It's the Shit That Happens While You're Waiting for Moments That Never Come.

"When you say you love me, it doesn't matter."

Allow me to throw on my new Phallocentric Asshole fitted (from New Era's Spring Fever Objectification line...COP), and celebrate a sub-sub-genre of lady that you may or may not be up on.

God protect the bike messenger girls of Boston.

I don't know if any of you have ever had the pleasure of experiencing a Boston winter, but if not let me awaken your senses. It's basically an 8 month-long night of sitting in your bathtub tearlessly crying while listening to Townes Van Zandt/Joy Division mashups, half-heartedly trying to cut your wrists with the Lady Bic of some jawn you were hot for that you just found out gave brain to Mr. Len in the bathroom during some poetry slam in Central Square. No. It's really like that. For everyone. 8 months.

But hope springs, weathermen. And during my five year bid stacking chips and telling assorted Bro's and Brah's where the Bro's & Brah's Section was at Newbury Comics, you could always see Spring walk right through the door. Nothing made me hornier, feel more inadequate and subsequently make me hornier then the re-appearance of these 8-speed goddesses.

Look: these jawns were rarely over 5"2, but they TOWERED OVER BITCHES. They rocked lo-top Chucks, rolled up Carharts, V-neck T's, AND WORE MOTHERFUCKING CHAIN LINKS OVER THEIR SHOULDERS. You understand that shit? That's like...



HER (the boo from Rad)



They had names like Beth and Lexie. They did not laugh at my jokes. They looked bored at June of '44 shows. They drank shots and beers and bought limited edition post-hardcore LPs. They were always from New Hampshire. I'm probably in still fucked up over two or three of them.

Beyond the details above, the reason these girls were able to walk around that fucking pain cave of a city and scream, "AIR RAID, BITCHES!" is because of one simple thing: they knew exactly who they were.

And this is why Kobe Bryant--who you may know from his recurring roles as AN ASSHOLE in a series of advertisements, as well as minor turns as an accused sexual predator and amateur poet--is my new favorite player not named Iverson, Garnett or Steve Logan.

Kobe on Sunday...it was like the Dirty Dozen; one great warrior leading a rag-tag group of thrift store finds into battle. But instead of having John Cassavetes, Charles Bronson and Jim Brown, Kobe had the equivalent of Matthew Lillard, David Schwimmer and the dude from Onyx who wasn't on The Wire. He was fucked three ways to the weekend.

In the beginning of the game he was on some only child shit (a personal favorite). After getting some not-so-subliminals sent his way about ball hogmanship, Kobe played hot potato and handed out 13 assists.

"I like seeing my teammates being in a rhythm. I like seeing their confidence. I like seeing them smile."

Hey! Nino Brown bought Thanksgiving turkeys for the pipeheads! I like seeing them smile? Sweet shit, baby! Why not just declare Smush as a dependent on your taxes, God!? Whatever, Kobe knows better than I do. His generosity illicited 14 points from Andrew Bynum, 8 from Jordan Farmar (fresh of a D-League appearance earlioer that afternoon) and 13 from Smush (fresh off paying only 20% over dealer's price for a Aston Vanquish the color of dandruff...THE CHAMP IS HERE!).


Kobe looks comfortable as the underdog. He looks comfortable as Lee Marvin leading the rag tag group of miscreants. Like the bike messenger biddies at the Other Side Cafe, Kobe NO. LONGER. GIVES. A. FUCK.

I heard him on Dan Patrick a couple of weeks ago. D.P. was trying to bro up, asking about how Kobe felt about being namechecked in a Three 6 song. Kobe didn't even know about it! He's got three rings on one hand and Luke Walton's one-hitter in the other! Fuck a Juicy J!

After a life of being an international teenager of mystery, of BMOC'ing at Lower Merion High, of snitching on the Shaq's seed distribution, of speaking Italian, of likely being a lonely social retard stuck in an apparently hellish marriage, of being an accused rapist, of all that shit, Kobe has become a human. And by becoming human HE IS BECOMING KINDA FUCKING HEROIC. That's for the English Majors!

This is why Mary J. and Monica go through personal tragedy, dye their hair blonde and become stars. This is why A.I. means more to people than Peter Vescey can comprehend. To err is to be human. To rise above is to be something more. Kobe is starring in the Bad News Bears. He's finally found himself. He is, without fucking question, the most valuable player. But he's also the comeback player of the year. Who could've guessed this shit would happen? Next time some jagoff at the air hockey table asks you how you could possibly watch/like/care about the NBA, tell them about Kobe. Tell them about the glory of seeing someone get their shit together.


At 4/03/2007 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Didn't get the bike shit at the begining but would 100% cosign the Kobe analysis. Besides Kobe not giving a fuck about 3 6.... who gives a fuck about 36... and why is DP listening to 36???

At 4/03/2007 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was great. At least it was Len and not Juss right? I don't know if Kobe has found himself. I know he is not the most valuble player. 24 is definitely Nino Brown though. I don't think I can really come around on Kobe until he truly embraces his ego and explodes on his teammates and tells Phil to go fuck himself. When Kobe demands that Phil be fired and appoints himself player/coach, that is when he will have fully reached his potential as an asshole. And that is when I buy his jersey. Then and only then. Anon, how u gonna hate on 36? That's the American Dream right there.

At 4/03/2007 7:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This needs to be said:
Chances are if you call yourself a pothead, you smoke more than the average NBA'er.
If you call yourself a connoissuer, chances are the shit you're smoking is close to half as good as theirs.

