If You Need Him, He'll Be Elevating

I can't speak for my oh-so-melodramatic comrades, but I'm done with this NCAA shit. My beloved Jacks fell out so long ago; the school I'm currently enrolled in, and the apple of everyone's eye, are but a memory. And while I think my ancestral Heels are still in it, I don't want to know. Brendan and Julian Wright are both now beginning to really dawn upon my consciousness, and frankly, I'd rather save that for draft time.

I also want to take sole credit for Kobe's run of bombast. See, I keep not watching these games even though I'm home. Last weekend, I was suffering from basketball fatigue. And yesterday, I swore to watch the Grizz-letting, and ended up only briefly tuning in during the fourth. Part of me just didn't believe it could happen again.

Which brings me to my most notable assertion: people hating on Kobe at this point are just total fucking idiots. I'm sorry he's a borderline personality with a Machiavellian earth-plan. Too bad he drove Shaq out of town. Anyone on the internet still wanting to talk about Colorado, you clearly haven't spent enough time on the internet. Or suffer from an excess of conviction, which like has so little to do with a sustained discussion of American athletics.

Here's what's truth here: there is no way to minimize what Kobe stands for in a pure basketball sense. Even if you buy the "he's a selfish player" crap, there's one unavoidable snare: MERELY BEING SELFISH DOES NOT GET YOU ON THE LEVEL OF CHAMBERLAIN, JORDAN, AND BAYLOR. There have goblins full of triumphant scorers—"just scorers"—and yet none of them have been capable of this. I suppose you could venture that Kobe is such an asshole that he's pricked his way into rarefied territory. Yeah dude, that would make a ton of sense.

It's unbelievably difficult to score this much. I get the "81 was weak" or "what's your points if no one else shoots and the team is dirt" criticism of 65. Still, you can't just explain this away from personality flaws. Or violations of the Right Way. Look plant people, this shit is not easy. You can't come into it cheap. And if you watched Bryant play for a split-second, I'd like to think you'd grasp what an advanced basketball presence he is. He gets better every single year, to the point where footage from past rampages is almost embarrassing.

I said this during last year's 'offs: hate him, you're discrediting your own love of the sport. At this point, it reflects poorly on you as a thinking being.


At 3/23/2007 11:21 AM, Blogger Signal to Noise said...

Naw, everyone should keep hating on the man, because it's obviously what drives him to pull these crazy feats off. Kobe lives for mark-ass marks spouting crap about him and overlooking him -- it only makes him go that much harder, refusing to let his team succumb to a an eight-game losing streak.

It would be selfish if his team didn't need those Superman-level performances to win close games; they're of a piece with last year's 82 vs. Toronto.

At 3/23/2007 11:49 AM, Blogger Pacifist Viking said...

Re: the NCAA, you have to love the FreeDarko penchant for hating what it doesn't love.

Re: Kobe/Colorado, are you suggesting that those of us with qualms about somebody accused of rape are fools? I mean, I don't know if Kobe did it. I guess it's 50/50 whether he did or not, and we'll never know. But I don't think I'm some flawed person because I can't get the taint of that accusation out of my association with the player. Naw, I guess I'll accept that I'm a total fucking idiot. Why wouldn't I be a total fucking idiot for still finding it difficult to root for a player accused of raping a woman?

At 3/23/2007 11:56 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

pv---very few people who kill kobe for those charges are motivated by a sincere concern for the issue of sexual assault. plenty of them just hate kobe, and use that as an indication that he's evil.

obviously i think it would be great if people who liked sports had some real conviction, but unfortunately usually all they have is sports convictions. and then somehow these gets used as an excuse to have principles.

the same is true with anyone who thinks that the experience of rooting for a team is the paradigmatic example of community building and loyalty.

At 3/23/2007 12:01 PM, Blogger Pacifist Viking said...

That makes sense: I think most people use the rape charges in ways that reflect how they already feel about Kobe as an athlete. If they hated Kobe, then rape charges just fuel it; if they loved Kobe, they can easily dismiss the rape charges as the baseless accusation of an unstable woman. I think you're right on that (though I admit the charges changed my impression from benign appreciation to something else).

At 3/23/2007 12:03 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

the thing that kills all these "kobe is selfish" haters is that when he scores big, the lakers usually win.

also, shoals, nice use of "paradigmatic example," when most civilians would settle for "paradigm example".

At 3/23/2007 12:14 PM, Blogger Pacifist Viking said...

I will say this: I don't understand why people want Kobe to be less selfish. If he becomes a versatile, unselfish shooting guard, he's one of many players in history. If he starts consistently putting up 50+, he puts himself into a rarified territory. Whether you love him or hate him, it's better to watch him shoot all the time and score 60 than get a run-of-the-mill 27 point, 6 assist game.

At 3/23/2007 12:30 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Yeah, those Wright Bros. can fly.

At 3/23/2007 12:56 PM, Anonymous Iverson fan said...

Kobe may be the greatest scorer in history. The problem is he lets the shit talkers get to him. How many shots did he take against the Suns in the second half of Game 7 last year. How many shots did he take against the Spurs three years ago? He's like a little kid that wants to prove his point to people. It all goes back to White Men can't jump. Kobe would rather look good and lose than look bad and win. Dude has never been the MVP (final or regular season) despite his talent.

At 3/23/2007 1:04 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

you really think, IVERSON FAN, that kobe puts style above winning? he's never been the MVP for a variety of reasons, but to suggest that kobe doesn't do everything in his power to win games is ridiculous.

At 3/23/2007 1:26 PM, Blogger BenQRock said...

I want to hate Kobe as a person. I really do. But this recent stretch of scoring is so impressive that I can almost forgive him and his Lakers for beating Reggie and the Pacers back in 2001.

I don't feel bad for shouting RAPE! whenever he shot a free throw during a game I attended earlier this season. A) he didn't hear me and B) it was cathartic as hell.

At 3/23/2007 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

#1 in jersey sales in the People's Republic: Yoa, T-Mac, Bron-Bron??? Nope, 24. #1 jersey sales for youth sizes (I'll say pre-teens)? Momba. Point here, if you follow the lige only on the Internets or are able to spend 40+ hours a week playing 2k7 on your Christmas present, you adore Kobe. Otherwise 24's overwhelming attribute is douche-baggery.
Jordan was so loved because a) well the whole GOAT status and all b) most people could relate to him on some level. Smoking gars, tossing dice, hitting sticks, and slinging Hanes (hey I wear Hanes just like Air). Kobe's fluent in various vernaculars and born in America, sure it's cool to be able to converse with landscapers, but beyond that is boasting. Kobe starting rushing his wife when she was 17, useless she's aaliyah this is usually frowned upon. The rape and the ring. Just tough to get behind (pun) this guy.

At 3/23/2007 1:47 PM, Anonymous Iverson fan said...

Recluse, what is your take on the whole Game 7 thing last year? Do you think he was just trying to get his teammates involved? It wasnt like he was penetrating and dishing. He would hold the ball for 3 seconds and just pass it off. He wasn't creating. Can you imagine another great pulling some shit like that? It's unthinkable to think of Jordan or Bird or Magic or Nash doing some childish shit like that. What are your feelings on Phil's book about Kobe's selfishness?

At 3/23/2007 2:40 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

It's been said before but people who say the rape case is the reason they hate Kobe are 99% of the time just being disingenuous. People have openly hated Kobe since his third year in the NBA and they booed him at the All-Star game before that fateful summer where he was accused of rape. Also, as far as rape cases go, that was a particularly flimsy one, with the accuser having two other guys' semen inside her at the "post-rape" examination, with her having told the police she never said "no" and her refusing to testify (oh, but she sued him for money though, so clearly her claim was credible).

People hating on Kobe for what he does on the court is a total mystery to me. Are people aware that in the Toronto game where he scored 81 that the Lakers were trailing by 16 points in the second half? How many people actually watched that game? Until Kobe caught fire (note that 55 of his points in that game came in the second half) the Lakers were getting embarrassed by one of the worst teams in the league. But Kobe started raining threes and suddenly the Lakers made a game of it.

Iverson fan wants someone to explain Game 7 of last year. Did you watch that game? Are you aware that at halftime Kobe had 23 points and the Lakers were still losing by 15? Did you know that in the three wins in that series Kobe was the leading scorer in only one of them (Smush Parker and Lamar Odom were the leading scorers in the other two). Kobe scored 50 in Game 6 in what ended up being one Tim Thomas 3 from a Laker series win, but the Lakers did lose that game; so Kobe comes out in Game 7 scoring at a 46-point clip and finds his team down 15 at the half, so he decides to try to revert to what won the earlier games in the series by trying to get his teammates involved. Of course, this doesn't work and three minutes into the second half the lead is up to 21. Game over. The Lakers were just outclassed in that series, they really had no business even being in a seventh game against Phoenix, so it's silly to hate on Kobe for not somehow going one on five and overcoming a 20 point deficit by himself.

Shoals is right, just being selfish won't get a player to the level that Kobe is at right now. Let this sink in: Jordan only scored more than 60 points four times in his career (surpassed only by Wilt, who did it 32 times). Kobe has done it twice in a week. Hell, Kobe has almost averaged that for three games (58.3 ppg over his last 3). There's only one other player in the league who's even scored more than that average in a game this year, and that was Agent Zero. Once. In double overtime.

