On That Glorious Inert

Really, really and really, I am on leave. One thing, though: the shove was something immense. Yeah, it was playoff-as-fuck, MJ-like refusal to trifle, and some serious punking of a fellow All-Star.

But most importantly, LeBron has finally put to rest the slight grudge I still carry for that 2006 stripe-chatter on Arenas. The difference between Bron and Gilbert? James knows just what to do in that situation, and why that knowledge is power. Let's hope Zero now gets it loud and clear: when someone comes up on you like that, you tell them to fuck off. Criticizing the act is neither here nor there, since you shouldn't even be letting it get past the stage of intent. If it happens, that's a problem no matter how ethically striated it may be.

Playoffs 2007, anyone?


At 5/29/2007 11:28 PM, Blogger DrewBreez said...

There's something to be said for 4th-Quarter resolve. Everyone wants ubiquity when patience and enduring greatness will do. Lebron won't fire his way out of the hole like a Kobe or a TMac...he will float out on some ethereal shit, laughing at the prior denunciation. Period. Cavs in seis.


a BIG fan from smokingsection.net

I will sooo write for you guys (pro bono.)


At 5/29/2007 11:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I missed the game and as of right now NBA DOT COM mentions no shove.

What shove!?!

At 5/29/2007 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy shit dreewbreez, you are a cocksman. Enjoy the spam from listing your email. Heh.

Another note: Reverse Spothead out-played The Original Spothead.
Sheed had 9 and 5 in 40 minutes.
Gooden had 19 and 8 in 31.

Also I notice:
4th Qtr 6:07
Rasheed Wallace

How many does he have left?

At 5/29/2007 11:54 PM, Blogger Ben Q. Rock said...

Haha, Drew Gooden as the Bizarro Rasheed Wallace. Nice.

Can I expect to see Dale Davis play the enforcer role in Game 5? About all he's good for by now is giving hard fouls, and I imagine the Pistons will want to send the Cavs a message.

At 5/30/2007 12:02 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

Pistons in seven, unfortunately.

(It's funny: after the Suns and Warriors bowed out, I vowed to not watch or care about the rest of the playoffs. And yet, I am strangely drawn to both of the ongoing series. What's wrong with me?)

At 5/30/2007 12:06 AM, Anonymous WookieLAwyer said...

No shame in being drawn back in with the potential that James and Williams have shown in their respective series. Especially with the potential Cavs comeback to see if LeBron can match what D-Wade did to the Mavericks against the Spurs (never gonna happen but fun to dream about).

At 5/30/2007 1:20 AM, Blogger Brickowski said...

Sean, there's nothing wrong with you. You're just an NBA fan.

I never understood all the basketblog kidz sudenly swearing-off the playoffs just 'cause the Warriors and Suns lost. Like, what the fuck else are you going to watch at night? May baseball?

(Anyone else catch Benitez balking his way to a 12th inning loss against the Mets?)

At 5/30/2007 1:27 AM, Blogger ChiliCon said...

Is this the proper time to gloat about pimping Gibson a while ago?

At 5/30/2007 2:19 AM, Anonymous Conley&Roy&Martell&Aldridge&Oden said...

Speaking of May baseball, Aaron Hill's steal of home to tie the game for the Jays against the Yanks was maybe the most freedarko thing to happen in sports tonight.

Ok well Bron still gets the nod since his was in a HUGE game 4 when his team is overmatched. But still, that shit was pretty FD.

At 5/30/2007 2:35 AM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

I really wish LeBron would just give the global icon business a rest and start focusing on doing things like that shove from tonight. That makes him more Jordan than a Bubblicious contract ever will.

Brickowski: I will be fairly upset if the Giants haven't cut Benitez by the end of the week.

At 5/30/2007 4:51 AM, Blogger T. said...

Brickowski - I think for me, it has to be really compelling to wake up in the morning and catch a game here in China. It's not like it's the end of the day at home at night for me.

I'm still undecided about watching the Finals.

At 5/30/2007 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: In the post game interview he referred to the Arenas shoving incident , thereby seeming to validate FreeDarko's chronicling of these things.