(This off not valid in CA/Hawaii)

At 4/03/2007 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just hating on 3 6 because everything they come out with is shit... If it weren't for hustle and flow no one would be on the weak shit they pass off as 'reppin memphis'.
Back to Kobe, i think he has found himself i mean this year he's been able to drop 50+ in four straight games and the selfish comments are gone because he's got his coach cosigning and odom talking about how he's gonna tell his kids about it. WTF... tell your kids kb24 wouldn't pass the rock and you shoulda been giving teams 22 and 8.

At 4/03/2007 10:14 PM, Blogger Vinnie said...

Last week I heard a voter from the Chicago press (Sam Smith maybe) say he had Kobe third on his MVP board. THIRD?!?! The joker's gonna vote for Nash again. Get off the pulpit and vote for the guy who deserves it unanimously. I hate that shit.

At 4/03/2007 10:20 PM, Blogger Kirk Krack said...

hollertronix, newbury comix, nyc, how has cb lived in every major city across the entire eastern seaboard seemingly for years and still keep up such a youthful set of references

At 4/03/2007 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mafia! Mafia! 36 has been dope for a long time. And Kobe third is a good spot for him considering his team lost 13 of 16 at one point. Oh the injuries! So what. Look what Steve Nash did last year after losing Q, Joe Johnson, Amare and Kurt Thomas. look at what Nash is doing this year and his team gonna win 60. When Kobe gets close to 60 then I can maybe consider it. I think one could argue that TMac could be in 3rd. Ya'll are blinded by the mamba. His team just doesnt win that much and that is what MVPs do. You think Kobe's cast is that much worse than Lebron's? How many wins the Cavs got? If you got Kobe as the MVP then you gotta have Zach Randolph in the top 5 cuz dude is puttin up numbers. But Nash and Dirk are winning games even if Shoals don't like the fact that they dont shoot fadeaway 30 footers while double teamed.

At 4/03/2007 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

fuck tha mafia, but cosign everything you said about Kobe. I don't really even like Dirk or Nash (this is from way back) but Nash is the MVP. If you look at all the other teams that are having the kinds of seasons that would qualify who would you give it to???

At 4/03/2007 11:22 PM, Blogger The Other Van Gundy said...

GodDAMN, Billups - that was some serious shit right there. I was ambivalent before, but no longer.

At 4/03/2007 11:31 PM, Blogger Ritchie said...

Here's the scenario where I start considering Kobe a hero: after beating the Mavs to make the finals Jerry Buss swoops in at the after-party to steal the 17-year-old Kobe is hitting on. Kobe decides he's sitting out the finals and the Lakers lose the first three games. The third game ends with a flagrant foul by Rasheed Wallace which leaves Smush Parker in a coma. In a rage Kobe decides to return to the Lakers and vanquishes the Pistons by exclusively nailing 26 foot bombs and dunking from the free throw line.

At 4/03/2007 11:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Circa 2006-2007 season, I'd say fuck you Billups. But, this year, seemingly Kobe has become so much more desirable. I'm a Phoenix fan through and through, but somehow Kobe makes me watch games I do not care about.
I hate the Lakers to, Sasha is in the wrong league, Kwame is not as interesting as I used to think he was, and Lamar Odom is more fragile than Kenyons knees. I shelled the cash to be able to see Kobe and for that I am speechless. I used to jeer rape, and now, I praise him as the best player in the NBA, currently of course.

At 4/04/2007 12:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who wasn't bored at June of '44 shows?

At 4/04/2007 1:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to be this guy but. . .
Free Darko's MVP had a chance to tie the game and what did he do?
Meanwhile, my mans had 20 and 10 in a win. It's pretty. It's so pretty.
How bout Odom though? Maybe he should be the focal point of the offense. You know Kobe hated his triple double. I got fucked last time I talked shit and Kobe scored 50, but karma is a bitch. Remember that time Jordan had a chance to tie it and he threw up an airball? Me neither. Ha!!!
MVP my ass.

At 4/04/2007 2:01 AM, Blogger pmc said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4/04/2007 2:02 AM, Blogger pmc said...

One could argue that Kobe has gotten more Arenas than he ever was before.

At 4/04/2007 3:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

billups with the realest speak ever told once again.

kobe & april jawns in boston? that's the duality of man. is he the mvp? or the comeback player of the year? i can't speak on that yet; depends on how you define valuable, nash/dirk, blah, blah, blah. but i do know that the view from behind the counter at my newbury is getting better on the regular, daily even. perhaps kobe can keep the pace.

i feel better in the knowledge that you escaped the newbury gulag and prospered.


At 4/04/2007 7:11 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Kobe = Bart Taylor

At 4/04/2007 11:36 AM, Blogger C-los said...

I'm not a Lakers fan at all but I constantly find myself checking their boxscores and rooting for them in private. It's something I cant explain, sort of the way that the Yankees & Duke are supposed to be good and when they're not it makes it not as fun. As good as Mike was I've never seen a team double team him like the Hornets did Kobe 2 weeks ago. As soon as he crossed half court they sent a man at him. WIth or without the ball.....Thats real

At 4/04/2007 12:22 PM, Blogger shoefly said...

I think I said this long before, but Kobe always makes me think of the famous quote from Richard III. "And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover To entertain these fair well-spoken days, I am determined to prove a villain And hate the idle pleasures of these days."

To me Kobe finally stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb if you know what I mean. Barry Bonds is my favorite baseball player because he is who he is, he's unified, whole. Kobe has somehow moved through the slog of the middle years and has become manifest and it's amazing to watch. i just hope he keeps it up, stops passing completely, and ushers in a new era of team second, personal stats first basketball.

That last part isn't entirely true, but I must say that it's that grubby, violent, humanness that Kobe, like Bonds, is now showing that has won him over for me.