There's a poll on NBA.com right now asking where Kobe ranks among the greatest scorers in NBA history. The options are "The Absolute Best", "He Makes the Top 10", "Definitely Top 3" and "Just Not Quite Up There Yet". As of now, over 80% of the quarter million people who've responded say "Just Not Quite Up There Yet" which makes me wonder who would be in these people's top 10 if Kobe wasn't there. Has there ever been a player in another sport who seems to be the consensus best player but who is so hated like this? Even A-Rod won an MVP, after all.

At 3/23/2007 3:03 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

three quick things about that game 7.

(1) the lakers, who were clearly outmanned, were in game 7 against the suns, a top 3 team in the league. that alone tells you whether or not kobe cares about winning.

(2) if kobe were putting "looking good" over winning, why did he play like that in game 7? did he look good? no. as you said, he would hold the ball and pass it off. he barely made an impact on the game in the second half, so it's pretty much the worst example to cite for the proposition that all kobe cares about is looking good.

(3) THAT WAS ONE GAME. out of almost 100 last season. out of hundreds in his career. i can't explain what he was thinking during that half. i didn't get it then, and i don't get it now. but, you're going to need to point to a pattern of behavior instead of one extremely aberrant game to support your argument.

At 3/23/2007 3:32 PM, Anonymous Iverson fan said...

It's bullshit to say that it was just one game. It was the single most important game of his post Shaq career. I wasnt using game 7 to back up my argument that Kobe would rather have 40 shots in a loss than 13 in a win (I think the fact that he refused to play second fiddle to Shaq proves that).
What I am saying and no one can deny, is that when his team needed him the most, he was not there. Whether he was trying to prove a point or not, the fact of the matter is that he did not do all that he could to help his team win. I can't even say that about Mark Madsen. And weren't the Lakers up 3-2 in that series? Or was it 3-1? A lot of my problem with Kobe is that his game is so forced. How many fadeaway 28 footers does the guy take with a hand in his face? Even if he makes some, that is just a bad decision. Just like it is a bad decision when KG shoots 20 foot jumpers when he is such a dominant presence inside. Is that really the best look they can get? It just seems like Kobe will never understand the delicate balance between scoring like a maniac and making your teammates better. What is sad is that had Shaq stayed, Kobe eventually would have been the man, just like Dwyane is now with Shaq. Kobe is undeniable as an individual on the court, but as for being a great teammate and winner, he has not yet matured. And great, the guy can put up 60 on the Grizz and the Blazers and still barely win. Get past the first round without Shaq. He did put out a killer rap CD though.

At 3/23/2007 3:51 PM, Blogger Zack said...

First off, let me assure you all that I'm a Kobe hater, not in the sense that I don't respect his game, but in the sense that i'm a Blazers fan. And any Blazer fan knows where this hatred stems from. So I'm probably biased here.

Yams, you say that in the 81 point game the Lakers were down by 16 in the second half, and you applaud Kobe for single handedly getting them back in the game. BUT, then you say that the Lakers were down 15 at half, 21 three minutes in, and it was okay to revert to what won the earlier games in the series. Pick a side.

I don't buy the argument that he reverted back to what helped them win the other games in the series. I seem to recall him standing near half-court, but maybe my memory serves me poorly here.

Other than that, Recluse is probably right, yes it was one game, yes he practically willed (not just as a scorer) a mediocre supporting cast to stealing a series against the Suns (were it not for the Tim Thomas shot), so he cares about winning.

Bean Thousand (has it caught on? is that even the name? I forget), is in a lose-lose situation. He's on love-hate team, won three titles with Shaq, and seems to have a persona that he wants to push, rather than one that is real (Obama vs. Bryant, we've been there before). I'd say you've got to put him in the top 3 scorers of all time with Wilt and MJ, but I'm only 22 and can barely even remember Jordan.

I would say that Barry Bonds was a consensus best player who was so hated in the same way - maybe 4 years ago, maybe dating back to his time with the Pirates - multiple MVP's pre-steroids - but he's really just a dick.

At 3/23/2007 3:57 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

"A lot of my problem with Kobe is that his game is so forced. How many fadeaway 28 footers does the guy take with a hand in his face? Even if he makes some, that is just a bad decision."

"It just seems like Kobe will never understand the delicate balance between scoring like a maniac and making your teammates better.

"He did put out a killer rap CD though."


At 3/23/2007 3:59 PM, Blogger Zack said...

Is there any way that Iverson Fan doesn't understand the hypocrisy (is it irony too, or just stupidity?) in his name.

At 3/23/2007 4:17 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Though I dislike Kobe's personality, I do admire him as a basketball player. In fact, if the Lakers had stayed healthy this season, I think he would be the most worthy candidate for the MVP.

(Note: One thing that does piss me off about the man is all his retarded 14 year old fans on the Internet who think Steve Nash didn't deserve the MVP last season. If anyone deserved the award other than Nash, it was LeBron. I'm convicned that if LBJ had anyone nearly as good as Lamar Odom as a teamate, the Cavs would win 55+ games.)

At 3/23/2007 4:34 PM, Blogger Hector said...

I think the biggest flaw with Kobe is that he doesn't seem capable of finding a balance between KB81 and his "selfless for the team" image.

When they went on this terrible streak he more or less flat out refused to take things on his back like he's doing now, what took him so long? winning 3 of 18 or whatever it was finally was the straw that broke his back, or was it all the personal attacks and criticism he's been taking, in which case it goes to show he is pretty damn selfish if losing tons of game won't motivate you to do your best, but being called a dirty player and being a corporate whore will.

None of that takes away from his game, which he has tons of.

At 3/23/2007 4:51 PM, Anonymous Iverson fan said...

So I'm assuming that you have no response to my argument. Iverson does not shoot Fadeaway 3s very often. Second, until recently he never had a teammate as talented as Lamar Odom. Iverson has won an MVP at 6 foot tall. He leaves everything on the court every game. You telling me he didnt make E Snow, G Lynch, McKie, and Raja Bell better? Come on. Other than Mutumbo that was a team full of bench players and they battled with the Kobe, Shaq, and Phil every game of that series. Plus 16 assists in the Game 7 of the conference finals against Ray Allen and the Bucks. What. And I will argue that Iverson is the best rapping baller that the NBA has seen. No disrespect to Shaq. "Everybody stay fly, get money, kill, and fuck bitches." It's not an ADIDAS remake or anything though. So yeah way to divert a discussion. Kobe quit plain and simple. And a great week made everybody forget about it. Well, not everyone.

At 3/23/2007 4:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Phil has zero to do with what Kobe does on the court? You all should read Lazenby's Lakernoise on a regular basis.

At 3/23/2007 5:07 PM, Blogger Rickhouse said...

Anyone who doesn't think Kobe is best the best player in the NBA at this point is fucking stupid. I'm from Chicago and grew up with His Airness, so i hate saying this, but Kobe so close to Jordan's level right now it's scary. He has the best offensive repitoire in the NBA, and when he has to be hes a lock down defender.

At 3/23/2007 5:11 PM, Anonymous youshoottoomuch said...

kobe's play in game 7 seemed to me an attempt to solve a problem, ie. how to win. and i seriously wonder how much the zenmaster had to do with all of it. saying that he "quit" is assinine. he did not solve said problem, yes. he made the wrong decision. so what?

kobe has obviously made some egregious decisions. kobe is also not someone i would personally want to hang out with. but his game is absurd. i would need to hunker down on some game footage for empirical certainty, but when he gets in these scoring fits it seems like his shot flattens out and moves like a laser to bucket. kb24 laser scorer, in stores now.

At 3/23/2007 5:12 PM, Anonymous eauhellzgnaw said...

For a liberated fan, you can be quite closed-minded.

You all have done an excellent job of arguing that fandom attached to pure style is legitimate; however, you fuck up by belittling the traditional view that privileges wins and losses and “playing the right way.” Validating the former doesn’t require invalidating the latter.

The bigger point though, is that you act as if one cannot praise Kobe’s skill/talent and still hate him as a player. Over the last couple of seasons, Kobe has become the most complete offensive guard we’ll likely ever see. The fact that he can score from anywhere on the floor over double teams is extremely impressive on a technical level; on another, who cares if he’s going off against ass teams like Portland, Memphis, and Toronto (last year)? It’s meaningless in the grand scheme. The Lakers may be fighting for playoff position, but if the other 4 or so teams fighting for the last couple playoff spots weren’t run so ineptly, Kobe’d be watching the playoffs from home again. That may not matter to you, o liberated one, but it does to me.

Can’t you see how it’s a reflection on Kobe the player that on certain nights the only way the Lakers can beat a crap team is if Kobe shooting close to 40 times? That’s certainly an indictment on his teammates and his coach, but mostly it’s a testament to how Kobe, as great as he is, can’t elevate the play of his teammates. He definitely complemented his only great teammate, but he can’t make mediocre-to-good players better; in fact, he is probably making them worse. That’s why I can’t stand him as a baller. You may find my reasons arbitrary and meaningless, but they’re my own, and they’re no less legitimate than yours.

