Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ode To Kobe

As we all know April 12, 2013 was the darkest day for a Lakers fan. Kobe Bryant suffered an Achilles injury causing him to miss the next 6-9 months. Because Lakers fans have been spoiled for the better part of two decades of course the world is falling down. They only had to cheer for the two most dominant players of our generation in Shaq and Kobe then Shaq left and a top notch sidekick comes in the form of Pau Gasol but the team wasn't done in acquiring stars and landed the most dominant center since Shaq in Dwight Howard. And to think fans were complaining about having Kobe, Pau, and Dwight on the same team is mind boggling to me but then again i am not a Lakers fan so i tend to make sense of the world. Well i'm digressing but the purpose of this post is not to trash Lakers fans but to show appreciation to the one and only Black Mamba (sorry Deanthony Thomas), Vino, or better known as Kobe Bean Bryant.

It took me a long time to look past the asshole aura around Kobe Bryant. With his stupid afro and number 8 jersey there was no one i couldn't stand more in all of sports (other than Brett Favre). I was happy when he lost all his endorsements after the Colorado incident and the fact that he couldn't do it without Shaq. I saw him nothing more than a ballhog and i enjoyed every second that he was forced to rely upon Smush Parker and Chris Mihm as the other options. The fact that Kobe had to score 35 points a game, win scoring titles and still couldn't make noise in the playoffs made me happy. There was no one i despised more. Then he has his 81 point game and everyone shit their pants and the comparisons to Jordan really started to heat up. Shit i'm sure if Jordan was in his prime, with Morris Peterson guarding him and shooting the ball 46 times while going to the line 20 times he could have scored 100. Side note, did you know who the 2nd and 3rd leading scorers for the Lakers were in that 81 point game...yup Smush Parker and Chris Mihm. Anyways, my ignorance did not allow me to appreciate the second highest scoring game until recently. Then he finally got a servicable sidekick in Pau Gasol where they met up the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals. You know, the Orlando Magic where Hedo Turkoglu was their best all around player. You, the Orlando Magic that relied on Mikael Pietrus to stop the opponent's offensive weapon. And surprise surprise the Lakers won giving Kobe his fourth championship. Then the next year he finally gets a healthy Andrew Bynum to team up with Pau Gasol to meet the ageless wonders known as the Boston Celtics in the Finals. To my surprise though, the Lakers showed resolve in winning games 6 and 7 to get the championship but let us not forget that Game 7 was won because 1) Kendrick Perkins tore his knee the game before and 2) Ron Artest hit a 3 in the final minute to win it. Kobe had a terrible game going 6-24 including 0-7 from deep and if it wasn't for his 15 trips to the line, it would've looked worse. But who remembers that Kobe choked, shoot no one even remembers the Ron Artest championship clinching 3. Whatever because Kobe had 5 rings and was one away from Jordan and in everyone's mind 1 more would have put him on the same level of Jordan.

And that is when it hit me. I was looking at all the bad things of Kobe like his personality, his tendency to play hero ball for 4 quarters, and the fact that he was always being compared to Jordan. I realized 2 of the three were not even his fault and his assholeness is in most athletes anyway so it would be stupid to hate the man for that. I started to look at Kobe and appreciate his game. On the court there was nothing he could not do. He can make any shot on the court, rebound, defend, handle the ball, and as he has shown this year he can be a distributor. And the fact that he has that killer instinct is something i always low key appreciated of him no matter how much i disliked the guy. Even though he may be overrated in that department the fact of the matter is there is no one opponents fear more in the closing seconds then Kobe.

As for the ball hog thing, who else would he pass the ball to... Smush parker, Kwame Brown? Yeah the Lakers were better off with Kobe shooting 30 times a game. Kobe has embraced his villain role and quite frankly could not care less about what anyone else thinks. His sole purpose on this earth is to prove he is the best basketball player ever and although he will not eclipse Jordan he has made a case for himself to be called the second greatest player to ever lace up sneakers. We will be searching for the next Kobe in due time. Here is to you Kobe Bean Bryant. You changed a hater into a believer. Get well soon.

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