I still don't want him to win, but I want him to score 60 and die trying.

And that last poster was right, never has a man been more dangerous from 28 feet out than Kobe at this moment, he's an exemplar of the limits of physical human achievement.

At 4/04/2007 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DArkofan: Bryant is so actualized he is ready to endorse a ride-on lawn mower.

At 4/04/2007 2:05 PM, Blogger The Lord Humongous said...

First, word is bond re: Boston. The longest decade of my life was the year I spent on Commonwealth Ave. [Fuck a two-foot snowfall on April 1st.]

The MVP race rules because it is both obsession-worthy AND pointless, the Sudoku of pro sports. I have to say Dirk this year, because, damn, but at the same time if Kobe retires without the award the Association should fold. A tie would be puss but also just. Nash? Don't want him to win but he absolutely deserves it--look at his digits!

At 4/04/2007 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in Boston right now. Looking out my window, I see that it's sort of half-snowing, half-raining. Sideways. As for those bike messengers, I always considered them ineligible, but seeing them making out with other chicks at Diesel cafe all the time might be clouding my judgment.

Anyway, last year the case for Kobe was open-shut. Nobody was close, except maybe Duncan. This year, man, I don't know, Nash just seems like he's gotten even better. Arguing Nash versus Kobe seems silly, it's completely incomparable. Fuck MVP, we need an award for "most deadly."

What's the point of comparing Kobe and LBJ's supporting casts though? You seriously think the Lakers wouldn't be the 2-seed in the east? And really, if you had to bet your life on a seven game series of Lakers versus Cavs, would it even be a hard decision?

At 4/04/2007 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday was more evidence of Kobe: Not Giving a Fuck. He didn't care so much about winning, or being a good role model to this young squad, or proving haters wrong. He went out there to ball and have himself a good fucking time.

And for anyone who says Kobe is not the "most valuable player". Tell me, who is more valuable to the NBA than Kobe?

At 4/04/2007 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well if we are going with that definition I think Yao opened up the NBA to over a billion people so he would be the league's most valuable player. No one wants to talk about that airball last night huh? And as far as the most deadly from 28 feet I would leave Kobe open to gaurd Reggie Miller, Rex Chapman or Dan Majerle. Those guys were lethal from 28. Chapman and Majerle were lethal from 38. I dont think the Lakers would be second in the east. They are about as good as the Wizards. Airball anyone?

At 4/04/2007 4:50 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Kobe is like the T.V. show "24," addictively compelling yet ultimately vapid, and Billups is his platform shoes.

At 4/04/2007 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, you're participating in what you mock. This blog is like reading Fiona Apple write about basketball.

At 4/04/2007 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're completely right about all of them being from New Hampshire.

At 4/04/2007 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when did free darko become the Kobe "My team is below .500 since I became the best player in the Association" Bryant Circle Jerk?

At 4/04/2007 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that you would "leave kobe open", to gaurd anyone, is all i need to hear.

At 4/04/2007 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I am saying is that Thunder Dan and Rex and Reggie shot better from 28 feet. Plain and simple. And they did it without fading away also. I didnt see Reggie shoot too many airballa witht the game on the line either.

At 4/04/2007 7:34 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

I think that this thread once again proves that love him or hate him, Kobe Bryant is still far and away the most compelling and interesting player in the game today.

I do think regarding the MVP race that if the Lakers had stayed healthy this year, Kobe would be the only one really getting talked about (look at how the Lakers started the year). People want to compare Lamar, Luke and Kwame to whatever teammates LeBron or Nash or whomever else have; but in reality for much of this season it was Kobe, Smush Parker, Brian Cook, Mo Evans and Andrew Bynum as the Laker starters. Consider how bad that lineup would be if Sasha Vujacic* replaced Kobe in the starting lineup and compare how the Lakers have fared compared to what their record could have been w/o Kobe this year and I think you'll begin to see what his value has really been to the Lakers.

* - I'm not bringing up Vujacic for hyperbole, he's actually who started in place of Kobe in the games Kobe missed due to suspensions.

At 4/04/2007 8:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on Yams. Mo has started only 10 games. If I gotta pick between Smush and E Snow, I dont think one is clearly better than the other. And I think Bynum fits the Lakers style much better than Z does for the Cavs. And don't get me started on the disappointment that is Larry Hughes. The whole, "If you took this guy off the team, how good would the team have been?" is bullshit anyway. How many games would the Blazers have won without big Zach? I thought the Lakers were playing their best ball this year without Odom. Brian Cook was knocking down shots and so was Smush. And you guys act like the Lakers don't have the greatest coach of all time. Phil alone should get you 35 wins. I've said it before, I dont understand the role players that Phil Jackson picks, but he's won 9 rings so who knows. The point is, Kobe is not the MVP. He never has been and I highly doubt he ever will be. His team was barely over 500 last year and they are about the same this year. He has got to step it up in other ways than scoring while taking 30 shots.

At 4/04/2007 8:10 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Keep Shoals away from sharp objects. . .

Gerald Wallace fell into Gilbert Arenas as the Bobcats forward completed an acrobatic reverse layup along the baseline late in the first quarter. The contact bent Arenas' knee awkwardly as he fell to the court.

At 4/04/2007 8:19 PM, Blogger The Lord Humongous said...

J.E.--Don't forget about this:

"Arenas had been in the game less than two minutes. He did not start for the first time this season because he was late for the team's shootaround."

Dude! Punctuality is a core value!

At 4/04/2007 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 4/04/2007 9:02 PM, Blogger roadkiller said...