By the way, I have never hidden my hatred of Kobe the public persona, but I recognize that this is separate from my assessment of Kobe the player.

At 3/23/2007 5:18 PM, Anonymous Iverson fan said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. Well put. Response anyone?

At 3/23/2007 5:28 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

first, for pv: i saw your comment on my fanhouse post on phil last night. due to a typo, i made it seem like he was complaining about the score, when it was the actual live game that was being shown on the scoreboard.

next, for ezysbasgdw:

have you ever watched the other lakers shoot?

really, who on that team should be racking up points, other than maybe odom (who is clearly used for lots of other things instead)?

and you know what, fuck this whole "makes other players better" business. that's what point guards do. sorry that kobe is, wait for it, "the most complete offensive guard we'll ever see." exactly which other NON-POINT GUARD greats specialized at always making other people better?

that's an exaggeration, admittedly. but i just don't see why kobe is held to an insanely high standard for "well-rounded" just because his teammates suck and he specializes in lighting it up. it's not like he doesn't know how to play within the flow of a game (unlike AI).

"makes teammates better" is such a cliche, but it's hardly ever defined clearly, or adjusted for differences in position, personnel, etc.

this is liberated because i defend kobe as zealously as a homer should.

and iverson fan, what are you, a fucking pirate's parrot?

At 3/23/2007 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The NBA isn't a controlled scientific experiment. Just like with any type of data, the interpretation of data isn't determined by the data itself -- there are multiple interpretations based on the same set of facts. It's impossible to conclude -- one way or the other -- whether or not Kobe is individually brilliant and pushing shitty teammates to semi-lofty heights, or individually brilliant and suppressing the talents of his teammates. If we could replay the conditions of exact games and replace Lamar with Marion and Kwame with Amare, then we could have a meaningful argument either way.

Right now, this argument is just a restatement of personal preference -- i.e. "I like Kobe" or "I dislike Kobe". As the FD people have said, the one indisputable fact is that Kobe is playing at an awesome personal level, and his team is winning.

Just appreciate what the man is doing from an aesthetic and excitement level. The rest is completely meaningless dialogue, at least that's how I see it

At 3/23/2007 5:51 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Arrrr!!! you got me. Dude made a better post than any of you and I backed it up. Yeah I'm totally on his dick. I just find it funny that when Recluse seemed to call me a hypocrite for liking AI and not Kobe he had no response to my points as to why they are different and obviously neither do you. You think AI fell off the last couple of years? That seems to be the sentiment around here. And that Kobe has propelled himself into Jordan territory. That's bullshit. It's like you guys have forgotten the way Jordan and Magic and those guys played. And for the record there is a difference between being the most talented player and the best. Nash is the best. Kobe is the most talented. His talent just doesnt manifest itself in playoff wins. There are tons of non PG guys that made those around them better. You call it a cliche cuz your ballhog ballers just don't do it. Hakeem, Barkley, Bird, Jordan, Drexler, Duncan just to name a few. And am I the only one that thinks Kobe is overrated as a defender? You guys' arguments are so weak that you revert to childish debate techniques rather than try to point out what you disagree with.

At 3/23/2007 5:57 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

look, dickhead, i have plenty of responses to your points, but i also happen to have a job and a life, so sorry if i don't get back to your comments on a blog immediately after you write them.

At 3/23/2007 5:57 PM, Anonymous ronald james davis said...

the problem, is that as much as they try to avoid it, their hatred of kobe "the person" invariably crosses over and becomes criticism of him as a player, to the tune of, as shoals mentioned, holding him to a ridiculously high standard. he is the best basketball player in the world right now, and that is all.

At 3/23/2007 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not to like Kobe's game because he's not michael jordan is insane to me. The same people who love Mark Madsen for having minimal court vision, bruce bowen for only being able to hit a corner 3...
Kobe's game isn't perfect but neither is anyone else in the league... if you could name a bunch of selfish players who drop 60 a game then fine, but what Kobe's shown this year is that he's comitted to the team, and to winning. If you look at the Lakers roster this year could you really have expected them to be any better than a 6 seed... with EVRYONE healthy.
He started the season averaging about 27pts and sharing the ball. the truth is the lakers don't have the players. Their starting point is SMUSH PARKER... he's a good back-up, but not the starting point on a contending team. Andrew Bynum starts games for the lakers... what more could/should Kobe be doing??

At 3/23/2007 6:09 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Again with the insults huh? you all really make yourself look petty. A guy without a basketball blog didn't accept your opinion as fact, so you call him a dickhead and a pirates parrot? I never even crossed that line with either of you. Did my points really upset you that much? Damn. I must have hit a sore spot. You must really have a thing for the Mamba.

At 3/23/2007 6:21 PM, Blogger S-Love said...

Kobe is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, an all-time great. I don't like his game aesthetically: he seems an amalgam of Johnny Newman and Johnny Neumann, elevated to a ridiculous level of talent. I suspect that he's an overrated defender, but I'm not a good enough judge of defense for that to mean anything. He has an effective jump shot with good form, but it looks ugly to me, like the anti-Tao. Tex Winter says that Dwyane Wade already is one of the all-time great guards. I'm not going to doubt Mr. Winter, but no one has to enjoy Wade's game even if he's unquestionably great. (Maybe I don't understand the Wade hate here, but I'm surprised no one has mentioned that.) Kobe's "world's greatest wannabe" (his attempts at nonchalance, etc. come off as forced) persona fascinates me, but that doesn't (or shouldn't) color my vision of his game.

Someone above noted that Game 7 against the Suns was just one game. Aren't the 60 point games just four games? True enough that Kobe is one of the game's great scorers historically, but last year, with an 81 and a 62 point game, Kobe averaged two fewer points per game than Jordan in his best scoring year. It seems obvious to me that Jordan is still quite a bit above Kobe as an overall player and as a scorer. (And Jordan did do his damage in the handcheck era.) Kobe has one more 60+ game than Jordan. The 81 game says something, but with more than a handful of 55+ games for both players, I’m not sure that the 60+ stat says much.

It seems bothersome that the effusive praise for Kobe (especially the elevating of him to BEST EVAR status) comes after a high scoring game. Kobe haters might be overreacting, but what about Kobe enthusiasts? Really though, if you're going to cream yourself over the guy who scores a lot of points in one game, why elevate your discourse beyond calling someone a "fag" for having a sports opinion at variance with your own? (Not that some of the above isn't uncomfortably close to that.) For me, Kobe's finest moment was against Portland a few years ago. He had that ridiculous pump-fake three pointer that defied several laws of physics.

And I reject the idea that Kobe's hated. He is loved ostentatiously. And that love always brings up the idea that he's ostensibly hated as a sort of legitimating move. The real hate is still for Wilt Chamberlain. We live in an era with a Goliath that everyone roots for, and I recall the countless hours on ESPN dedicated to proving that Kobe's 81 was better than Wilt's 100. (Cause like, Wilt was taller than everyone. I'm sure the debate will continue during Chuck Nevitt's HOF induction.) Why not just send an ESPN van to piss on Wilt's grave?

At 3/23/2007 6:26 PM, Anonymous paper tiger said...

i love that even in FD land kobe is the most polarizing motherfucker out.

personally, i've thought the guy was a douche for a long time, but i recognize he's amazing. and then the joy i get from watching him starts to seep in and i find my opinion of him as a person invariably shifting positive. but that gets on my fucking nerves. as shoals mentions above, it's unfortunate that sports convictions get twisted in heads into real principles. so i'm happy to reject "unimpugnable player equals unimpugnable person" and cling to my negative opinion of kobe, even if it takes some maintenance. and, frankly, you can't really be claiming that his basketball truthyness negates any arguable dickishness. or even suggesting that they're related. cause to say his play trumps all else, that's your sports convictions becoming principles. and to suggest that the play doesn't cancel the personality, well that's suffering from an irrelevant "excess of conviction."
or am i misreading? maybe you're just lionizing his game, not his whole? maybe you're not claiming that there is no acceptably rational reason to dislike kobe?

(lemme get a parrot.)

At 3/23/2007 6:26 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

What is most frustrating about all the Kobe hate that I see here (and elsewhere) is that it's readily apparent reading a lot of the comments that most people really don't watch the guy play very often and are just parroting things they've heard or read by fellow haters.

For people who contend that Kobe supposedly "quit" on the Lakers in Game 7 last year "when they needed him most", are you not aware that in the previous game (with LA on the verge of eliminating Phoenix in 6) Kobe scored 50 on them? For a guy who was "quitting" on his team or "trying to prove a point" by having his team lose, isn't that the wrong way to do it? What possible point could he have been trying to prove by losing in the playoffs anyway?

For the people who dismiss his big scoring outings as "only doing it against crap opponents", were you unaware that last year against Dallas he outscored them by himself through three quarters 62-61? Surely Dallas isn't considered a crappy opponent, are they? They did come within minutes of winning the NBA title last year, after all.

For people wondering why Kobe wasn't able to score like this during the bad stretch preceding these three games, are you aware that Lamar Odom, Luke Walton and Kwame Brown were injured for most of that stretch? If your reaction to reading that is "so what" keep in mind those are the 2nd, 3rd and 4th best players on the Lakers. How many other teams in the league can win many games missing their 2nd, 3rd and 4th best players?

