No One's Pistols
All sort of amazing possibilities about to come true. Shortly, Deadspin will post my Finals preview, which barely mentions Kobe but will probably still infuriate someone on that count. On Wednesday, when we should be flipping out over this season's climax, FreeDarko will drop a screwy, shambolic draft preview that, so far, I'm quite pleased with.
But before any of that happens, I wanted to raise one Kobe point that's sure to set off 100+ comments. Today on Morning Edition, they had the "Finals for non-sports fans" preview. It was okay, I guess, and yet was mostly notable for the window it gave me into the minds of people who have little or nothing invested in the Kobe wars. Basically, dude was running through the key players and match-ups, and ultimately decided that the Lakers have the edge because Bryant can take over a game like no one on earth. That's what makes him impossible to prepare for, such a god among men, etc. At least when you're trying to sell him to people who probably don't care.
Let's forget, for a second, the fact that super heroism is one of sport's great pleasures, and the one reliably shiver-inducing feature of the NBA. I have no idea how people can resist its allure, which has a lot to do with my disdain of unequivocal anti-Kobe rage. It's like, haven't you even been hiking, or watched a documentary on conversion and zealotry?
I'm mostly amazed at how what was once Kobe's main weakness, as a player and a brand (persisting far longer in the latter), has now been laundered. In its most simple formulation, it's what makes him undeniably great. That stands for the layperson, but I think it's getting harder and harder to deny—or resist—among those in the know, no matter what side of the fence they take.
Granted, Kobe's changed, so his one-man assaults no longer have the same nasty, anti-social connotation. Still, the change in public perception, and desire to stress this part of his game, is telling. There's a wave in town, and it's hard to resist.
Also, R.I.P. Walt Dickerson and Bo Diddley.
UPDATE: Deadspin preview up, light on you-know-who.