Iverson fan, Mo starting only 10 games is 10 too many on a team with dreams of doing some "upsetting" in the playoffs. Hey he tries, but he's not there yet. And when it wasn't Mo or any of those other well-meaning but sadly deficient/inexperienced NBA "starters," it was who? Turiaf? Hell, I think Shammond Williams might've started a game or two. Intimidating stuff.

But when you say the Lakers played better w/o Odom I realize it's pointless to argue with somebody who probably actually believes this. Your dogmatic anti-stance on anything Kobe taints your ability to watch the Lakers with a reasoned mind apparently. But maybe you don't even watch them? Smush Parker knocking down shots? No, you just believe what you want to believe, and "to hell" with Kobe in the meantime. It's the shit that happens while your waiting...

At 4/04/2007 9:36 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

iverson fan said - Come on Yams. Mo has started only 10 games.

Have it your way, substitute Vladimir Radmonovic (another guy who's been out for months and who's played this whole year with a ruptured tendon in his shooting hand) for Mo Evans then - between the two of them they started 25 games this year at small forward. Bynum is the youngest player in the league, and coming into this year might have been the least experienced player in the NBA in decades (having played 7 minutes a game last year in the 46 games he got into, after not going to college and hardly playing in high school either), but apparently he "fits in better" than a two-time All Star. He's the Lakers third-string center, keep in mind. And let's not get started on how disappointing Larry Hughes has been since he's only averaged a point less per game than Lamar Odom has (he's played in 15 more games than Odom has, btw). Surely he's comparable to Sasha Vujacic. You contend that the Lakers played their best ball with Cook in the lineup instead of Odom (which as roadkiller says, really proves you're incapable of looking at anything Kobe-related without any bias), but the reality is that the Lakers were 15-6 when Odom got hurt and they've gone 24-29 ever since.

How many games would Portland have won without Randolph? You should be looking at how many they've won with him. They're 15 games under .500 with him, so really how much worse would they have been? With Kobe the Lakers are 4 games over .500 and are currently the 6th seed in the West, despite all the injuries. Take Kobe and Randolph off their teams and with all the injuries LA had this year I wouldn't be surprised if they were both down around the 15 win total for the year. The difference is that with both players there, Kobe's actually helped keep his team in contention while Randolph has not.

I have to say, it must be tiring coming up with so many nonsense reasons to hate a guy you've never even met. I guess ESPN has taught you well.

At 4/04/2007 9:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

eddie jordan jacked gil's swagger and looked what happened, that injury was inevitable

looking forward to reading his blog to see what excuse he had for being late, perhaps his helicopter lessons went overtime

At 4/04/2007 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also hate Kobe... not because ESPN says he's a jerk, but because shaq doesn't like him. And ESPN says shaq is credible.
I only fuck with reliable sources.

At 4/04/2007 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just jumped here from Matt Yglesias' site to say that that comment about "Boston Winter" is one the stupidest whiniest things I've ever read on a blog. You'd have to be from LA to actually think Boston, of all places, has a harsh winter. It's almost exactly the same as NY. If you want grey, damp and rainy try Paris or Amsterdam. If you want cold try any city in the midwest or Canada. Boston has about 8 bad days all winter.

At 4/04/2007 11:08 PM, Blogger phoenix a. stepinac said...

If Lexie was a real name and not just something you pulled out of the ether, I'm sitting here with her sister. She still rocks the chain and says "holler". Bring on spring.

At 4/04/2007 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reporting in on the hell that is winter in Chicago. Any fellow sufferers?

Anyways, is it just me, or would Kobe make a great actor specializing in villian-roles in thrillers. I mean, dude has always just seemed like a psychopath to me, and a meglomaniac. In interviews, he's outwardly charming and polite and all, but you can tell its just a facade, that there is some calculating mysterious intelligence inside and it is somewhat disturbing. I'm no Kobe hater, though. He's great to watch.

At 4/05/2007 4:38 AM, Blogger EL MIZ said...

congrats to vanya for being the first masshole to report on how the boston winter has "about 8 bad days." what is the qualifications for a "bad day", 6 inches of snow and 30 mph winds? boston enters winter (ie short days with a gloomy gray ski and freezing cold nights) after halloween and comes out of winter sometime at the end of april. and then hey, its 3 months of insane humidity! (but at least its not cold).

i love how iverson fan continues to retort things with "airball anyone" as if someone with a brain is going to refute that.

the lakers might have a worse supporting cast than lebron on the cavs, but at least kobe doesn't have mike brown running the show. that dude's clue less.

billups for MVP! (the writer not the player)

At 4/05/2007 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To see someone named iverson fan smash Kobe is classic. We are talking about Allen "No Rings" Iverson.

On another note does anyone know the name of the 36 song where they call out KB24???

At 4/05/2007 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LMAO That was great! Offin' yourself with a lady bic and listening to Joy Division. classic. This is just how I feel about Kobe. Overcome the winter.

At 4/05/2007 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yams, I dont hate Kobe as a person. I just think his decision making leaves something to be desired and I think people constantly bail him out by saying he has no teammates. When Brian Cook and Luke Walton were playing together is when I think they were playing their best basketball. I just don't understand how you can't see why people might have a problem with Kobe's game. Its not cuz he's a rapist. Its not cuz he's an asshole. It's because he waivers between being a team player and a ball dominator. It's cuz he takes bad shots at bad times and he is so confident that he does not even realize it.

I love how people use my screen name to criticize my arguments. Have you watched AI lately? His game is very very different than it was in Philly playing with the scum of the league (other than Iggy). By the way, where was your MVP last night while Brand and Kaman were sealing the game? While Ivereson took 13 shots in a win, Mamba took over 30 again in a loss.