For those who say Kobe doesn't make his teammates better, first look at who his teammates are, and then look at who they were before they played with Kobe. Smush Parker couldn't even make an NBA team and was playing overseas before he joined the Lakers (granted, most of his success was a result of the Lakers' gaping hole at the 1, but the dude has averaged over 11 ppg both years playing w/ Kobe). Chris Mihm and Kwame Brown were both considered lottery busts before the Lakers, and even though they haven't exactly "proven the critics wrong" since, they both most definitely have improved upon what they were prior to coming to LA. Odom was on his way to a career year this year until he got injured (twice), and in last year's playoffs he outplayed Shawn Marion. Until Luke Walton plays somewhere else we'll never know if his breakout year (injury notwithstanding) had anything to do with playing w/ Kobe, but he's certainly going to be a top FA this summer, which isn't bad for a mid-second round pick. Mo Evans is having a career year in his first as a Laker. Andrew Bynum is by all accounts far more developed than anyone would have thought at his age. Now, is Kobe definitely the reason for all this? Of course not. But these are all guys who play with Kobe and are looking better than they had been, so at the very least you can't say Kobe is making them worse or taking away from them in some way.

The simple fact is that people are going to hate Kobe no matter what. It doesn't matter what he does, people will find flaws with it. The same way Barkley chastised Kobe for "shooting too much" in Game 6 last year and for "not shooting enough" in Game 7; and the way Bill Simmons ripped Kobe for not playing the 4th quarter of that Mavs game where he scored 62 with LA up by 30+, only to then rip him for playing the whole game against Toronto en route to 81 (a game in which the Lakers only led by 4 with 7 minutes to play). People hate Kobe and they probably don't even know why. They certainly hate him too much to bother to watch him, so they hear this nonsense from sportswriters and sportscasters and they just vomit it all up every time Kobe is brought up.

At 3/23/2007 6:33 PM, Blogger BenQRock said...

Actually, it appears as though Iverson's play has tailed off in recent years, whereas Kobe's play has improved, at least in terms of scoring.
I present to you a graph:

No one's doubting that Iverson's a good player, at least not as far as I can tell. What's at issue here, as Recluse pointed out, is that Iverson is just as guilty of the crimes you accuse Kobe of. It's hard to dispute at this point that Kobe Bryant is the best guard in the league, or even the best player. I wonder if Iverson even rates on any top-5 lists at his position. Kobe, D-Wade, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, even Kevin Martin, they're all better players than Iverson at this point in their respective careers. And while Iverson is a sure hall-of-famer, he's not nearly on the same level as Kobe. This is coming from a guy who has hated Kobe for the last decade and whose favorite player was, for a time, Allen Iverson.

Use your head to reason, not your heart.

At 3/23/2007 6:48 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

ben, What do you think he was doing in game 7 then? Was he tired? I think that he was trying to prove to Phil and the whole world that his teammates are not what they should be and that he is justified in shooting 40 shots a game because his guys cant make a shot. He did it against the Spurs 3 years earlier. And let's talk about teammates. Were BJ armstrong John Paxson, Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant, Will perdue, really anything to write home about? what about Luc Longley Bill Wennington, Ron Harper, Randy Jordon Steve Kerr, Judd fucking Buschler? Jordan did it without a dominant center or PG. And Iverson's game has fallen off? 3 games ago against Phoenix he had 44 points 15 assists and 5 rebounds. Against Phoenix. that's 74 points the guy was responsible for probly more counting 3s and the passes that led to fouls. Hes averaging 28 and 7.5. And they blew out the Suns. Before that he blew out the Lakers and Kobe. Yeah Iverson is going in the toilet. Go worship 24 some more. Like I said, make it past the first round without Shaq. Just do it. Right?

At 3/23/2007 6:51 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

Sorry ben, the first part of that was directed at yams. The second part was for you.

At 3/23/2007 6:54 PM, Blogger Cary said...

Iverson Fan - You put Barkley alongside your pantheon with A.I? You sound like a 76'ers homer to me. Plus, AI's run came in the "Leastern Conference" you provoked the remarks from the commenters, regardless if they should have been said or not.

You guys always forget that Kobe has 3 rings in a row. Shaq is Shaq but Shaq is waq without a supreme guard on his team. You can't take those championships away from Kobe simply because he had Shaq. You then have to do the same thing to Magic having Kareem, or Dr. J with Moses.

Kobe has been clutch in the playoffs since 2000. His desire and effort is unquestionable. That game 7 argument is B.S.

Now, is he as good as Jordan? NO! But that's okay. You know what, no one is. Better than Magic or Bird? NO!!!

I don't think any of that is even the point. There is just so much debate over this guy, which, for better or worse is probably his goal in the first place. None of us can stop talking about him. That might be his most "Jordan-esque" quality.

At 3/23/2007 7:02 PM, Anonymous Sourounis said...

Horace Grant, Kerr, Ron Harper as nothing special?

Where you even watching basketball back then or do you just check their stats before u write iverson fan?

And it's kind of convenient to leave aside Pippen and Kukoc.

At 3/23/2007 7:05 PM, Anonymous eauhellzgnaw said...

It’s not simply a matter of his teammates being poor shooters/offensive players; it’s a matter of the model of Kobe + a cast of 2nd tier players cannot yield success. It’s his teammates, it’s his coach, it’s the system, but it’s him too. I can understand why you think it’s unfair. He can’t help that his talents and his particular cast aren’t suited for “traditional” basketball success; but he’s partially responsible for the situation.

Again, that’s fine that you say “fuck the making teammates better argument.” I respect that. But you don’t seriously believe that only good point guards make their teammates better, do you? That’s what great players at all positions do. I don’t even think Kobe is incapable of making his teammates better; he just can’t do it in this current configuration: without another alpha dog to complement him. The Shaq/Kobe tandem certainly elevated the play of a group of OK players—and it wasn’t just a case of the B listers hitting wide open shots.

“i just don't see why kobe is held to an insanely high standard for "well-rounded" just because his teammates suck and he specializes in lighting it up. it's not like he doesn't know how to play within the flow of a game (unlike AI).”

I never said he wasn’t a well-rounded player. He is probably the most well-rounded player in the league, given that he actually plays defense. Plus, his teammates, at least the ones who actually have talent, suck in part because Kobe is an offensive black hole in the same way that AI was in Philly. The difference is, at least for a couple of seasons, AI (and LB) made his crappy teammates better, while Kobe can’t do the same thing.

Kobe’s held to an insanely high standard because he’s an insanely good player. I would take this argument seriously if you all didn’t show a certain anti-Lebron sentiment at times (people don’t just bitch about Lebron because of the hype and the league sanctioning; they bitch about him because he’s a fucking ridiculous talent who, if given the right situation and the right motivation, could explode the player mold). To use another analogy, nobody cares when Young Jeezy makes a crappy album, but a mature Nas’ inability to craft another cohesive album is damn near tragic precisely because he’s so good.

And don’t forget that Kobe brought this shit on himself: he was tired of being a sidekick. He wanted to be the man and prove that he could win on his own.

Finally, You all have some odd interpretations. The Lakers, in the midst of a terrible losing streak, run off a few close wins against a few loser teams that they should blow out, and that means “His team is winning?” Their last quality win was at Utah nearly a month ago. Before that, at The Spurs another month before.

At 3/23/2007 7:07 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

cary, the problem with your argument is that Magic and Dr. J were the best players on their team when they won.(Moses was best earlier but for the championship it was J) Shaq was the best on those Lakers teams. And I was refering to what Barkley did with the Suns. No love for the sixers here. Y

Yeah Kukoc was sooo dope. Are you kidding? I just think Jordon won with whoever Phil threw out there. Yeah I watched damn near every game. Those guys became good because Jordan let them take big shots. He gave Kerr the shot to win the finals. You think with the finals on the line, Kobe would pass to Vujacic or Cook for the win? Hell no.

At 3/23/2007 7:31 PM, Blogger Cary said...

Kobe is 28 years old! Magic won a title or two when Kareem was still in his prime, and ditto on the Moses/Dr.J rational. If Kobe and Shaq still played together, Kobe would have for sure taken the reigns as he is doing now.

I just don't get why you're judging him so harshly, man. He is pretty remarkable, and he always has been. You can't tell me he isn't getting better either. That 26-13 start was a telling sign of how good Kobe can lead.

With the exception of Jordan (post-1988) and Magic/Bird, none of those elite players you mentioned since 1970 have been a championship contender EVERY YEAR. So to judge Kobe not getting out of the first round already post-shaq is again not justified. Now, let's talk in 10 years. if kobe doesn't get a squad to the elite levels with enough quality talent around him, then I'll agree with you.

The way he's playing this year and this week, i can't imagine how he won't again shortly be playing for that ring.

At 3/23/2007 7:43 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

a few responses for eauhellzgnaw:

He can’t help that his talents and his particular cast aren’t suited for “traditional” basketball success; but he’s partially responsible for the situation.

Is he responsible because he drove Shaq away? Because if the claim is that he's responsible because of the kind of player he is, I'm wondering what other player he could have been as a 6'6" SG.