At 5/30/2007 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with Anonymous 11:40 and missed the game.

Who shoved who?

At 5/30/2007 11:34 AM, Anonymous JCN said...

I watched the game and somehow missed this shoving incident...i've searched but can't find a clip. Anybody got one they can post to, please?

At 5/30/2007 11:50 AM, Anonymous gelatimouse said...

The "shoving incident" was when the man with mask lungs hovered around Lebron while he prepared to take free throws near the very end of the game and with the Cavs up 2 or 3. Rip appeared to be trying to ice Lebron like Lebron iced Arenas in last year's playoffs, but Lebron just gave him a firm forearm to the stomach, while focusing on the basket with a determined look. The announcers were saying how the refs were gonna look out for any such interference after the Bron/Agent Zero incident last year, but they couldn't really call anything on Rip, as he just kind of circled around Lebron and said something before he was ready to shoot. But then Lebron made both free throws, at which point you knew the Cavs would win even though there was time for the Pistons to pull something off.

Free Maxiell

At 5/30/2007 12:04 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

The shove:

Comes at 4:45 of this highlight clip.

At 5/30/2007 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know if anyone other than me stuck around on TNT long enough (because, why would you?) to see the random live shot of Sheed walking in the tunnel shirtless, and then chucking his jersey full-force into the wall.... only to have it somehow accellerate behind him and smack an assistant coach squarely in the face, but if you were lucky enough to see it live (and have a DVR) like me, that made the night for me.

Is it considered FreeDarko to take a sweaty jersey in the face with absolutely no warning?

At 5/30/2007 1:27 PM, Anonymous JCN said...

ha ha ha....LBJ said please son, i wrote the book on that shhhh.

great composure by him.

Is Drew Gooden's rat tail freedarko?

At 5/30/2007 1:34 PM, Blogger Martin said...

I think the reason why people get so mad about Lebron's coasting is because the difference between a motivated Lebron vs. an obviously coasting Lebron is fucking glaring like night and day. If he chooses to play the "on-off switch" game like shaq (no-doubt a formative influence during Lebron's basketball maturation) he had better bring it when it counts. And he did so last night so I wont speak as to the validity of coasting as a winning formula. But last nights Lebron paired with Gibson (aka I should have LHughes contract because I am doing what LH was being paid to do)will be a handful for the Pistons. It is not outlandish to believe that the Cavs can steal the Det series and the championship from the Spurs. Well at least give SA a run for their money I just don't see a Lebron team being swept- he always has at least 2 games a series where he gets MJ23 throwback and simply will not be denied.

On a separate note I am really trying hard to not hate the mambas personality to somehow arrest the internal conflict I face of being really loving his game while maintaining utmost disdain his personality though I concede that I am only privy to a media jaded view point. That said, bitch shit like this makes me really hate that godly talented ingrate SOB.


Now he wants to act like Buss engineered the whole thing against Kobe's wishes. In the words of one the finest modern day philosophers Jay-Z "We don't believe you, you need more people!"

I actually contend that given the secondary role KB8 played on the LAL championship teams, he was interchangeable with lesser but close talents like AI, Ray Allen, Sean Marion, JKidd. While KB would be stuck with the barest of ring fingers.

At 5/30/2007 1:49 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

The Cavs were definitely impressive last night again, but I think this series is really exposing how bad Flip Saunders is as a coach. This is a slow-down series (or at least, the Pistons want it to be), yet Detroit seems to be burying all their big guys on the bench. Detroit seems to have abandoned the bench almost entirely in this series, actually. What happened to all that "they spent the regular season so they'd have a solid bench to use in the playoffs" stuff we'd been hearing about in the previous rounds? The announcers were right last night, the Pistons should be playing full-court D when they can, and they need to bring in their big men. They have a ridiculously deep team that's loaded with big guys, but you'd never know it from this series.

Chauncey Billups may need to surrender his nickname after this series, especially if he collapses again the way he did last night. I think Rasheed's about to go off in the next game, only I don't know whether that means he'll have a huge game or if he'll get two technicals, get ejected and then be suspended for Game 6 as a result of receiving 7 T's in the playoffs.

