Kobe on a Pau trade: He shows he's full of shit.
Posted by: SPQR on Monday, February 20, 2012 - 03:04 AM
I read those remarks by Kobe tonight on the Pau rumors. And how the Lakers need to sh*t or get off the pot, so to speak. Trade him or tell him he's staying. So that Pau can do his thing, or "Invest himself" with the team as Kobe put it.|
As is so often the case in Kobes verbal career, he has no idea what he is talking about and should limit himself to areas where he doesn't look foolish.
By the very nature of this business, almost any player can get traded at anytime. It is part and parcel of the trade. Almost every single player has a trade hanging over his head like Sword Of Damocles, just a moment away from falling on the neck. It is a rare player indeed, who has a no trade clause, like Kobe himself.
I was listening to the Suns announcers today. They broached that very topic about Pau, trades and any effect it may be having on him.
The one Suns announcer, who's name escapes me, how played many years in the NBA found the whole idea ludicrous. He said all NBA players know coming into the league they may get traded, and traded and again traded in their careers. If they are lucky enough to have a career of any length.
He said Pau is rich, can live in any city he chooses, or in many cities if he so desires. He said playing under the threat of a possible trade is no threat at all to real NBA player. That what they get in return more than offsets any trade that they may have to endure.
The fact is, professionalism and a true work ethic, the measure of the man should obviate any lack of performance that trade ideas can engender in these men. To think that any of these rich, spoiled athletes need to know where they will work in order for them to do their best is physcological pandering and coddling in its most base form. And it is a disgrace if Pau feel that way and double disgrace for Kobe to even bring it up as some kind of mitigating factor in Pau or any professionals effort or concentration.
Let me tell you how it should be done. I will use myself and some people I was lucky enough to personally know as a object example of what life requires of you.
I worked at a very demanding job for seven years. I was responsible for a nation wide series of complex, expensive intallations. I had to make sure they ran as they should, and if they didn't, boy, you better believe I had to get the problem solved pronto.
I was good at my job. Damn good. And thats a fact. And so were the other 75 people who worked with me out of that building in their own spheres and responsibilties.
Then one day, a company from Finland bought us out. For a year, they told us all was great. They were going to give us more and better computers, enlarge the engineering staff. Make our very crowded plat much more palatable and easy.
After a year, we were all called into the conferance room for a powerpoint presentation. At the end of the presentation, the last few slides told us that because the new companay had several other buildings in the country, ours was not needed. That it would shut down one year hence and all employees laid off.
And that's how the sword fell on our necks. Just like that. At the end of a powerpoint presentation.
And thats the real world. Not the rich fantasy world these players live in. So for one year, we all worked, knowing our jobs were lost. We were very close, a family. Everone there loved their jobs and many had worked there, sweating blood and endless hours for over two decades. All gone.
And I can tell you,, the day we saw that powerpoint presentation, tears flowed. I mean in buckets. Like rain. The company gave us the rest of the day off. And people ran out of the building because they were crushed, devestated.
And I can also tell you, me, we, us, for that last year, knowing we are gone, worked as hard and consciensously as the first day we were hired. Because thats who we, me, us were. That was our work ethich and mettle we forged over the years. Pride in performance and what we gave for our pay. And we were still getting paid. And we still had the pride. Because that is one thing you can't take from a real man or woman.
And we did it knowing no jobs were guaranteed waiting when the sword fell on our necks. Not like Pau. Or Kobe. And we did it for regular pay. Not like Pau. Not like Kobe. Not for their uncountable millions. Like normal, everyday citizens who live in the real world, not the ridiculous, sweet money ride of adulation and fame where the world is at your finger tips and richs and entitlement flow like aged vintage wine.
And we are not alone. Millions of workers have gone throught this crucible for decades and even more so lately because of the economic collapse. And they deal with it like we did. Like anyone should, if they have pride of work and pay. If they have pride of self.
Every single working man and woman alive knows that they could get laid off or fired at any time, with the most capricous, burning wind blown down from management that scorches lives and decades of service. It as always been thus and always will be. Yet every day they work to the best of their ability. And feed a family, go to school, cook meals, pay mortgages, raise kids and accoplish all the other necessities life puts on everyones agenda. And they do it on a workers salary.
And where have we gotten too, as citizens and fans, we who live our lives under these threats, these constraints every damn day, yet now we feel sorry for these poor abused men who can't function if the millions will have to come from another owner in another city? These athletes no nothing of the real world. And fans who pander to them and their enemic tantrums and ersatz problems no nothing either. Pathetic.
So if Pau, poor Pau, is distracted. Not really himself, because he is not sure if he will need to buy another mansion outside of LA, he finds no friendly solice from me. And if Kobe thinks that is reason for a player to not give his best, well the Mamba may have a basketball work ethic, but he sure as hell knows nothing about a real one. The kind that built America, forged by its common citizens with all the concomintant pressures the toil under.
If this is honestly giving Pau some problem. Then he better thank god he does not work a real job. Then he would know what stress is. Because he wouldn't last long in that world. Real stress. Not some imagined stress of American royality.