Again, that’s fine that you say “fuck the making teammates better argument.” I respect that. But you don’t seriously believe that only good point guards make their teammates better, do you?

I didn't mean "the idea of making teammates better sucks," just that's it's a rather carelessly employed argument. What it means for Kobe to make people better is not the same as what it is for Duncan, or Shaq, or Nash, or Garnett, to make them better. You went on to reference the configuration of that team; shouldn't we be judging Kobe's effect on his teammates based on what he's expected to do in that offense, as the weapon he is?

Plus, his teammates, at least the ones who actually have talent, suck in part because Kobe is an offensive black hole in the same way that AI was in Philly. The difference is, at least for a couple of seasons, AI (and LB) made his crappy teammates better, while Kobe can’t do the same thing.

Those Sixers teams worked like this: Brown made the rest of the team play his game, Iverson did his thing, and that fragile marriage worked for like two seasons. Kobe shoots a lot, yes, but he also works within the offense when anyone else can make a shot, and most definitely can rein in his game when necessary.

Kobe’s held to an insanely high standard because he’s an insanely good player. I would take this argument seriously if you all didn’t show a certain anti-Lebron sentiment at times

I am anti-Cavs-bullshit, and anti-LeBron not giving a fuck. When either of these things go well, I would watch LeBron over Kobe in a heartbeat.

The question there isn't whether we believe in the kind of effort LeBron makes, but whether he was obviously dogging it. I'm lobbying for respect for Kobe; the best you could've said for LeBron's season until a few weeks ago was some kind of asterik.

To use another analogy, nobody cares when Young Jeezy makes a crappy album, but a mature Nas’ inability to craft another cohesive album is damn near tragic precisely because he’s so good.

Rocco Chappelle once told me to never fuck with the Kobe/Nas analogy, so I won't. Suffice it to say that my appreciation of Kobe is almost all based on what he actually does, whereas with LeBron it's always bound up in the question of potential. Like Kobe is rad because he actualized the fuck out of himself. I don't demand that from LeBron to be mesmerized--I just need a little bit of spark.

And btw, I never said the Lakers were winning or doing well or anything.

At 3/23/2007 7:44 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

AI Jr., whether or not you think Kukoc was ILL or not, you seem to keep forgetting about Pippen. Pippen had about as great an impact on the game, from my vantage point, as Shaq did.

Now I know you just about tossed your tea and crumpets on that one, but recognize: Dude was All-World defense. Dude was unstoppable scoring inside or out. Dude could play three positions and held defenses accountable for any adjustments they tried to make for Mike. He's one of the 50 greatest ever.

I guess I've lost track of your argument anyway, are you trying to say Iverson and Kobe are equals because neither elevate their teammates the way Jordan did? Are you trying to say Kobe can't will his teams to win with his otherworldly scoring? Are you just trying to pick a fight?

You can hate Kobe for any number of reasons and still appreciate what a great player he is, as I do. You can hate his guts out and still kick yourself when you miss one of his on-court supernovas. I think this is essentially the point Shoals was trying to make: Whatever you feel about him, you've got to feel the realness of his game. If you don't, you're missing out. I don't get what all the words and hard feelings are about.

At 3/23/2007 7:54 PM, Anonymous GelatiMouse said...

Shoals were you high when you wrote this -> "There have goblins full of triumphant scorers" haha it's niiiice and IversonFan who is this Randy Jordon you speak of? Did you mean Craig Hodges?

At 3/23/2007 7:55 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

By the way, the reason I hate Kobe? The purest reason a sports fan can hate another player: He's too good. I love watching him but I hate the inevitability of his greatness, particularly when he exerts it upon my favorite team.

At 3/23/2007 8:00 PM, Blogger Max Airington said...

Im surprised that no one has pointed out that Jordan actually has quit on his team in critical playoff situations. Wilt too.

"Bryant's fade was curious, and he might have been angrier than he would acknowledge, but, even assuming it was more out of pique than duty, it didn't compare to the most famous disappearances.

The 76ers' Wilt Chamberlain took two shots in the second half of Philadelphia's 100-96 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the 1968 Eastern finals, resulting in community-wide outrage and Wilt's demand to be traded that sent him to the Lakers.

Yes, Michael Jordan did it too, in Game 5 of the 1989 Eastern finals, when the Bulls were tied, 2-2, with the Bad Boy Pistons, who dogged him according to their "Jordan Rules."

When Jordan drove, it was, in the words of the great Lester Hayes, like running a gantlet of pit bulls wearing pork chop underwear, prompting Bulls Coach Doug Collins to suggest Mike go to teammates to throw the Bad Boys off the trail.

Jordan took eight shots in 46 minutes in a 94-85 loss. The Pistons then closed them out in Game 6."


Im curious to see how many folks call Jordan a quitter or a pussy, since we all know those are the irons we would brand Kobe with under the same circumstances.

At 3/23/2007 8:15 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

There are no hard feelings at all. I was as amazed as anybody at that Blazers game last week. I've said here before that I think Kobe is the most talented player in the league. My point has been, that to make a statement that he is the best player in the league or that he is even in the same league as Jordan without that being questioned is ridiculous.

I just don't like the notion around here that Dwyane Wade, Lebron or AI are not near the players that Kobe is. Like those guys are not "hip" to like anymore. Maybe I like AI because he represents some stupid bullshit metaphor, he is the little man banging with the bourgeois giants just like Isaiah did.

I get nearly all of Kobe's games on Fox Sports and when I watch there is just something that I cannot get down with. When I think of Steve Nash's 22 assist game against the Cavs this season, it was poetry in motion. As was Iversons 44 and 15 against the Suns. I think about how many open looks AI gave Korver over the last 3 years and it makes me sick to my stomach.

With Kobe its like watching a player that does not understand his own greatness. He shoots harder shots than he needs to. He could average 10 assists easy with all the attention he draws to himself. As young as Dwyane Wade is, he is already more in touch with who he is as a basketball player than Kobe is. I like that he doesnt shoot the 3. I like that he plays according to the refs officiating. He will beat you any way he needs to. And his team wins.

But he's not "freedarko" enough for the people around here. That's cool. Kobe isnt "Iverson fan" enough for me. I dont doubt his talent. I doubt his decisions on the court and his confidence in his teammates. I question his dedication to winning a championship. But most of all I question the people that are ready to proclaim him the GOAT(other than Jordan) at this point in his career.

I don't doubt that he's getting better. Its just crazy to me how many people are able to just overlook his performance in Game 7 last year. Like I said, AI, Dwyane or Nash would not go out like that.

At 3/23/2007 8:23 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

iverson fan said - What do you think he was doing in game 7 then? Was he tired? I think that he was trying to prove to Phil and the whole world that his teammates are not what they should be and that he is justified in shooting 40 shots a game because his guys cant make a shot. He did it against the Spurs 3 years earlier.

OK, Iverson fan, since you're asking me what happened in Game 7 last year, I'll tell you to scroll up and read what I wrote about it earlier in this very thread (here's a link if you can't find it: http://tinyurl.com/39ld4z ). As for the Spurs reference, it was actually against the Kings that he was accused of tanking, not San Antonio (once again making me question whether you actually watch him play or not). Finally, to your assertion that he wanted to prove to Phil and everyone that his teammates suck and he needs to score a lot for them to win I have to ask you what you think he was doing in the first six games of that series? Do you realize Kobe only scored more than 30 points once in that whole series? In the first 4 games where LA had their best success against Phoenix Kobe's point totals were 22, 29, 17 & 24 (in OT, btw). At that point the Lakers were 3-1 having only lost the first game on the road by 5. If Kobe was trying to prove he needed to score a ton to win, wasn't he going about it in the exact opposite way he should have? Wouldn't someone even trying to make that point seem colossally stupid after scoring 50 in a loss in the previous game? You know damn well if Games 6 and 7 had been reversed and Kobe had gone for 50 in a loss in Game 7 that you'd be here saying "his selfish play cost them the series," you hypocrite.

As far as comparing Jordan's teammates to Kobe's, I'd like to first say that I never said Kobe was better than Jordan. I don't believe he is. I think Jordan (and Phil) was great at making mediocre players better. But Horace Grant, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman were definitely not scrubs, and Ron Harper and Toni Kukuoc weren't so bad either. Those guys at that stage in their careers were all definitely better than anyone the Lakers have had on their team in the last three seasons with the exception that Lamar Odom is better than Harper and Kukoc. When Jordan really had teammates that resembled Kobe's current squad, Jordan had about as much success as Kobe's currently enjoying, both individually and as a team. On every Bulls squad from the 90's that featured Jordan, the Bulls have the edge at every position in the starting 5. The only real question would, ironically, be between Kobe and Jordan (but I'd still give Jordan the edge).

Your hatred of Kobe is exactly what I'm talking about though. You're hating on him, and I don't even really think you know why. You hate him because you don't like the assertion that he might be close to as good as Jordan (or even worse that he might be better), just like you probably hated for years that people questioned whether he was better than AI. So essentially your stance, just like the stance of so many haters, is that because he's not as good as Jordan he stinks. This same logic is not applied to any other player though, they are free to be as good as they can be and to be judged solely by how good they are; but in the minds of so many, simply because Kobe is not definitely better than Jordan he is a failure and is in essence, no good. This is akin to saying that because Steve Nash is not as good as Magic was, he stinks.

