Sunday, June 20, 2010

back to back champs

So first off I want to say congratulations to the Lakers, a well deserved back to back title. Next, I want to say I am not a fair weather fan, I grew up watching Magic and listening to my dad talk about Jerry West and the great lakers players. It was his favorite team his whole life so naturally it's the only NBA team that I followed when I was a kid. I love the lakers, I get jacked up when they play, and I'll argue to the end about each and every one of their players (well maybe not Ron Artest) but everybody else. My dad's favorite player was Jerry West, he could tell you every stat about him throughout his career and the impact he had on basketball in general. Down the road when I tell my kids about basketball I'll talk about Kobe, and I think a lot of people my age will do the same. Which leads to the ultimate debate that will never be answered, MJ or Kobe?

I've been in countless arguments over this sore topic and first things first, it's almost a comparison that should never be made but because that would be too easy for the media to dismiss, we live in an age where comparisons are the norm. My 100% belief about the entire situation is that MJ revitalized and gave life to basketball, he brought it back and provided viewers an incredible show each and every time he played. He had a swag about him on the court and off the court, he'll be one of the greatest players EVER to play the game. He has 6 championships, all 6 were with Phil Jackson. Kobe now has 5 championships, all 5 with Phil Jackson. They have very similar resumes, the same determination, motivation and love for the game. They have the same turn around fade away jumper. They have the same smile after pulling off a miraculous shot, the same passion. MJ was more of a media guy, he would smile and laugh and everybody loved him. He could do no wrong.

Kobe on the other hand went through a bad situation that was amplified by the media, the same media that is now saying Kobe will never be in the same boat as Jordan. Maybe he did himself in, but as far as basketball goes he is special, very special. Kobe had shut out everybody throughout the entire playoff series, every post game conference I watched I didn't notice Kobe smile one time, not once. He spoke with truth, he was blatant, and he didn't fake anything. After having a horrendous shooting night, Kobe managed to help his team out by grabbing 15 boards and nailing a jumper at the elbow to keep the lead at 4. He provided his team with a boost in ways that aren't statistically recorded. His passion, his determination spoke volumes in game 7. You could see it in every single player on the lakers. They were playing for the team, for Phil, for Kobe and that proves to me how important and how amazing of a player Kobe Bryant is. Not one game in the playoffs did he shoot that bad, I'm not even sure if he shot that bad the entire year. But hey, everyone has a bad game right? He just kept believing, not only in himself but his teammates. Guys like Derek Fisher hitting a HUGE 3, Pau Gasol dominating the boards and Ron Ron doing all the dirty work. Even though I thought Artest almost lost us the entire series, he came to play game 7 and I admired his work ethic and performance that night. I can't say if I think Kobe or Jordan is better, but I do know I think Kobe is the best basketball player of his time and that if he wins another championship there is no reason for him not to be in the same boat as Jordan. As for next year, I think Kobe works that much harder in the off season to get his boys back and I can only hope they win again.

Watching Kobe play this year really made me appreciate how good he really is. Ask coaches, players, former players about him and you'll hear compliment after compliment. He is one of the few athletes in the world that actually make me laugh at how good he is, because it just doesn't make sense. He's in the same category is Lionel Messi, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, and Albert Pujols. He hits shots that I've never seen people make, he sees things that nobody else sees, he wants the ball with 5 seconds to go, he laughs at the face of defeat, and he puts his team on his back and carries them to where they need to go. He himself and his teammates and he's never afraid. His confidence shines a light on everyone else and provides them with a sense of calmness. I wouldn't feel too bad at the end of a game knowing I had Kobe Bryant on my team. He is one of the best players of all time and just like Brett Favre I hope he plays forever.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you 100%! Kobe is on a different level...even on a bad day he gets 15 rebounds. His determination shows on his face, just like a son that I have. I love how, despite all the odds against him, he still believes he can win. I, too, have loved the Lakers since back in the day...Magic was my man. But talk about a different level? I think Phil Jackson should run for president and whip this country back into a champion :)