I give the Cavs a lot of credit, they're flat out making Detroit look bad in this series. Charles was right last night, the Cavs have outplayed Detroit in all 4 games so far.

At 5/30/2007 2:34 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Holy fuck! Kobe officially wants to be traded? The whole world has been turned upside down, bitches!

(This summer is going to be HUGE. With this year's draft, and with all the possible players on the move, the league could get really interesting in the next 3-5 months.)

At 5/30/2007 3:11 PM, Blogger William said...

KB8 = whiny bitch. Can't he just pull a Keyshawn? I mean he got the damn ball, so shut up already.

Big Shot = a dog that just got neutered. He's had that, "I have NO idea what's going on, but something is SOOOO wrong," look on his face the whole series.

Rip = not as bad ass as Lebron. Needs to rediscover his inner Reggie Miller.

Sheed = needs to have Chauncy give him a blanket and LB give him a big hug.

Jason Maxiel = needs to eat more babies. Specifically, Lebron's babies.

Antonio McNasty = needs more magic, because there's no way he should be dunking like he is with all his surgeries.

D Gooden = needs the Scooby Team to discover the mystery behind that patch. However, it does appear that said patch is getting thinned out.

D Gibson = keep dreaming.

Eric Snow = put down the fried twinkies.

At 5/30/2007 3:39 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

all right, darkoites, tell me why this trade is stupid:

Boston gets: Ben Wallace, Luol Deng, and Ben Gordon

Chicago gets: Kobe, Kendrick Perkins

Lakers get: Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo (or Delonte West or Gerald Green--take your pick!), and Thabo Sefolosha

sure, boston and chicago have to give up a lot of their good, young players, but boston would get deng and gordon, who are young and better than who they'd be giving up, and they would keep jefferson, who is the one they want to keep the most. chicago would have to give up FOUR players (including three young, good ones), but they'd get kobe and a young big and still keep tyrus thomas and hinrich.

At 5/30/2007 3:53 PM, Anonymous Goon said...

Haha, you sure picked a bad time to "take time off" from freedarko. NBA bloggers' business is trade speculation and business just got really good for you.

At 5/30/2007 4:47 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

So here's the question: for all the talk about how Nash is overall a better player than Kobe and he makes his teammates better etc, if you're Phoenix would you really not trade Nash for Kobe? The Suns would have to throw a little in to make the salaries match, but I can't imagine Phoenix really wouldn't do it if it was offered. I think that would be a bad trade for the Lakers, but it does cast the hypothetical question of swapping Nash and Kobe in a new light, don't you think?

At 5/30/2007 4:56 PM, Anonymous pyrex chapman said...

my favorite speculations:

kobe for pierce and the #5

kobe/farmer/turiaf for richardson/monte/jackson/#18

kobe/farmer for andre miller/korver/ollie + 3 picks

kobe for kirilenko/deron williams

all work via the espn cap machine.

At 5/30/2007 5:06 PM, Anonymous Bayern Munich said...

Kobe just said he will rescind his trade demand if the Lakers terminate the club insider responsible for leaking the rumor that Kobe was responsible for Shaq's departure (or so says Greg Anthony).

He doesn't want a trade. He doesn't even want a better team around him. He just wants a low-level employee to be fired.

Much ado about rather little.

At 5/30/2007 5:11 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

I don't know if Kobe is handling this in the best way, but I think he has every right to want to leave that mess. The front office seems like a disaster and every indication post-Shaq points that way.

Just put yourself in his shoes for a second. Guy's the most talented player in the league, he's accustomed to winning, and the biggest move his team's made since Shaq is trading a talented swingman with room to grow (not to mention your best friend on the team) for a bust #1 overall big man.

At the same time, Kobe should stop pretending like he didn't want Shaq to leave.

BR: Wouldn't the Lakers prefer the Bulls guys directly in that trade? Or is there some cap thing I'm missing? Because that team with Pierce doesn't seem much different from the one they have now, and if this rebuilding plan is true then this trade wouldn't seem to jive with that.