I think people should realize one simple truth about what happened between Kobe and Shaq. Kobe came into the league earnestly willing to defer to Shaq and Shaq's dominance. Kobe wants to win above all else. But after the Lakers won their first title it was as obvious to Kobe as it was to everyone else that Shaq no longer wanted to put forth the same effort he had previously. For someone who is as ruthless and focused and who trains so thoroughly in the off-season, this was absolutely disgusting to Kobe, and this is the root of their rift. Shaq wanted to be the man because he felt it was owed to him simply for being who he was. This is the same reason he was annoyed in Orlando (because of Penny's challenge to his title as "the man" on that team). Kobe felt like as hard as he worked and as good as he was, he was going to be damned if he'd just subjugate himself to a lazy superstar with a sense of entitlement. This rift went so deep that Shaq would ultimately never have been willing to "pass the torch" the way he has done with Wade. Shaq was gonna fight Kobe for that mantle as the team's focus, and he was going to scorch the earth to do it.

Kobe didn't run Shaq out of town at all, but rather the two of them, like spoiled children, essentially went to Laker management and said "choose." People seem to forget that in the media Shaq demanded a trade, and that at the time that he did so Kobe was a free agent. The Lakers acquiesced to Shaq's trade demand and the next day Kobe signed a new contract. Why everyone has taken this to mean Kobe said "Shaq or me" (which he no doubt did) and that was the end of the story is beyond me. Clearly Shaq also said "Kobe or me". The Lakers had to choose, and considering Shaq still gets paid more than Kobe, even at 35, you have to believe the Lakers made the right choice.

Finally, for everyone who says that the Lakers would have won more titles had Kobe and Shaq stayed together in LA, ask yourself why they didn't win the last two years those two played together. They even had Gary Payton and Karl Malone there for that last run and still didn't win. What guarantee was there that they'd have ever been able to win together again?

At 3/23/2007 8:24 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

gel, I meant Randy Brown. He was a little scrappy dude that played D off the bench.

And Jordan did not quit. He didnt take shots cuz the shots were not there. The pistons were running extra defenders at him he passed cuz he had to. I watched the game. The pistons shut him down. That is different than what Kobe did. Kobe literally did not make a serious move toward the basket in the second half. the suns were not running multi defenders at him. Wilt quit plenty of times.

At 3/23/2007 8:54 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

yams, good God where do I start with your gargantuan post? Didnt Kobe tell the cops that Shaq cheated on his wife and payed the girls off? He ratted on a teammate to the fuckin cops!? Would you want to play with the guy?

There was backlash against Kobes 50 in the loss to Phoenix. The next game he chose not to do anything in the second half. They had tanked 2 games after being up 3-1 and Kobes was under the fire. I could only guess as to why he did it. I really dont care why he did it. I care about the fact that he actually did it in the first place.

I think Odom and Smush and Kwame are at least comparable to Grant Armstrong and Cartwright. Pip is definitely better than Luke I'll give you that.

I was talking about the Conf final game against the Spurs. The same series where fisher hit with .4 seconds. He only took something like 13 shots for the game. And it came after a game in which his shot selection came into question. This was after the Kings had fallen apart.

You really think I don't watch basketball cuz you don't remember the game I was talking about? There goes another great debate technique. I said above why I don't like Kobe's game.

My observations on why he is a quitter are pure speculation. I don't think anyone can venture to understand Kobe's decision making process on the court.

And your opinion that Kobe did what he did in Game 7 because he was reverting back to what worked early in the serise is bullshit. Early in the series he was slashing passing and actually playing basketball. In the second half of game 7,(I watched it twice) Kobe did nothing. Nothing. I saw it. Chuck saw it. The whole world saw it. Don't try to say that he was getting his teammates involved. He was standing there. Doing nothing. I'm gonna go watch UNLV, I'll be back later. Be ready to call me a dickhead when UNLV loses.

At 3/23/2007 8:56 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

iverson fan said - I just don't like the notion around here that Dwyane Wade, Lebron or AI are not near the players that Kobe is. Like those guys are not "hip" to like anymore...With Kobe its like watching a player that does not understand his own greatness. He shoots harder shots than he needs to. He could average 10 assists easy with all the attention he draws to himself. As young as Dwyane Wade is, he is already more in touch with who he is as a basketball player than Kobe is. I like that he doesnt shoot the 3. I like that he plays according to the refs officiating. He will beat you any way he needs to. And his team wins.

IMO there are two reasons why I think you can legitimately say that Kobe is in a different league than AI, LeBron and Wade: Kobe is a much better shooter and Kobe plays defense. The defense part in and of itself separates Kobe from those other guys, but Kobe's ability to shoot, even from 5-6 feet behind the three-point line means that he is defended in a much different way than the other guys are. The other guys need to be defended mainly for the drive, and as such defenders will usually back off of them behind the perimeter. Kobe, on the other hand, gets double and sometimes triple teamed out between the three point line and half court. The reason Kobe takes fallaways with a hand in his face, or challenged threes is because that's all he's got (and also because he makes them).

There is some truth in what you're saying though, Kobe still does take a number of bad shots in the course of a game, even if a lot of them go in. As much as Kobe's great shooting helps get the Lakers back into a game that was slipping away (see Portland on Friday), when he isn't hitting those same shots in other games it's often the nail in the coffin as LA ends up settling for long threes while trailing by 6 with three minutes to go. Kobe will similarly take these types of shots in the third quarters of games in which the Lakers are up double digits as he tries to quickly put a dagger in the other team's heart, but instead allows them to climb back into a game (see Sunday's game against Minnesota).

The big differences between Kobe and Jordan, at least thus far through Kobe's career, is that Kobe is a better shooter than Jordan was at 28, but Jordan was a better athlete. Because of this, Jordan drove to the basket with more success than Kobe and only really turned to the outside shot later in his career as defenses and athletic decline forced him to. Kobe, on the other hand, has always had the perimeter shot as a part of his game, and he executes it with unbelievable precision (witness the 81 points against Toronto, with a large percentage of them from the perimeter). But a layup is smarter than a three-pointer, and that's why Kobe's shot selection is often suspect.

Wade and LeBron may play a smarter game than Kobe on most nights (not AI though, he's even worse about poor shot selection than Kobe is), but those guys are also afforded more forgiving defenses than Kobe is. Wade, AI and LeBron have the luxury of being able to tailor their games to the way the other team are playing them in a way that Kobe does not. Those guys are not hounded by 2-3 defenders as soon as they cross midcourt.

At 3/23/2007 8:59 PM, Blogger Zack said...

Yams, wouldn't you judge making the right choice on their team's performance, not on who was making more money at what age? Thus far it's impossible to know whether or not the decision to keep Kobe, not Shaq, was the right one. But, in the first two years it has clearly worked out better for the Heat.

The Heat went to 7 against the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals in Shaq's first year and could've won had Wade not been injured (who knows how they would've fared against the Spurs), then they (questionably) won the title the next year. I'd make that the ultimate judgment of who was the right decision. Could the Lakers have won another title had they kept Shaq...who knows, but the Heat have surely fared better.

Kobe: 19 halfway through the 2nd.

At 3/23/2007 9:06 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Kobe's game gives me mixed emotions: while I love watching someone score 50 or more points, I just can't get behind 1 on 5 basketball. I'd much rather watch the Suns, Mavs, Spurs, Jazz, or even the fucking Bulls or Raptors.

Again, I think Kobe is an All-Time Great; I watched him single-handedly destroy the Celtics in Boston earlier this year, and I think it was one of the most impressive basketball performances I've ever seen. But ultimately I think the team game is infinitely more exciting

At 3/23/2007 9:17 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Kobe: 27 at fuckin' halftime.

At 3/23/2007 9:32 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Kobe provides a unique stylistic and aesthetic experience. People may say he's imitating Jordan--and there's a level on which I'd have to agree--but their games are different. Other players in the league provide equally great experiences, but each is different.

Whether Kobe is as good or better than LBJ, AI, Capt. Secretly Boring, Nash, to me, misses the point. Despite the unsurpassed quality of his game, and at a moment when he is on yet another scoring rampage that should hold all the basketball world in thrall, people still finding nits to pick.

Real recognize real and all that ...

wv: lfowbatu -- sound of exasperation heard during a KB24 debate

At 3/23/2007 10:36 PM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

yams, I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but I think Wades on the ball defense is money. Especially for a 4th year player. His long arms make him the same size as Kobe defensively and if pressed to choose one of the two I would probly take wade from what I've seen this season.

As for iverson, his size makes his defensive presence iffy at best. But he gets in passing lanes and plays pretty good help D. He is consistently top 5 in steals even when some of those attempts put his teammates in tough spots. I dont get enough Cavs games to really know how great Bron's D is. But from what I remember he plays more for the steals a la AI.

As for shooting, I think Kobe has them from the 3 right now, but as for mid range jumpers, Dwayne is very close. Like you said the problem with Kobe is the shots he chooses. I guess I don't feel like AI takes as many bad shots as he did early in his career. He shoots a lot close to the basket and is not afraid to fire the open three but usually if he is D'ed up, he will pass out or try to draw the foul.

