Monday, January 23, 2006

Greatest Show on Earth?

Last night--inspired by a particularly compelling week of basketball in which Tracy McGrady returned to the Rockets lineup and displayed his usual fourth quarter theatrics, Lebron reasserted his manhood against the Jazz, and Kobe dropped 51 against the Kings--I was in the process of remixing this photo for an entry which I had planned to pose the question: which individual player is the most exhilirating to watch in the NBA?

T-Mac is a no-brainer for us as to inclusion in this question... an inhuman performer in the clutch (which we here put a premium on)--yea, we know he hasn't gotten out of the first round... yet... Lebron, too, despite his recent haplessness in the clutch, for his playmaking skills, unselfishness and equally inhuman ability to fly and maim rims. Kobe, on the other hand...

I've never liked Kobe... all of us at Globetrotter have never liked Kobe. We laughed when he was booed in Philly and laughed when an ESPN SportsNation poll revealed that even after Kobe's 62 earlier this year, 49 states to 1 voted that they like Allen Iverson better. Any guess which state 1 was?

But we have respected his game. Even after we laughed at him air-balling crunch time shots in the playoffs his rookie year, we knew he could play. And taken by an entry from, I included Kobe in the question.

And I almost finished the post, too. I had strengths and weaknesses for all the candidates mapped out. I even had honorable mentions (Steve Nash, VC, D. Wade). Then Duke calls me me during Kobe's road to 81. He says only, "Kobe's got 50 in the third," and hangs up. I couldn't watch it because I've sort of moved in with my girlfriend and NBA Ticket is at Duke's place, but I kept watching Sportscenter and they kept updating not the score, but Kobe's point total.

Kobe effectively shat on my question while he shat on the Raptors, too.

Now I'm still pretty sure that if I ever met Kobe Bryant, or had to play on his team, even a pick-up game or charity event, I probably wouldn't like him (but to be fair, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have liked Jordan either). Some still think Bryant is a rapist--I personally don't, but he's a cheater nonetheless. The chip on his shoulder was enough to separate the thing, and it seems to be tiring everyone but him. So, 81 notwithstanding, I'll probably never be sold on the man... but damn if I ever say he can't play.

The Association was there.

Detroit Bad Boys tries to downplay it and T-Mac, too.

J.E. Skeets has an open letter from a bitter Luke Ridnour.

Yay!basketball takes it all back then gives it to Ray Allen.

But Manute's Webb keeps it coming.

True Hoop dissents in the comments.

So is that it? Is Kobe the best in the world right now? Has he locked MVP before the All-Star Break?


train said...

i like kobe. ever since he got booed in philly. i laughed too but inside i was crying.

T I G E R said...

how the frick can you like kobe? this is mindblowing. how much shit did we give him in that playoff series vs. houston three years ago? chants of "RAPIST, RAPIST, RAPIST..." remember?!? did you like him then? bullshit. i'm floored... are you sure this isn't about something else? i'm sorry i ruined your lucky jacket... it was an accident... how many times do i have to tell you... it was an honest mistake... how does anyone mean to pee on a jacket?

dukehogwild said...

watching kobe scoore 81 was self revealing..i felt sadistic. i cared not about basketball and the faces of his teamates. all i wanted was for him to keep scoring.i still think kobe is a dick. his post 81 interviews were very pretentious. but he doesn't pretend to have skill.....dave chapelle said it best "it's like the judge gave him the ball and said 'here boy, play for your freedom'"

aloneconformist said...

actually dookie, that's brilliantly stated... i visited our peers at who, like every other sports blog on the planet, has a post about kobe's manhood. i made this argument:

At 9:04 PM, aloneconformist said...

no one can question kobe's individual talent and not be full of bitterness and self-loathing... but is his accomplishment good for the game... or even his team? it's almost better that wilt did his in a blowout. all that means is that he went for his when it didn't mean anything... is it good for the lakers to think that every time they have a bad game, the first thing kobe thinks is shoot and don't stop shooting, ever, not say... incite the team to a comeback. maybe he can't, because maybe at this point they don't even like him or respect him as a teammate or a leader--oh, they respect his game, but have you noticed every time lamar odom compliments kobe, he looks like he's forcing down brussel sprouts?

what kobe did is probably the most impressive single player, single game performance ever but despite popular opinion, i actually think it's more difficult for a post player to score big points than a wing because somebody has to actually pass the ball into the post (evidenced by the 20 assists mentioned in ryan b's comment). as a wing, you ain't gotta pass to nobody... but yea, wilt was dominant in his era, his stature compared to the rest of the league was like say... kobe... compared to the raptors.

i'll finish by saying tmac has been in a similar position many times this season, and he has not once taken more than forty shots in one game (and kobe has better individually talented players on his team, players that can create scoring opps for themselves). tmac consistently puts his team in a position to win, and doesn't necessarily have to take the last shot (as seen last night against detroit). so, we know who's the better scorer, but who's the better player?

jordan never scored more than 70 points in a game for a reason, he never reached a point, especially after phil jackson arrived in chicago, where he felt he had to.

aloneconformist said...

one of the freedarkos had this response. it's dead-on...

At 9:35 PM, Bethlehem Shoals said...

81 is beyond basketball good and evil; it's about something far bigger than one season or team. kobe proved last night that he owns the game, the same way that lebron regularly professes his love for it and AI turns it into a metaphor for the human condition.

it's not a question of whether last night made him immortal, or stands as the greatest accomplishment the sport has yet known. what kobe's performance did do was spell out, once and for all, who he is as a player, why he belongs among the all-timers, and how he's like and unlike others in the pantheon. kobe-hating on sunday afternoon meant beating up on an easy target surrounded by question marks; monday morning, those same people were now in the position of trying to front on a clearly-defined legacy.

Jeff said...

By all accounts, Kobe is a dick. That said, I have a tendency to Tivo Lakers games to watch him. In addition to his ability to drop 81, I think he's the most clutch player in the league today. Sometimes I'll fast-forward to the 4th quarter to see if he's got a chance to do his thing in a close game. He rarely disappoints.

And by not really liking him, I am ensured of happiness. If he fails, I feel satisfaction. If he wins the game, I feel exhilarated.