobe is to... The two most immediate answers would be Ted Williams and 90s Barry. Except that Barry's excellence was tempered with a sort of aloofness that's more Shaq than Kobe.

We also tend to forget the playful marketable Kobe, maybe up until around the 76ers series. So, maybe if Griffey had gotten better post-gloom, as opposed to worse...

At 12/19/2006 1:03 PM, Blogger seezmeezy said...

i think Aaron nailed the word on the head: gamesmanship.

kobe seems to be doing his best phil jackson impression- a backhanded compliment that will bounce off some dudes and really get under the skin of others. it's win-win and he can explain it away pretty easily: "i'm saying that if he misses those shots, they are awful but since he made them i tip my hat and will do better next time."

with that being said, fuck kobe. he's not phil jackson. he's not mj. he's not gil. he's not going to win a championship by himself, and since that's what he honestly wants he's less than the sum of his parts.

has been mentioned but not emphasized: gil shot over 50%. bad shots... really? an aggressive 2 guard got to the line 27 times playing a bulk of the minutes in a game that went to overtime... and what?

as for the anon. comment about dickriding gil, great logic bro. the two biggest stories out of the league this weekend (brawl and 60) are the primary content on a pro bball blog. i really wish newspapers wouldn't dickride the war in iraq or britaany spear's vag flaps.

wv jadmblco: b. bond's pseudonym when hanging out with ron mexico

At 12/19/2006 1:17 PM, Blogger seezmeezy said...

and while i'm at it, the following quote would be douchebaggery from kobe but is pure gold from gil:

"It's a Christmas gift to myself."

At 12/19/2006 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though im a Wiz fan i can see where KB24 was coming from...if a dude drops 60 on u of course ur gonna be mad...at least KB came out and said what he really meant instead of saying the same ole same ole...and Gil is a chucker...i've watched him the last 3+ years...he's a taller, stronger version of AI on the court

wv-mquzdq- Marquis Daniels packs heat at Dairy Queen

At 12/19/2006 3:06 PM, Blogger Inverse Thrasymachus said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12/19/2006 3:10 PM, Blogger Inverse Thrasymachus said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12/19/2006 3:12 PM, Blogger Inverse Thrasymachus said...

Chucking up shots? Isn’t that Kobe's trademark? What is the alternative to chucking up shots to score 60 points: Scoring 60 on 20 or so separate occasions with wide-open jumpers, lay-ups, and uncontested 3 pointers? Would this be commensurate with sinking in tough shots and creating your own openings? Great players make great shots. Checking the "dime store Freud" at the door, but generously borrowing from Nietzche: Great players will their way over their opponent and this is what Gilbert with Kobe and the Lakers. The front line, as Gil put it, couldn't handle him.

At 12/19/2006 3:39 PM, Blogger T. said...

AI to Denver! Dre Miller to Philly!

At 12/19/2006 3:46 PM, Blogger shoefly said...

Well, I don't really know what to say. I'm excited to see what happens but the Iverson trade is still a little dissapointing and I really feel that all those GM's who passed on him considering the 80% price tag were idiots. I don't really know if he works in Denver, but I like bold moves.

Still, if I'm KG I march into McHale's office and demand a trade right now. Wow, does he have to be dissapointed.

I'd be interested in finding out how important the suspensions were in getting the deal done now. Like I said in an earlier post, Denver's chances for the playoffs were questionable before this so it might have made any more considerations moot.

Wow, I have to say though, it's pretty amazing that all Philly could get was two 20's picks and a point guard who's what, maybe the 15th best at his position. Wild stuff.

Fuck it, actually I just talked myself into it, here's why:
1. Karl is the perfect coach for him. Rough around the edges and creative enough to make full use of him. Only Nellie would be better.
2. That teams gonna score a lot of points, and I think AI can really rehab his image there. He and Melo are like two gunslingers searching for redemption. Once Melo gets back AI gets 9 assists per game. He plays the point guard again, and this time is works.
3. I usually hate the guy, but for some reason I think that AI is the guy to get Kenyon Martin back to where he once was. I also think that he will keep Camby in the lineup for the rest of the year through sheer force of will.
4. Goddamn there's some talent in the West now: San Antone, Lakers, Mavs, Suns, Jazz, Nugs, and Rockets if TMac comes back. Hell that's better than last year. Duncan, Garnett, Amare, Nash, Iverson, Melo, Yao, Tmac, Dirk. Damn that's a list of some talent.

Hmm. Well, what really gets me was i was hoping to get a new team to follow, but I already like watching and following the nugs. Would have been nice to have the Wolves or celtics become relevant again.