Sugar coat it all you want, Kobe is a shot jacker, and every now and then he just decides to not really try. He doesnt play the game the right way, and no decent free agents are gonna want to go there cuz they know the deal. He made his bed.

At 4/05/2007 2:50 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

iverson fan said - I just don't understand how you can't see why people might have a problem with Kobe's game. Its not cuz he's a rapist. Its not cuz he's an asshole. It's because he waivers between being a team player and a ball dominator. It's cuz he takes bad shots at bad times and he is so confident that he does not even realize it.

I think this is a valid argument, because by no means do I think Kobe is flawless. Kobe does make many bad decisions, and always has. His confidence in himself most definitely does get in the way of him playing smart some of the time. If this was the argument I continually heard for why people hate Kobe, then I could understand that, but IMO I don't hear it used hardly ever. Instead it's the typical "he's an asshole, he's a rapist, he ran Shaq out of town" garbage. Kobe didn't used to jack shots or play the way he does now and people hated him long ago. I think people really hate Kobe because he dares to threaten Jordan's legacy (or in your case, probably because for many years it was debated whether he or AI were the "next Jordan").

You can claim Kobe's teammates are great and that Brian Cook is some unheralded gem and that the league's youngest player is a better fit than a multiple All-Star; but the reality is that Kobe needs to take a lot of shots for the Lakers to win. If the 7 game losing streak followed by the 5 close wins in which Kobe had to score in the stratosphere doesn't convince you like it has everyone else, then clearly nothing's gonna ever be able to penetrate your hate. The Lakers aren't a great team, and no matter whether Kobe gets 50 points or 10+ assists in a game, he's still not going to be able to magically elevate the roster they have to much more than they are currently, especially not with all the injuries they've had this year. Maybe next year if Bynum gets older and becomes more consistent, if the Lakers can acquire another bona fide scoring threat, and if the team can stay healthy, then maybe the Lakers could have a shot and Kobe could go back to trying to facilitate things the way he did earlier this season (when everyone was healthy and the Lakers were winning). But for now, somebody's gotta score.

By the way, where was your MVP last night while Brand and Kaman were sealing the game? While Ivereson took 13 shots in a win, Mamba took over 30 again in a loss.

Is it Kobe's responsibility to guard the other team's power forward and center? I believe that's generally the role of Kwame Brown, who is the Lakers' best post defender. Too bad he's hurt (again) and the Lakers had to go with foul-prone Bynum & Turiaf, who are basically rookies after the limited action they both saw last year. But Kaman was a lottery pick who's exceeded expectations for most of his career and Brand was an MVP candidate last year and an All-Star, so maybe that's not a fair matchup. You're right though, Kobe's to blame. Good effort by the rest of the Lakers, trying to overcome Kobe's dead weight. I mean, outside of Lamar and Luke the rest of the team had 19 points for the game. You're right, Kobe does have a great supporting cast.

Finally, you do realize you're the only one still having that AI vs. Kobe debate, right? AI hasn't been a part of that conversation for a couple years now, but you still want to compare the two. Especially now, AI is in a much different situation than Kobe is, so I don't know why the number of shots AI takes in a game now has any bearing on Kobe. AI can afford to shoot less when he's got two teammates who put up 60 points and another three who combine for 40. That's five players other than AI who combined for 100 points last night. Wanna know how many points the top 5 scorers for the Lakers (outside of Kobe) combined for last night? 50. Besides, if you want to compare performances, why not look at Kobe's performance against the Kings on Sunday and you tell me who played better:

Kobe: 6-14 (19 pts), 13 assists, Lakers win by 23

AI: 6-13 (16 pts), 10 assists, Nuggets win by 5

Here's a tip: if you're gonna trumpet a performance by AI over Kobe, make sure Kobe didn't better that performance against the same team less than a week ago.

At 4/05/2007 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant, where was Kobe's scoring while Brand and Kaman furthered the lead. I don't think he should have been gaurding Kaman. The reason I brought up AI is cuz people on here have constantly inferred that Iverson is as big a shot jacker as Kobe when that is not the case. Kobe has been playing with these guys for a while now. They won't get a legitimate scoring threat cuz like I said no one will want to go there. Look at their big signing the past offseason. Vlad. That's the best the Lakers could do. Kobe's game keeps free agents away.

And if Kobe needs to take that many shots for them to win then how did they do so good in that Sac game you referenced. Cuz Kobe played the right way that game. Its too bad he doesnt realize that and quits passing as soon as his guys miss a jumper. I love that you call Z a multiple all-star. Have you watched him play this year? It would be like calling Ewing a multiple all star while he was playing for the Sonics. Once a player goes downhill you cant grade their performance by last year anymore.

What is so different about the Lakers now than at the beginning of the year. Who is missing? Why can't Kobe be a facilitator any more? Because he is not about that. He is about taking 30 shots while his teammates act happy about it. I know Smush ain't happy about it. I give it to you though. You are the only one that makes a half decent argument about Kobe.

At 4/05/2007 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the hell is all this basketball shit. More Angel Hair, scrub.

At 4/05/2007 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the fascination with Cook and Parker?

Brian Cook is Robert Horry without the D and without the balls. And how could a ball-less and defenseless Horry possibly help you out? Only if his threes are falling which they don't half of the time for Cook. And though he only plays limited minutes, I'm yelling at the screen several times per game because he misses so many easy rotations on defense. For every game that he's of help he hurts the Lakers in five others. Let me change my above comparison, Brian Cook is Matt Bullard at twice the salary. I repeat, Brian Cook is Matt Bullard!