As far as Jordan's shooting goes, by 1991, his 12 foot fadeaway was the most lethal weapon the game has seen. It only got better when he came back so I don't know about that. As I'm typing this I'm wondering why I didn't include Nash or McGrady in my argument but oh well.

But yeah, I just feel like Kobe's decision making and inability to play a smart game is what trips him up. And right now Steve Nash is playing the best basketball I've seen since Duncan a couple years ago. And of course as I type this Kobe scores 50. But UNLV is close

At 3/23/2007 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most lethal weapon the game has seen?

You've heard of something called Kareem's skyhook, right?

At 3/24/2007 12:10 AM, Anonymous iverson fan said...

yeah, I also heard of Hakeem's drop step. Ill take Jordan posted up on the side of the key all fuckin day

At 3/24/2007 12:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, cause I'd say Kobe's fadeaway is just as good as MJ's.

At 3/24/2007 1:30 PM, Anonymous Freddie said...

Anyone on the internet still wanting to talk about Colorado, you clearly haven't spent enough time on the internet.

I just wonder what it must be like to be someone who makes a habit of trivializing an accusation of rape. Can it feel good? Is there any guilt at all?

At 3/24/2007 1:40 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i feel really, really bad for anyone who thinks that kobe bryant is the only athlete who has ended up in a questionable sexual situation. rape is a terrible thing, but you're acting like having charges pressed, and possibly being guilty, somehow makes kobe pure scum among athletes. wake up--he said/she said drama with unseemly power dynamics, mutual exploitation, and infidelity are a staple of the pro's lifestyle.

At 3/24/2007 2:52 PM, Anonymous paper tiger said...

okay, i don't really mean to get into it, cause i don't really feel like that last comment hits close to my home, but i do have to ask- why is it that we should be all too ready to remove principle and conviction from our (liberated) fandom, because that shit "has so little to do with a sustained discussion of American athletics" but the sky is falling when cats can't figure out how to reconcile the nba and townes van zandt? i mean, i totally feel you- making kobe the sexual assualt poster boy is misguided scapegoating, but just declaring that other people's principles have no place in their relationship with sport when you clearly agonize over your own is fucking annoying.

At 3/24/2007 3:58 PM, Anonymous tom said...

yeah but how many people truly hate a celeb or pro athlete based on "principles and convictions?" That's all just a dressed up way of saying this guy just rubs me the wrong way and to discredit a dude's game based on that, especially when that dude's game happens to be undeniably brilliant, really is discrediting your love of the sport.

At 3/24/2007 4:03 PM, Anonymous Freddie said...

Number one-- if Kobe Bryant is innocent, and it seems to me he probably is, then the system worked. He wasn't convicted. Her accusation was taken seriously, there was an investigation, and eventually, he was exonerated. I'm in no position to judge whether or not the case should have gone as far as it did-- it's certainly possible that the case shouldn't have gone as far as it did, that he shouldn't have been indicted, whatever. But he wasn't convicted, and frankly, there are risks you run when you have sex with 19 year olds you met a half hour earlier.

But secondly-- I never said that Kobe Bryant was scum among athletes. What I object to is the cavalier way you throw aside a rape accusation. You've done it multiple times, and (since you've entered it into the marketplace of ideas) I feel compelled to respond.

And power dynamics? I'm not sure questioning power dynamics helps your cause. I do feel bad for Kobe in the sense that the investigation and trial could never have been a real attempt at arriving at the truth, or at least real jurisprudence. Rich celebrities don't go to jail in this society. And while Kobe Bryant certainly faces biases and hardships for the fact that he's black, in our system, his money trumps all. And however unfairly his reputation has been tarnished, it's a far sight from being in jail.

At 3/24/2007 4:08 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

I don't see what the big deal is. Personally, I think Kobe is a phoney and an asshole, but I can appreciate him as a basketball player. The same goes for LeBron; it seems like he's really full of himself. But I don't think that should stop us from admiring the way he plays the game.

At 3/24/2007 4:11 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

I agree with Freddie on the subject of Kobe's rape charge. It seems like everyone wants to forget about it, much in the same way everyone in the football universe wants to forget about Ray Lewis's murder charge a few years back.

At 3/24/2007 4:18 PM, Anonymous paper tiger said...

tom- i'm not saying i hate kobe or that anyone should or has a right to. nor am i suggesting that feelings about a dude's character should be related to my feelings about his game (i don't say "kobe's a douche, therefore he's not awesome.") i'm saying pretty much the opposite- i see that he's an amazing player and i appreciate him as such, but i don't see why that should be considered incompatible with disliking him.
but, more to the point, i don't see why anyone repping this site, of all places, would declare no room in sport for social concerns. clearly that's not an FD position. so i was responding mainly to the preemptive antagonism of the post.

At 3/24/2007 4:27 PM, Blogger ~CW~ said...

Absurdly late to the conversation, and while I think Kobe's awesome, I think that his supporting cast takes a lot of crap. They're more inconsistent than bad. Sometimes I watch them and wonder how this team isn't so much higher in the standings, and other times I feel like Kobe should be given some sort of award for putting up with them.

I know it was early, but the Lake Show was 3-0 without Kobe in the first month of the season. They're nothing like the supporting casts of Dirk or Nash, but it's not like they're the dregs of the league, either. I know there are some on this site who after the All-Star game thought that Kobe on the Suns would equal immediate championship (strongly disagree with that), but I can't help but wonder if Nash on a healthy Lakers team would prove to be an upgrade over the length of a season, although not necessarily in one game.

At 3/24/2007 4:27 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

IMO there are a number of very good reasons to dismiss that rape charge against Kobe. The number one reason is that the supposed victim refused to testify against him, which led to the case being dropped. She went through all the trouble of accusing him, taking the rape examination, dragged the whole thing out for months then told police she wasn't going to testify. On top of that she sued Kobe for money, which to me speaks volumes about what her true intentions were all along.

I can't help but feel in many ways that case was in some ways similar to the Duke Lacrosse rape case, in that the prosecutor of Eagle was just trying to make a name for himself by trying to prosecute a person of Kobe's stature, especially as the evidence began to come out (she told the police she never said no, and then during sex when she told him to stop he did; she arranged the meeting and the opportunity to be alone with Kobe before he even arrived at the hotel; she had two other people's semen inside of her at the rape examination 12 hours after her encounter with Kobe, etc). It's not right to compare it to the Ray Lewis case, IMO, because in that case someone was killed, whether Lewis was involved or not; but in the case with Kobe it's not sure at all that any crime was actually committed. I think in light of how it all played out it's much more likely the girl looked at Kobe as a mark and a meal ticket and just wanted to get some cash out of him, and that's what she did. I'm frankly surprised it doesn't happen more often.

I still contend that most people who point to that case as the reason they hate Kobe hated him beforehand and just use that case as a way to make their hatred seem justified. People are accused of things all the time, but unless someone can at least show that a crime was committed (and in this case the only person who said one was refused to testify to that in court), I'll definitely go with "innocent until proven guilty."

At 3/24/2007 4:41 PM, Anonymous paper tiger said...

agreed on all counts, WY. but, just to clarify, i wasn't relying only on the rape allegation as a basis for distaste. and i'm sure you're not saying that an airtight rape case is the only imaginable reason to dislike someone. that would be some pretty twisted single issue politics.

At 3/24/2007 4:45 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: You may be right, but I still think something a little more nefarious than adultery happened that night.

At 3/24/2007 5:06 PM, Anonymous Freddie said...

I still contend that most people who point to that case as the reason they hate Kobe hated him beforehand and just use that case as a way to make their hatred seem justified.

And there are a very many people who believe that every rape accusation is bogus beforehand and then interpret the details of the case to support that position. People came out of the woodwork to say that there was no way someone as successful and rich as Kobe Bryant could ever rape anyone. The truth is, none of us have any special insight into whether he was guilty or not. My entire point is that the accusation matters, regardless of the individual merits of the case against him. The accusation stands on his character, whether you or Bethlehem Shoals or anyone else likes it; and I won't be bullied into pretending it didn't happen. Whatever provisos, qualifications, and addenda you want to apply, the fundamental message of most of the posts on this topic are, "A woman said she was raped, but it's no big deal"....

At 3/24/2007 5:44 PM, Anonymous tom said...

Well, the accusation matters to people who are willing to condemn a guy without evidence. For the rest of us, it's another pro athlete involved in a dubious sexual situation. Not to say accusations of rape aren't serious but they happen all the time and when you don't acknowledge that, you seem to be unreasonably holding Kobe to a higher moral standard.

At 3/24/2007 5:52 PM, Anonymous Bayern Munich said...

OK, I didn't care about the discussion at all until the Wild Yams comment at 4:27. Kobe's accuser refused to testify because she received death threats after her name was published on a court web-site IN DIRECT VIOLATION OF COLORADO LAW. It doesn't (of course) mean that he was guilty, but you can't say "oh, she went through all the trouble (?) of accusing him, then wouldn't tesitfy!" She was ready to testify until her rights under state law were violated and she received numerous threats upon her life.