Another question. Which GM comes off worse out of all this? Obviously Knight, but Ainge and McHale as well. Big balls on Chapman and Karl which I thouroughly approve of.

And again, Fuck Skiles. I think I went through all the steps of emotionaly acceptance in the course of this post, thanks for listening

At 12/19/2006 3:49 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

how could this not be anti-climactic. i'll get my brain in order and have something later.

really, what is there to say that we haven't already?

At 12/19/2006 3:51 PM, Blogger shoefly said...

Note that I meant 80% off price tag. Miller's just one of those guys in the vast middle class, as is almost everyone of the young players that were supposedly untouchable. The only one out of all of the guys these teams said no to, including the celtics, J.R in Denver, Golden State, and Minnesota youngsters I would have had any hesitation shipping would have been Monta. The rest of them I'd give up for AI with pleasure.

At 12/19/2006 3:59 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

Wow. I didn't realize Miller once led the league in assists. Although, I guess that's the kind of thing you'd expect him to do once.

I'm gonna try to digest this until the main post comes up. Does this set in motion a Garnett sweepstakes? KG's pain must be approaching Frozen Han levels.

wv: pjntbm: PJ brown is not taking a dump.

At 12/19/2006 4:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For soccer buffs:

West Germany = Kobe
Brazil = Zero


Duncan = WG
Kobe = Argentina (a lot of flair, but ruthlessly cynical when the need arose)
I second the Gilbert as Total Football Dutch.
There is no-one in the modern NBA who can really be compared to Brazil - really Magic was the only one on that score.

At 12/19/2006 4:53 PM, Anonymous Steve said...

As a Wolves fan, I am beginning preparations for KG's exit. I promised myself I wouldn't cry.

#1 Fan Cliche I will be using: "KG was the only reason to go to the Target Center".

At 12/19/2006 5:08 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

Andre damn miller? that is depressing.

maybe trading ai for some young players wouldn't have meant more wins, but it would have been much more emotionally satisfying. how could telfair not win some of our attention if for the rest of his career he was the kid that AI got traded for? instant tragedy, which means watchability.

(plus, then ai would be on my celtics. could we really not put together a package better than andre miller and two picks in the 20s?! fuck.)

At 12/19/2006 5:22 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

I am hopeful but fearful about AI. Especially with a healthy Kenyon back next year, that's one hell of a line up. But even post-suspensions, that's as tantalizing a 1-3 as there is in the league. And AI with Doug Moe? I feel like I should be more willing to believe that some aspect of the universe is aligning.

I also wanted to say a few things about KB24 and Agent Sand Dollar, but I've gotta go see about some Nugs-Warriors tickets ...

wv: kltet--k-mart loves tet?

At 12/19/2006 5:24 PM, Anonymous fix_the_knicks said...

Shoals -- "What is there to say that we haven't already?"

Well, you could pray for a Nuggets-Suns series in the playoffs, since at this point I can't imagine a more entertaining thing happening in any sport ever. I'd pretty much have to take the week off work, and spend all day playing out the games on NBA live.

Seriously, what team has ever been built like these Nuggets? The closest approximation I can think of is the current Nets, but since they've got a pass-first PG, it's not at all the same. Plus, Denver's bigs can run.

Personally, I'm hoping AI can prove FreeDarko wrong -- embarrass you for being embarrassed by him -- by showing that the me-first ball-hog was a product of the dysfunctional Philly environment, and not something inherent. An AI that trusts his teammates could out-Nash Nash; the defense has to respect his shot so much more than Nash's, so there should be open shooters all over the place. AI/Melo is a two-headed monster that can score at will, and your boy JR can get his 20 just by dunking on the break and open 3's. To say nothing of the locker-room implications with respect to the bigs hinted at by Shoefly. So yeah, I'm excited.

At 12/19/2006 5:43 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

I think Kobe's comment was part petulance, part shock, and part gamesmanship. Kobe brought up the free throws, which is whining; but I do think the quote listed above is in large part just trying to understand what happened. I think the last time Kobe lost a scoring duel like that was when the Lakers lost to the Warriors and both he and Antawn Jamison (ironically present in this game as well) both went for over 50. I think Kobe feels like that shouldn't have happened, and he'll be ready next time to ensure it won't happen again (whether this is to the Lakers benefit or not remains to be seen).

It should be noted that in addition to calling out Ray Allen in the past, this year alone he called out Michael Redd after the similar loss to the Bucks (with a similar "see you next time" quote on his website), and Andrei Kirilenko after the first loss to the Jazz when AK47 said that Kobe didn't score on him at all (Kobe dropped 50+ on AK & the Jazz the next time en route to a Laker blowout win).

