What a great game the other night, Lakers vs. Celts. I, of course, despite living in LA, will always cheer for KG. Always. My favorite player of all time. I love his game, his attitude, his intensity. One of my heroes.
But Kobe hit that late 3 last night, the one that Reggie Miller described as “cold-blooded.” And it was. Just deadly.
When it was Shaq and Kobe, I always hated Shaq. Not because he isn’t funny, or personable, or a great ambassador for the game. I hated him because the NBA let him charge on every single fucking play. Elbows. Running over people. Charges.
And the NBA just let it happen. Because he was so marketable.
(My caveat, of course, is that apparently Shaq paid for George Mikan’s funeral. That is one of the classiest things I’ve ever heard about in my life. Shaqtastic!)
I don’t think the NBA knows how many fans they’ve lost because of charges not getting called, players constantly carrying the ball, missed travel calls. Old school basketball fans look at it and say, “No thanks. I’ll watch college ball.”
I love pure basketball players. Tim Duncan (although I hate how whiney and chippy the Spurs as a whole have become). Steve Nash. Reggie Miller. Ray Allen. Garnett. Chauncey Billups. Rip Hamilton. Hell, Derek Fisher.
I got into an argument with a guy once about D Fish or Stevie Franchise. I was all about Fish (once again, despite hating the lake-less Lakers). The guy was all about “Franchise.” History has kicked that guy in the nuts for me.
So I’m watching the game last night, cheering for the Celts (as any good Minnesotan does now that Garnett plays for ’em- AUGGH! That late bullshit phantom 6th foul call on Garnett!) and Kobe hit that late three. And I just thought, “That’s the best player in basketball right now.” Kobe has it all. Range, evil moves, cold-bloodedness, psychotically high basketball IQ, he’s just beyond. Lebron, of course, is unreal, but the four steps to the basket can get a bit much.
I remember watching a T-Wolves vs. Lakers game in the Target Center, and some moron yelled out, “Hey Kobe, you’re still not Michael Jordan.”
Could that idiot have missed the point more? I would’ve loved to see Kobe turn around and yell, “No, I’m not. I’m Kobe goddamn Bryant, and I’m destroying your team by myself.
Much respect. And that’s from a guy who doesn’t say things like “much respect.”
I’m still not calling you “Mamba,” though.