At 5/30/2007 5:55 PM, Blogger Leonardson Saratoga said...

This is extremely off-topic, but where in the hell has Billups been?? I have some pressing questions for him regarding his comment a few months ago that Durant=Picture of Nas next to the Illmatic Source review.

At 5/30/2007 6:03 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: Yeah, that'd work. Marion and Stoudemire already don't get along because of their respective egos ; you think adding Kobe (of all people) would make that problem any better? Please! And who the hell is getting all these guys the ball? Barbosa? Banks?

At 5/30/2007 6:05 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

And besides, it looks like Kobe has changed his mind anyway. Dammit!

At 5/30/2007 6:06 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Kobe's not trying to get traded. He's trying to force the Lakers to consider trading Bynum, since that's the only way he'll get any help.

At 5/30/2007 6:20 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

if the lakers want to build around bynum, they don't want ben wallace. since kobe's contract is so big, they have to take back a big contract. pierce only has two years left on his, and since he's an LA native, he might be re-energized by playing on a new team for a good coach. pierce at his best is better than deng or gordon are right now. rondo seems like a phil jackson guy (good size, plays defense), and thabo is a poor man's pippen.

of course, i don't think kobe is ever going to really leave the lakers, he just wants leverage to get what he wants. they need to trade bynum and maybe even odom to get a point guard and some proven interior scoring.

At 5/30/2007 6:33 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

For what it's worth, regarding Kobe possibly getting the Lakers to trade Shaq, Shaq in the last day or so was quoted as saying he believes Kobe "a thousand percent" when he says Kobe never asked for Shaq to be traded:

Bryant told Smith. "I went up to his penthouse suite. [Buss] looks me dead in the face and says: 'Kobe, I am not going to re-sign Shaq. I am not about to pay him $30 million a year or $80 million over three years. No way in hell. I feel like he's getting older. His body is breaking down, and I don't want to pay that money to him when I can get value for him right now rather than wait.

"This is my decision. It's independent of you. My mind is made up. It doesn't matter to me what you do in free agency because I do not want to pay [Shaq], period.'"

"Dr. Buss said that," Bryant told Smith. "And I haven't said anything for years because I've always felt like folks were just looking to create controversy. Now I know. I realize what extent [the Lakers] will go to, to cover themselves."

Reached afterward, O'Neal told Smith that he believed his former teammate to be beyond reproach.

"I believe Kobe 100 percent," O'Neal said when reached in Los Angeles. "Absolutely. There's no doubt in my mind Kobe is telling the truth. I believe him a thousand percent.

"I would have respected Dr. Buss more as a man if he would have told me that himself, because I know he said it. But he didn't [tell me]. He never said a damn word to me."
link from Martin earlier (scroll up)

Maybe at the very least Kobe will finally no longer be the one who gets all the blame for the breakup of the Laker dynasty. Kobe and Shaq both feuded with each other, so they both deserve credit, but Shaq's contract demands were pretty outrageous considering his age and his lack of work ethic.

Sean, you really don't think the Suns would trade Nash + filler for Kobe? Kobe's 5 years younger, he's the best scorer in the game and he was first team all defense this year (and has been all defense many times before). Phoenix would be idiots not to do that, even if they then turned around and did another major trade (send Kobe elsewhere or trade Marion for Chris Paul or some other great point guard prospect). Kobe's trade value would be much higher than Nash's right now just because of the age difference.

At 5/30/2007 6:38 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

I agree that there's no way Kobe actually gets moved, but we might as well indulge in these discussions while we can. Regarding Recluse's proposed deal, I just can't see the Lakers making that move for 2 years of Double P, Rondo and Thabo. I'm skeptical that Rondo will ever amount to anything more than an energy guy off the bench, and LA desperately needs a reliable starting point. I have more faith in Thabo, but we really didn't see him play much this year. Kobe is either the best or second best player player in the world, and, perhaps more importantly, he's also one of the most marketable and keeps Staples packed.