And Smush Parker? Is there any other NBA team except for maybe the Hawks that Smush has any chance of starting? There's a reason that Parker hasn't stuck in the League before this gig with Kobe and why he's been benched quite often in recent games for Shammond Williams of all people. Below-average defender (that one steal against PHO doesn't change this), a streaky shooter at best, and most of the time it's a streak of misses, not makes. Exciting in-game dunker though, for what it's worth.

By the way, this comes from a Lakers fan who would like to see these two do well. But I still have hope that at some point in the playoffs Jackson will go to a Bryant-Evans-Walton-Odom-Brown(or Bynum) line-up at critical times. Have Kobe guard the PG, Evans gets the better of the opposing swingmen, Walton the weaker one. Odom and Kobe split most of the ballhandling duties, and once the Lakers are past half court you don't need a real PG anymore anyway.

You'd have three good ball-handlers (Kobe, Odom, Walton) and a big line-up where the Lakers could even switch on the high screens that are killing them so often. Granted, this won't work all the time and hinges on Kobe doing a decent job of keeping PGs out of the lane, but it excites me infinitely more than anything including Smush Parker.

(End of fan rant)

And two add my two cents on Kobe, from the bits and pieces I see of him I can't really come to the conclusion that right now he's any more of a self-indulgent jerk than a lot of other NBA players (for example, LeBron seems way more full of himself to me). Kobe appears settled in now, and strangely enough it reminds me of his first few seasons where he seemed quite at ease on the court (even though he had not arrived game-wise).

As far as Kobe's game goes, my criticism would not be that Kobe shoots to much but rather that he settles too often. NBA basketball is still a game of mismatches and one-on-one situations a lot of times. It's about who has the best chance to beat his defender for a good scoring opportunity. And the biggest advantage between a Laker offensive player and his defender is almost always with Kobe.

So let him get to work, I have absolutely no problem with that. The only thing is that most of his scoring attempts now come from the foul line out, which leaves fewer options to pass the ball to when the defense collapses. I'd rather see him try to get closer to the basket, but that's probably easier said then done when teams have two defenders lurking as soon as Kobe crosses half court. Plus, his outside shots have been falling most of the time, so I see why he's not encouraged to change his ways.

At 4/05/2007 6:12 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

iverson fan - The reason I brought up AI is cuz people on here have constantly inferred that Iverson is as big a shot jacker as Kobe when that is not the case.

Since they both came in the league at the same time, let's compare career shot attempts and shooting percentages:

Allen Iverson - 17,067 shots, .422 FG %

Kobe Bryant - 14,575 shots, .452 FG %

Kobe has been playing with these guys for a while now. They won't get a legitimate scoring threat cuz like I said no one will want to go there. Look at their big signing the past offseason. Vlad. That's the best the Lakers could do. Kobe's game keeps free agents away.

Do you have proof of this? A quote by someone? A quote by anyone? How about a list of possible free agents that signed for the MLE in past years with different teams that the Lakers had a stated interest in. Was there another solid FA last year the Lakers could have got for the MLE that they didn't? Anything like that to back up this theory you're floating? Get back to me when you've got something.

I love that you call Z a multiple all-star. Have you watched him play this year? It would be like calling Ewing a multiple all star while he was playing for the Sonics. Once a player goes downhill you cant grade their performance by last year anymore.

Big difference, Z is only 31, Ewing was 38 when he went to Seattle and he retired two years later. 31 is definitely not "over the hill", especially not for a big man. Do you think Z will be retired at 33? In any event, Z has been on multiple All Star teams, and this year he's averaging 12 points & 8 boards a game in 27 minutes of play. Bynum is only averaging 8 points and 6 boards in 22 minutes of play; and far from having ever been an All Star he's the youngest player in the league. You're the one who introduced this comparison, not me.

What is so different about the Lakers now than at the beginning of the year. Who is missing? Why can't Kobe be a facilitator any more? Because he is not about that. He is about taking 30 shots while his teammates act happy about it. I know Smush ain't happy about it.

The main difference is that Kobe's teammates were healthy and in game shape to start the season, but the main players are now recovering from injuries and trying to get back into game shape and get their timing back. In addition the bench guys are all very worn down by having to play so many more minutes than any of them are used to (look at Bynum & Farmar's early season performances compared to how they've been for the last two-three months). The difference is also that while most other teams have had the whole year to develop some kind of rhythm and consistency, the Lakers have had a revolving door of players due to injuries and haven't been able to get any kind of cohesion as a result. Kobe showed in the playoffs last year and for the first couple months of this season that if the team is healthy and clicking he's more than willing to sublimate his game for the good of the team. But in the absence of anyone who can truly contribute, how smart would it be for Kobe to continually just try to feed the likes of Smush Parker so he can repeatedly clank wide-open shots? For more than a month before his recent scoring outburst Kobe tried to do that and it resulted in a stretch of going 3-13. Can't you concede at all that the reason the Lakers don't have 50+ wins is just maybe because they don't have very many healthy, good players and not just because Kobe's a ballhog or something? In any event, what would you suggest the Lakers do? Trade Kobe so that they can bring in a player who can feed Smush Parker on a more frequent basis? I mean, clearly the only thing separating someone like Shawn Marion from Luke Walton is the fact that Nash passes it to Marion more than Kobe passes it to Luke, right?

You know, when people talk about what would happen to the Lakers & Suns if Kobe and Nash were to swap teams, I really don't think they look at it that closely. Think about this lineup out there: Amare Stoudemire, Borris Diaw, Shawn Marion, Kobe Bryant, Leandro Barbosa with Raja Bell, Kurt Thomas, Jalen Rose, etc on the bench. Does that strike you as a scary lineup? Compare that one to this one: Kwame Brown, Lamar Odom, Luke Walton, Mo Evans, Steve Nash, with Brian Cook, Andrew Bynum and Smush Parker off the bench. Really mull that over.