Kobe does talk a lot, but it's not just talk. I have no doubt he'll be raring to go against the Bucks and Wiz when the Lakers swing through those towns and he'll clearly remember what Redd and Arenas did in LA. The issue with Kobe is always will his aggressiveness help the Lakers (as it did in the last matchup with Utah) or will it hurt them (as it has on many other occasions)?

AI to the Nuggets... That's either one of the greatest trades ever or a monumental disaster waiting to happen.

At 12/19/2006 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Karl couldn't contain Cassell, Ray-Ray's, and Big Dog's ego (and Tsquared), how is he going to contain the Nugs? What happened in Milwaukee, it was George Karl's Bucks team and it was spectacular. Even in Denver, it was either "Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets" or "George Karl's Denver Nuggets." Karl will be venting through the Denver Post, AI won't stand by it.

OP on the soccer thing. I was rushed when I did it.
Kobe = '74 W. Germany
Zero = The Magical Magyars ('54 Hungary) props Dip.
Bron = Clockwork Orange

At 12/19/2006 7:24 PM, Anonymous boris said...

To clarify an earlier comment, it's obvious that loving Gilbert is loving the Other, as he is tangential to the self-conscious critique that is inherent in both Kobe's game (a ruthless dissection of all that has gone before) and the process of writing about it, even or perhaps especially in a highly stylised blog like FD. Derrida or Spivak would admonish us to take a more critical look at the history of this kind of love (which does have a racial history, even if it's not "about race" per se) and to see in it a kind of settler futurist flight from one's own located identity by attaching oneself to the fantasy of the Other. In this respect, we should understand that a more deconstructive approach would draw us toward Kobe precisely because he is more knowable to us. Our role would be to make visible the secrets within Kobe that he doesn't yet understand, knowing that in doing so we are also illuminating the limitations and possibilities of our own critique.

At 12/19/2006 9:15 PM, Anonymous dave said...

I can't help but bristle a bit at Jesse's characterization of Hegel as having an ethics where an ethical being is a 'slave' to a self-mandated law. I like to think of Hegel’s ethics as being fundamentally about freedom, though a freedom that is socially determined Here, again, 'conscience' is at issue, because it is for Hegel the measure of 'mature Spirit'. On this account I think we can read Hegel as offering an ethical form of Spirit that doesn’t choose to enslave itself to a self-determined law; but rather comes to being - determines itself - through the conscientious consideration of the other. Conscience is not the end result of one's enslaving oneself; but rather the self only emerges during that stage of Spirit when a personal narrative is realized in the narrative of the other.

In a league of rampant individualism, such maturity of Spirit is rare, as it entails a self actualization that does not come at the expense of the collective. A preliminary choice of champion for the Hegelian mature Spirit is undoubtedly Steve Nash, whose individual brilliance over the past three seasons has been realized and recognized in terms of the exaltation of his team, and his legacy – the mark of his individuality - is cemented in this success. I think Hegel had a similar vision for the individual's self-actualization, though his example likely entailed the promotion of the Protestant German State - which is another topic entirely.

But where the Nash comparison wears thin is in the historical component of Hegel's account. Much trial and tribulation precedes the realization of 'mature' Spirit, and Nash seems to be a-historical in this regard, as he has been seemingly cosmically attuned to the egoless, universal flow of the hoop cosmos for some time. He is more appropriately the sort of enlightenment figure who confounds the logic of the game; he is more a Krishna assisting the development of Stoudemire’s budding Arjuna.

Kobe, however, is intriguing when his career is mapped against the progress of Hegel’s Spirit. His career is a progression of trials and triumphs that illustrate a conflict between striving for personal greatness and furthering the greatness of the team. Like Hegel’s Spirit, his 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. One gets the impression that the only way for his legacy to be viewed as a success is by coming to realize is to lead his fabled franchise to another championship in which he takes on the character of the team, the team takes on his own, and the team becomes a moral champion.

The question - and the intrigue around the Lakers - at the moment stems from a seeming ripening of Spirit for KB24. And despite the immature comments regarding Gil the Thrill: are we witness to a maturing Spirit incarnate? I, for one, will be watching.

sorry for the bombast

At 12/20/2006 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are thinking Nas & DMX in Belly, I'm thinking Jay-Z and RKelly. Game recognize game and Melo's going to be exposed really quickly if he tries to play the brat around AI. I give it two years to bloom.

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