At 5/30/2007 7:01 PM, Anonymous Kobe B. said...

Even when Steven A. Smith is quoting somebody he exagerates and repeats what the person actually said about five different ways so it sounds like a bigger deal. I fucking hate that Spike Lee sounding watermelonfucker.

At 5/30/2007 7:52 PM, Blogger Martin said...

Come on now wild yams, Kobe may not have demanded that Shaq leave, but the fact that Kobe is the only player in the NBA with a no-trade clause is evidence enough that the Lakers were not only willing to get down on their knees but would gladly swallow as well. Given the new info that has come out, it is clear that there were some machiavellian machinations in the background with Buss yearning to rid himself of Shaq's $30mil albatross using Kobe as a convenient scapegoat. However let us not forget Kobe could have influenced the outcome had he wanted to.

1. First of all, if Kobe had said flat out that if Shaq goes he would too, Buss would definitely have not let both Shaq and Kobe go. It would have been crazy from both a basketball and business perspective. Let’s not forget Kobe’s role model/father figure MJ feuded with the team owner and GM over similar issues and told the Bulls in no uncertain terms that if Scottie Pippen and PJ were let go they could kiss his G.O.A.T. ass goodbye. MJ’s threats were what kept the aging Bull’s nucleus together for the 96-98 title run despite Crumbs Krause desire to can PJ and trade Pippen for a high draft pick to use on some unproven high schooler with “potential” and a dirt-cheap rookie contract. Of course MJ had more influence as he had foresight to only commit to one year contracts that allowed him to maintain negotiating leverage every season. Well actually in hindsight I believe MJ’s decision to only sign a series of one year contracts was probably also influenced by his gambling addiction. He probably got a kick out of betting that he would stay healthy and never suffer a major injury.

2. Kobe's reticence on the idea to trade Shaq coupled with their long standing feud probably made LAL management think that Kobe wanted Shaq gone. As a result the Lakers felt pressured to trade Shaq before Kobe signed his next contract. Given such as short window of time, the Lakers were pressured to take the best available deal which was the crap Riley was offering (Riles wisely said D-Wade is “untouchable” but given Riley’s hard-on for big-men would have probably recanted if the Lakers had said no thanks). If Kobe had committed to signing to the Lakers or vocally expressed that his return was not dependent on LAL trading Shaq, he would probably have eased the pressure on the front office.

At 5/30/2007 8:00 PM, Anonymous JS said...

wow Kobe B. your last comment definitely made me feel uncomfortable ease up on the bigotry or take it elsewhere. I will willingly affiliate with our FD exoticizing but can't stand for vicious in your-face bigotry. Thats just me.

At 5/30/2007 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something tells me the deep throat in this picture is either Jim Buss or Mitch K.

At 5/30/2007 8:18 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

I'm guessing Deep Throat is Jim Buss. Mitch wouldn't have any motive to cover for Jerry Buss's choice to deal Shaq.

Martin, I'm not really sure what you're trying to say. Are you saying Kobe is now to blame for the Shaq trade because he didn't go to the mat with Buss to prevent it? Maybe you forget what Shaq's relationship was Kobe back then, but Shaq did say prior to the 2003-04 season starting that "Kobe can opt out if he doesn't like it." He then yelled at a courtside-seated Buss during a preseason game "Pay me!" while he was in the first year of a three-year $90 million extension. Then before Kobe re-signed with the Lakers Shaq demanded a trade in the press because Mitch Kupchak said that they would not let Kobe use a sign-and-trade to try to hold the Lakers hostage, but they would consider trading Shaq if he demanded it. Given all that, is it really so reprehensible that Kobe didn't suddenly take up for Shaq?

Kobe's blame in the whole thing is just for feuding with Shaq (the same exact blame Shaq should share, by the way), but that's it. Shaq's feuds with Laker ownership/management were over money, and that is now confirmed by both Kobe and Shaq. Shaq leaving the Lakers was the fault of none other than Jerry Buss, despite what many people have believed for years about it being Kobe's doing. Shaq wasn't willing to take less money from the Lakers (although he later did from Miami for some reason), so he demanded a trade. That has nothing to do with Kobe.