At 4/05/2007 7:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your first point- Iverson played significantly more minutes than Kobe his first three years. Iverson never played with an even halfway legitimate scorer.

Your second point- I will have to track down a signed affidavit from Bonzi Wells. If you were a scorer would you want to go to that team with Kobe? They also know they gotta watch what they say and do around him cuz he might just rat to the cops.

Your third point- If you were picking a center today, who would you take, a Euro with bad feet that is not playing up to his potential or a young guy with size and strength who is already blocking shots and is tutored by Kareem. Hmmm. Thats a tough one. But Z did make an all-star team in the eastern conference right?

Your fourth point- The Lakers had injuries. Wow. So have the Hornets. So have the Rockets. So have the Clippers. The Nuggets lost melo for 15 games and added 2 new starters. So what? You make due with what you have right? Like Nash did last year after losing Amare, Joe Johnson, Kurt Thomas, and Q. He turned Diaw and Raja into a good players. Everyone that has played with Nash has had improved numbers, and I bet Odom, Luke, Kwame, and Bynum would do the same. No, I can't prove it. I cant find empirical evidence to support my claim.

You have admitted that you see flaws in Kobe's game, and those are the flaws I'm pointing to. I feel that there are other players like Nash, Duncan, Dirk, and Wade that make better decisions with the ball and thus help their teammates out by doing so. This is why I think these guys are better than Kobe. They are definitely not better one on one (except maybe D Wade), but it is a team game.

And I feel there are other players like McGrady and AI that have begun to realize that they must adapt their game to fit the scheme that will win. And that they have to continue to do it. Watching Kobe, it seems like he gets it sometimes and then thinks, "hey I deferred at the beginning of the year, its okay if I shoot 40 times every now and then." It's like he has some Wilt in him. Like he just doesnt get it. "They say I dont pass, well I'll show them. I will only pass."

If Smush misses a shot he misses a shot. But once you stop passing to him because of it, you have further affected his shooting woes. That is what Kobe does. He has no problem dribbling up the court and spotting up for a 30 footer while guarded. If you are a teammate what are you supposed to think of that?

And yes, I do think that if they were healthy they would have won 50 games, but they would still be in the 6 spot, so I don't know if that really matters.

When you criticize the players that Kobe has around him, you are criticizing Kobe. He has a part in their failed development. His game affects the way these guys play and it limits their ability to anything but make a cut to the basket or spot up for a three. Hence, the Lakers have players that can only do those two things offensively when Kobe decides that tonight is his night.

And if you want my suggestion of what the Lakers should do, I would say trade Odom for a real fucking point guard(I would settle for Brevin Knight at this point). Get rid of Vlad and try to get a poor man's version of Shane Battier or Josh Howard (a more athletic Luke Walton) bring Luke and Kwame off the bench and give the starting job to Bynum. If he fouls out, let him foul out. He'll learn eventually. Surround Kobe with guys that can make an open shot, instead of streaky shooters. Have Kobe take around 28 shots and tell him to stop shooting so many 3s (especially fadeaway threes). And let em run a little bit. You got Kobe fucking Bryant on the team and you can't get more fastbreak points than you are getting? But most of all stop drafting and signing these wack ass role players. Take a fucking chance and draft a scorer. Trade some first round picks if you have to. It's not like their first rounders are killing it anyway. Kobe's knees are getting older and older. Have Kobe watch film of Nash and Magic over and over and over again.

As for this season, just have Kobe trust his teammates. If they fail, maybe it will help them in the long run. Kobe averaging 60 but losing in the first round will not help anyone.

At 4/05/2007 9:21 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

I'm loving this debate, but we are kinda going in circles. I am worried I'm coming off like I think Kobe can do no wrong, so I'll agree with you on a bunch of what you're saying. Personally I'd prefer that Kobe took around 25 shots a game, and that way if he's hot he'll go for close to 50, and if he's not he'll go for around 25-30. The Lakers do play their best when everyone else is scoring as well, but the reality is they've had to play a lot of games this year with guys who are either very young (Bynum & Farmar, specifically), guys who are new to the supposedly difficult-to-learn triangle offense (Mo Evans & Vlad) or guys who really are questionable about whether they should even be in the league (Sasha, Shammond, and even Smush). Luke, Lamar & Kwame have been the most consistent guys for the Lakers the last two years, but unfortunately those three have missed a combined total of 85 games this year (and none of them were games missed in just one chunk, with all three of those guys getting hurt, coming back, getting hurt again). Yao and TMac combined to miss 41 games & Melo missed 16. the Hornets have had their injury problems, but then again, they're gonna be in the lottery.

The most frustrating thing for me in trying to defend Kobe is that I don't think he's had a legit shot the last two years to really prove his willingness to share the ball. Last year while everyone was trying to learn the triangle, Kobe was one of 4 Lakers with experience in the offense (along with Devean George, Walton & Cook), and as such at Phil's request took on the scoring load to help let everyone else learn what was going on; and this year there have been the aforementioned issues, so once again Phil asked Kobe to carry the offensive load.

Once again, back to Z, you're now saying who would I rather pick? I'd rather pick Bynum, but that's for his potential. This is a different argument than you initially made though when you said that this year Bynum had fit in better with the Lakers than Z had with the Cavs as evidence that Kobe's had a better supporting cast than LeBron this year. While Bynum has definitely had some eye-opening games that were very impressive, he's also been wildly inconsistent, and appears to have hit the "rookie wall" (which even though he's in his second year makes sense given his age and the little amount he played last year). I think Bynum's going to become one of the best centers in the league, but he's definitely not there now.