Kobe was never convicted of anything in that case, so he can't rightly be referred to as a rapist (as idiots chant at Lakers away games). But don't say she was only interested in money - she was willing to testify until her name was illegally made public.

And, if 99% of Kobe haters use the rape allegations as a convenient excuse to hate him, then I'm one of the 1% - I always really liked him until then, and can't root for him now. On an objective level, he's clearly one of the best players in the league, definitely the best at his position (and it's not really even close).

At 3/25/2007 1:25 AM, Anonymous aug said...

Wow. This is a fucked up thread. I really hate espn and all they did to the world of sports. Everyone is a fucking expert now. People need to watch basketball games. Even Charles Barkley admits that he doesn't even watch games anymore. He just gives opinions on them through generalizations and his own feelings. I just never understood why jordan's cast was always so shitty. Fuck man, i'd love to play with those guys. Smart ass players who play killer defense. Same with iverson's squad.

Has anyone watched kwame brown play defense for a game? Seriously, please watch a quarter of basketball and just follow him around with your eyes. It's hilarious. I would go crazy coaching him and trying to teach him the nuances of switching, zone play, help defense and boxing out. I do love watching that man play though. Even offense is hilarious.

I wish there was an alternative to espn where i can get the sports news in video form without having my opinions formed for me.

Seriously people. Watch kwame play basketball for a game very closely. I'm doing you a huge favor. Hell, make a drinking game out of it.

At 3/26/2007 1:00 PM, Anonymous D-Wil said...

excellent statement.... I've been watching the comments here and it is really crazy. First off, how many of you KB-haters live on the East Coast? If you do, how many of you are plastered to the TV watching the Lakes play at 10:30, that is if you have the NBA package or get enough channels to watch the FOX equivalents?

Answer to #1a: NOT MANY OF YOU.

How many of you know Kobe Bryant beyond the persona he portrays or the persona plastered onto him by the mainstream?

Answer to #2: NOT ONE OF YOU.

It's curious how every single player who is asked who is the best player in today's game answers, Kobe Bryant. There's not even hesitation - KB.

The fact of MJ is that he/is was a non-threatening black man whose off-court persona was contrived by Disney - just like Shaq's.

MJ pretended to give a fuck and everybody fell for it; hell, I did at one time, too.

And then Mike committed the most selfish act I have EVER heard of in sports - he went gambling in Atlantic City until around 6 in the a.m. the night before a playoff game against the Knicks.

Remember that? And please don't give me the, well, they won the series shit. It means nothing. Do, though, answer this: how many athletes. especially NBA players could get away with that - unscathed... to the point where nobody even consciously remembers the event?

THAT is how brainwashed people are when it comes to Jordan. MJ, from all his actions, is one of the most self-centered athletes in the history of sport; the illicit affairs; the gambling; the "mystery of his leaving the NBA for a couple of years - all of it

Kobe Bryant cannot approach the social wrong-doing of Jordan.


Bryant is raked over the coals for having sex with some bimbo. The same bimbo who at a party the next night bragged to her female AND male friends about how "big" Kobe is: yes, it's fact. It's in the court docs - go check it for yourself; one of her male friends told the story and one of her female friends corroborated the story.

The "high-horse people" are very selective in how they frame their argument and what they remember of the Colorado case.

Just to let you morality peeps know, it is is abjectly immoral to condemn another human by omitting information that can exonerate that human for the sins which you attempt to accuse said human.

Also, on Kobe's game: Jordan NEVER had the consistent range Kobe has; Jordan NEVER raised up and shot over defenders as consistently as Kobe - be sober and think about MJ's game.

As far as KB's teammates are concerned: if Odom could play an entire season without missing chunks of games, then we'd know his REAL value to the Lakers. Last night Odom was fouled in the 4th quarter, hit the floor and grabbed his left shoulder and was in obvious pain. I thought he was coming out right then, but he stayed in the game. However, it doesn't look good; one good pull on that shoulder and he's due to miss another 15 games.

Let's see, behind Odom, the next best player on the Lakes is --------- Luke Walton. And I like Luke's game - a lot. But that should tell you about the youth of the Lakers; not the talent, but the youth. Make no mistake, they have talent, but other than KB, L.O. and Luke, the remainder of the team is still learning the game.

Moreover, these young cats are learning THE most intricate offense in the NBA; one that even MJ admitted that it takes at least two uninterrupted years of play in the triangle to "get it."

Additionally, Phil Jackson is still trying to fit his Red-Holtzman-inspired pressure defense to the rule changes; he, admittedly hasn't quite figured out how to get around the "no-touch" crap and the new defensive 3-seconds emphasis (according to Lazenby).

All-in-all this means Kobe, as the Lakes' on-court leader, is getting more out of this team than could any other player in the Lig.

With all that said, what the hell is the beef with KB? Other than KB is an easy target, made even easier by a largely stupid and pliant mainstream sports media, what really is the beef?

(and I just listened to Pat Forde use "shock and awe" in relation to Florida's run to the NCAA crown last season - for all you who so love to parrot what the "worldwide leader" tells you, think about that shit! He used a neoconservative Militainment term that was applied to the bombing of human beings - no matter what you may think about them, they were humans - to describe a fucking basketball team... and he's a representative of the "best" sports media outlet in the world.... Wonderful.)

At 3/26/2007 3:12 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

This entry is probably about dead, but I agree with everything D-Wil is saying. I watch almost every Laker game and see almost all of Kobe's games, and have been doing so for his entire career; and what I see on the court and what I hear from the media and haters/"fans" around the country just doesn't gibe. If people would actually watch him play on a regular basis and actually listen to his interviews (rather than read out of context snipped quotes) they'd probably be shocked at how different he apparently is from what they've been told (fed).

One final point about the rape case: whenever I've heard anyone be accused of a crime, whatever it is, I don't make up my mind one way or the other until I hear some evidence which would make me start to lean one way or the other. The fact that someone is acquitted or found guilty isn't the deciding factor with me either if I've seen/heard evidence that seems to contradict a verdict (i.e. the Rodney King & OJ verdicts). The fact that someone accuses someone of a crime doesn't mean a crime was committed, and all through that case I thought to myself "if Kobe did it, they should throw him in jail for decades just the way they would if someone who isn't famous had done it," but I did pay attention to the evidence that came out. I would ask the people who still claim that KF's accusations are enough to despise Kobe forever what evidence they heard from anyone which supported anything she was saying?

The rape examination found evidence of intercourse, but not of rape, and it found evidence that she'd had sex with at least two other people, making any claim that if she had been raped by Kobe specifically and not one of the other two guys she'd been with impossible to prove. Her own testimony to the cops when they questioned her said that when she told him to stop he did. Other testimony proved she set up the meeting with Kobe and arranged for them to be alone together, and proved she was bragging about being with him after the supposed rape. In the room they were in, there was an exit to a courtyard with a jacuzzi (so she could have escaped that way if she'd wanted to), and in fact Kobe asked her beforehand if she wanted to go out and use the jacuzzi and she declined, making any claim about her feeling trapped in the room questionable. The people staying in the room above Kobe said they never heard anything from their room even though their windows were open. As far as I'm concerned all the evidence that was presented seemed to support Kobe and undermine the accuser. Also, to the claim that she didn't want to testify because her name became public, her name was out there for months before she decided not to testify (which led to the case actually never going to trial), but just before she told the prosecution she wouldn't testify, she filed a civil case against Kobe and settled out of court for cash. So I ask you to connect the dots here: does this sound like someone who was raped, or someone who saw her encounter with Kobe as a way to milk some cash out of him?

As far as him committing adultery, I've got two comments: first, his wife stood by him the whole time, despite the fact that they don't have a pre-nup and she could have cleaned him out if all she wanted was cash; so I figure if she can accept that he cheated on her, then who am I to be upset about it? My second comment is that if you think Kobe's the rare sports or entertainment superstar who cheats on his significant other, you're deluding yourself. But once again, I don't think that people really believe that Kobe's the rare superstar who has cheated, but for people who want to hate him they simply point to this whole thing as a way to justify why they hate him (after all, Jordan and Magic both fooled around and I don't hear people calling them out for it).

I think people have been sold this idea that Kobe is detestable and so they follow the herd and just hate him and they don't even know why. Watch his games/interviews for yourself and make up your own mind if the guy deserves to be the most hated person in his sport and one of the most hated in sports in general. As I've said, even though A-Rod is hated, at least he has won MVP awards (even while playing on crappy teams), despite the fact that he's never won any titles. Ask yourself who's more hated in their sports: A-Rod or Kobe?

At 3/26/2007 4:14 PM, Anonymous paper tiger said...

i'm not sure why people are so intent on combining the two things happening here. one- some people don't like kobe. two- some people don't think he's the best. sure, there are people who don't like him and then use that distaste to convince themselves he's not a great player. established. but all this lamar odom, luke walton, triangle offense shit and whether or not i watch the lakers every night has fuck all to do with my right to dislike the man. nor does what any of you think can or can't be definitively learned from the non-trial. and the idea that some combination of "kobe is an amazing player" and "michael jordan was a dick" negates all right to not care for kobe, i'm sorry, that's just dumb.
but, d-wil, i do appreciate your "monitoring" our comments and flying in at the end to voice god for us. much appreciated. you settled everything.


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