At 5/30/2007 9:08 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: You're crazy if you think the Hornets would ever trade Chris Paul for Shawn Marion. Do you know how many times I've dreamed of the Celtics trading Paul Pierce for CP3 or Deron Williams? I've lost count. But there is just no way in hell in today's NBA a team will trade a great point guard for a good wing player.

And by the way: are you in love with Kobe or something? Dude, he's a great player and all, but I don't understand this mentality among his fans that he's somehow the second coming of Jesus. You justly criticize LeBron for coasting at times; but can't you say the same for Kobe? You know how many 7 for 30 gems he's put out in his career? Quite a few, the last time I checked. And let's not forget that masterpiece he showed us in the fourth quarter of last year's Game 7 against the Suns.

At 5/30/2007 11:09 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

brick, there's no way the lakers can get even value for kobe, so why not get pierce and a couple young promising players and wait for them to blossom, and then draft well and get a big time free agent to sign with them when pierce is done? that's basically how they built the kobe/shaq team.

At 5/31/2007 2:19 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Sean, quit being so literal. If not Marion for Paul, then surely Marion could help land a real quality PG out there. The guy's a young multiple All Star, surely he's got some trade value (he must if people are throwing around Marion for Kobe trade scenarios).

By the way: what the hell are you talking about? On this very site I've routinely ripped Kobe's decision making on the court. I don't think he's in any way the second coming or whatever. I don't rip him for coasting the way LeBron does cause I don't think he does. Kobe's got a lot of negatives, but he does seem, to me anyway, to give it his all. He takes a ton of bad shots, and may alienate his teammates or whatever, but that to me is a lot more forgivable than just not giving a damn. Kobe going 7 for 30 is often due to his insane insistence on always trying to hit some incredible shot, or it's due to the fact that the other team can load up defensively on him because his teammates can't hit a wide-open shot to save their lives (that's the main difference between LeBron's supporting cast and Kobe's).

All I'm saying is that apparently the people who just like to blindly hate on the guy for stuff like Shaq being run out of town are gonna have to instead focus on all his bad shots as the reason for their rage cause Shaq himself has said all that hate is misdirected. Don't get mad at me for pointing this out and robbing you of one of the main reasons you've had for hating on the guy for years, I'm just the messenger.

One other thing: how many times do I need to give my take on Game 7 last year on this site? I've done it over and over. Kobe had 23 in the 1st half in that game and what did it get the Lakers? A 15 point deficit. Kobe needed his teammates to step up, and in the first three minutes of the 2nd half when he tried to get them on track the lead quickly swelled to 21 and then 28 later in the 3rd. So in the first half Kobe scores 23 and the Lakers get outscored by 15. In the second half Kobe scores 1 and the Lakers get outscored by 16. The second half was extended garbage time (Kobe was pulled with 5 minutes to go), but people think it's his fault the Lakers lost cause he didn't shoot enough in the 2nd half? The Lakers were getting crushed, there was nothing he could have done.

There are plenty of legit reasons to criticize Kobe, but the Shaq being run out of town thing or Game 7 last year to me just seem like hating just to hate.

At 5/31/2007 3:44 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: Um, I haven't really said anything about your opinion of Kobe before yesterday, so calm the fuck down. It just seems like you cut him more slack than any other player, which is fine because we all do it with the players we like.

And oh, who the fuck are you talking about? Have I ever said I hate Kobe Bryant? And "for years"? Dude, I've haven't even been reading this site for a year. So unless you know me perosonally, I find it hard to believe that you know my deepest and most profound thoughts on KB24.

By the way, I get the feeling that if had been LeBron or Nash who had pulled the same shit Kobe did last year, you'd be singing a different tune right now.

At 5/31/2007 6:29 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Sean, I'm not mad at all. Sorry if my tone came across that way. I don't ever get mad at you, I rather enjoy our back-and-forths on this site (it makes things interesting at the very least). Maybe I just wasn't really on your radar till either the Lakers were eliminated or almost eliminated, cause I haven't talked much about Kobe since the Lakers got ousted, I guess.