To your claim that "players like McGrady and AI that have begun to realize that they must adapt their game to fit the scheme that will win" while saying that Kobe hasn't realized this is ludicrous for one simple reason: Kobe has three rings and those other guys have zero. Kobe won those rings while not being the dominant scorer on his team and while being the leading assist man on all three championship teams. Kobe doesn't have to prove he's capable of that, he already has (unlike the other guys you mentioned). Additionally, unlike AI and TMac, Kobe is not currently on a team with a better scorer, and so it doesn't make sense for him to begin deferring his scoring to someone else. AI defers to Carmello because Melo's a better scorer and player, and TMac defers to Yao because Yao's a more dangerous and consistent offensive threat. While Lamar Odom and Luke Walton do have their pluses, neither of them has ever been a major scoring threat, whether they played with Kobe or not.

Regarding your claim that big free agents don't want to play with Kobe, Ron Artest was rather vocal a year ago about hoping that the Pacers would trade him to the Lakers specifically because he'd been speaking with Kobe. Kevin Garnett is often rumored to be linked to the Lakers due to how much he's enjoyed playing with Kobe in the All Star games and in the summers, and because he has a house in Malibu.

I do definitely agree with you that the solution to the Lakers' problems is to get another scorer. Supposedly at the trading deadline the Lakers had a deal in place to trade Kwame Brown and a few others for Mike Bibby and the Kings owners nixed it at the last minute due to not wanting to help the Lakers in any way; and of course there was also the rumored Jason Kidd deal which fell through. I believe there is a chance that either of these deals could be looked at again this summer, due mainly to the fact that the Kings and Nets have got to be thinking they'd love to dump those big contracts since their teams are going nowhere anyhow. There's also a smaller possibility of Chauncey Billups as he's a free agent, although I think that's probably unlikely. Due to Kwame Brown's injury-plagued year I'm sure whatever interest he might have sparked after the way he finished last year is probably diminished considerably, so it'll be interesting to see if the Lakers will be able to make any decent trades. From a Laker standpoint it would be ideal if they could package Kwame's $8 mil expiring contract with Cook or Vlad and get a point guard who can shoot and score, and then re-sign Chris Mihm to share center duties with Bynum in the future. I'm not holding my breath though.

At 4/05/2007 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, their cap is pretty fucked and Bynum is really the only hope of develping a future allstar. And it seems like any significant trade involves him since he is the one decent prospect. So I'm not sure the Lakers can do much other than pick a 5 and just go with it and hope they improve as a unit. I just hope Kwame is not part of that 5. I like the debate as well.

As to your point about Kobe with his rings, the difference is that Kobe began playing the right way with Shaq. And for some reason he never seemed comfortable playing that way. With these other guys they began as ball dominators and turned into more team oriented players. It's like a natural progression. It seems that Kobe's career is going in reverse and that is why it's hard for me to picture him returning to his with-Shaq ways. Perhaps being teamed with Shaq to begin with put a certain ceiling on Kobe's game. Not that it stunted his growth as a basketball player, but that it did not force him to struggle and learn how to win as the true leader of a team. It's almost like last year was his rookie season as a leader.

We can talk stats and all that bullshit but the bulk of my opinion comes largely from watching these guys play. I feel Kobe is brilliant at times and completely oblivious to his teammates at other times. I know they are in a playoff scrap now, so he cant do this, but I wish he could be content with a loss as long as he played the game that benefits his team the most. There is no shame in that sort of loss. I feel that would lead to more wins in the future. As great as he is, one man is not gonna win a series. And now he is playing for his playoff life.

At 4/06/2007 1:21 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

I don't really think you're being fair in your assessment of Kobe's mindset. While it is true that he was previously more of a facilitator and is now a guy who takes a much larger share of the scoring load, a lot of that is due to who his teammates were versus who they currently are. Kobe's situation in being drafted into a team with three other All Stars at the time (Van Exel, Jones & Shaq) places him in a very different position than virtually any other high lottery pick or guy who's gone on to become a superstar in the last 20 years or so, especially when through Kobe's development he was never thought of as the #1 option on his team.

To say that he may have regressed mentally I think isn't fair because he's not in the same situation now that he was then, and his larger offensive role is necessary now. Kobe is not a Magic Johnson-type player who is ever gonna average double digit assists, and since he's never played point guard really he shouldn't be expected to. I do see Kobe get his teammates a lot of open looks which they usually turn into blown wide-open shots though. Ideally if the Lakers could get a point guard who can hit shots when he's left open, it would open things up for everyone. The Lakers don't have anyone on the team outside of maybe Brian Cook who has a score-first mentality, so as a result you can often see the players just looking to feed it to Kobe so he can take a shot, even if he's extremely well covered. I think if the Lakers had picked up someone like Mike Bibby, then when Kobe passed it out of a double team if it got swung around Bibby's way he would have gladly put up a shot if he was open.

I really think Kobe put his money where his mouth is in last year's playoffs against Phoenix, when he clearly had his offense take a back seat that whole series (except Game 6) with the idea that if they were going to beat the Suns they'd need to do it as a team by executing a game plan that played to their relative strength on the inside and their ability to slow the game down. The Lakers won two of the three games in that series with Kobe not being the leading scorer, and in the whole series Game 6 was the only game in which he scored 30 or more. The wheels kinda came off in that series for LA after Game 4 though when the Suns seemed to finally be able to figure out how to force the Lakers to play at their tempo rather than the other way around. It was to be expected though I suppose, the Suns had vastly more talent than the Lakers.


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