I do think Kobe is probably the most intriguing character in the league, and I have paid a lot of attention to him over the years. Some of the things he has done on the basketball court are truly incredible. At the same time though I think Kobe's decision-making is incredibly suspect, and that for every game where he throws up a bunch of miraculous shots that win games for the Lakers, there are probably 2 or 3 games where he throws up those same crazy shots and they don't go in and the end result of that is that it costs the Lakers the game.

If I seem to defend Kobe a lot, it's because I think that people have a weird personal hatred of the guy and invent these bizarre reasons to justify it. I think trying to assess a player's true personality and making a judgment about whether they're a good person or not is really silly unless you actually know the person and deal with them in real life. Nobody knows what Kobe's really like, so to say he's an asshole is really based on nothing. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, of course, but I prefer to praise or rip a player based on how they play on the court.

The reason I come down on Nash and LeBron is because of what they do on the court, not because I think they're assholes or something. I think both are incredibly talented players, but I think that Nash has either chosen to play a style or has been coached to play a style which is proven not to work in the NBA when it comes to the playoffs. He frustrates me as a fan because I think if he would step back and recognize that he needs to make some changes to how he runs the offense then the team would have a better chance of winning. With LeBron it's simple exasperation as a fan that he doesn't seem to be applying himself to anywhere near his fullest potential. This is a common frustration I (and many others) have had with lots of sports figured who are uncommonly blessed physically but who have an air of apathy that prevents us from truly seeing greatness unleashed. Kobe, I think, is trying to unleash his greatness, but he needs more focus and intelligence about how he does it. LeBron is often at the other end of the spectrum, with the focus and the intelligence in his approach but without the desire to unleash the gifts within. IMO you have Kobe and LeBron on the ends of this particular spectrum and players like Jordan and Magic right near the middle, knowing how and when to focus their incredible abilities to get the wins.

I'm rambling, but I will address Game 7 last year one more time. IMO the problem in that game was not really with Kobe's 2nd half; instead I think it was with his first half (and Game 6 as well, maybe). The Lakers took a 3-1 lead in that series exploiting the one advantage they had: the post. Once Kwame Brown had those later-dropped sexual assault charges made public right before Game 5, for the rest of the series he was a virtual no-show getting into early foul trouble in the last 3 games. But the Lakers had made it a series by not relying on Kobe to do all the scoring, and after the blowout in Game 5 you could see that Kobe got desperate and reverted to trying to do it all himself, scoring 73 points between Game 6 and the first half of Game 7. This got the Lakers a loss at home in Game 6 (despite Raja Bell's absence) and a 15 point 1st half hole in Game 7. By the time Kobe attempted to go back to his teammates, it was too late and they had no rhythm at all. In any event, I give the Lakers (and mainly Phil Jackson) credit for stretching it to 7 games, cause the Lakers were badly overmatched in that series.

At 5/31/2007 6:46 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: I agree with pretty much everything you're saying. Although I myself don't like Kobe's personality (he just comes off as a little smug and condescending, but whatever), I do think people are a bit extreme in their judgements of him at times. So, I agree with you there.

As for LeBron: although I do agree that he didn't play hard enough for most of this year, I'm just not going to forget what he did on an individual level for the three seasons previous to this one. Again, he's been justly criticized for coasting; but I think people in the media and in fandom have been excessive in their complaints over the last week or so (although I find it interesting that all these same people have suddenly changed their tunes after the last two games). All I'm saying is that even though LeBron has a long way to go in his development as a player and as a person, I'm not going to give up on him just yet.

As for Kobe's Game 7: I think my problem with Kobe in that fourth quarter was that he was playing passively. It'd be one thing if he was just trying to get his teammates involved; it's quite another when it looks like he's giving up on the game. Though I agree the Lakers were badly overmatched and that it wasn't even close to being Kobe's fault that they lost, I've come to expect more from the best player in the league.

By the way: I like these debates of ours as well. Let's keep it going, biatch!


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