Kobe Bryant has no cause to turn this into a front office problem. It's not. It is the purview of the front office to trade or not trade players under contract at their discretion, using their timeline. Because if Pau is not giving his all, its a Pau problem. Not a front office problem. Kobe, as he has in the past, in opening his mouth, being Kobe the GM, showing everyone again, that he is way out of his depth and league when he tries to "think" or address issues in a real, rational way. If Kobe thinks Pau is dogging it, then he should take Pau aside and say, "Hey, be a man. You're a professional. They are paying you millions to perform at your best. You are hurting this team and yourself."
And since Kobe said what he did, one thing I do know, once again he gives a prime example of how divorced from reality he really is, that he is full of sh*t when it comes to anything outside scoring points; why its best for him to do what he does best, just shoot a ball, play a kids game and not venture into areas he cannot even fathom nor the intellect to attempt a true remedy without causing even more harm.
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LA-Toronto. A journey begins. But is time running out?
Posted by: SPQR on Sunday, February 12, 2012 - 03:59 PM
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Confucius|
Confucius said that a long time ago. Even longer than Derek Fisher has been in the league, even if that seems impossible when we watch him today.
And that very salient observation, that aphorism that is true in life also applies to sports. And not just sports, but sports teams and also how we judge and view them and also how they show us progress, or lack of same over the time they take their particular journey.
And in Toronto today, the Lakers did finish up one of those smaller journeys that give insight into the progress on a much bigger journey they are trying to take. A microcosm of a macrocosm, of improvement they need to make to alchemize championship lead dreams into golden reality.
A very spine tingling game today against Toronto. The Lakers started out like a house on fire, Toronto began like a team that had just played a blood feud game against Boston the other night, and that combination led to a fast Lakers 15 point lead and what looked like a real joyride in our last game of six on the road.
But as we know, nothing, especially leads, are what they appear to this Lakers team. Sometimes they are leads, other times just the illusion of leads. Toronto found their game, the Lakers lost theirs and with Calderon doing his best Jeremy Lin vs the Lakers impersonation, Toronto attacked back in the second half and eventually took a slight lead and what looked like a win late in the game as Kobe started hitting air and Pau and Drew looked like someone had cut a foot or two off their height as the game continued.
But in the end, right when it looked like we had succeeded in coming from ahead to lose, Kobe hit one of those improbable, “there Is no human way that will go in” shots, moving, almost falling sideways, a spit second off the catch, a mile from the basket for the lead.
A Kobe steal and pass to Metta for a final layup and we had decided to come from behind to win a game that we had already won before deciding to give it away! And so it goes for these Lakers.
The Lakers finish up 3-3 on this road trip. A step forward on our team’s journey of a thousand steps? Well, based on their previous road record, it sure is. While five hundred pales in comparison to our lofty standards of yesteryear (or does it seem like just yesterday?) it sure beat the pathetic performances and won loss record we have put up so far away from Staples.
What did we see on this road trip? A Kobe who can miss a lot and hit a lot. A Kobe who can seemingly shoot the team out of contention, then with the blink of an eye, pull the fat out of the fire and secure a win in a close game. A Drew and Pau who can look seven foot tall as times, then retreat into some new dimension where they look more like seven inches tall. One of the greatest illusions in basketball currently going. That trick Is so good, so interesting to watch, they should join a circus and take it on the road…oh…they are already taking that act on the road with the team. Point guard play that is so bad, especially on defense, that it makes Jeremy Lin and Jose Calderon look like Isiah Thomas and Walt Frazier…in their primes. And the rest of the team who look good, bad or indifferent, depending on…whatever it is players of this caliber depend on to give what they have to give on any given night.
In other words, we saw the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Lakers. Yes, the balance of the team’s power, Kobe, Pau and Drew, is slowly bringing the road record more In line with what this team really is. This team is better than the 2-7 road record we had going into this small seasons six game journey.
And while we did not excel on the road as we did when we were younger, stronger, swifter travelers, we did show improvement. We took that proverbial step to travel a thousand miles.
But what’s next? Kobe says he wants a facilitator that in most likely hood we won’t get. As though Mitch can snap his fingers and some fairy facilitator will emerge this year from never never land, passing out balls and victories on demand. But Kobe can find one, if he REALLY wants to, if he looks the mirror. But to be a facilitator, your heart has to be into it, and your main concern has to be getting assists, not leading the league In scoring or catching Abdul Jabbar at the end of Kobe’s own particular, singular journey of a thousand games. Kobe already has the facilitor the front office most likely cannot get him. But he won't really use him.
And Pau and Drew want touches. But what call of theirs is answerable when at times, against even the most pedestrian of competition, they look to be seven inches tall, not seven feet? Where is the confidence and ability to make their wishes come true? Because to make a wish you come true, you have to show it, you have earn it, you have be a guy people will place their wishes on.
And how do you make so many average players reach their own personal heights? How does Derek get faster, Metta get younger, Barnes more explosive?
A front office handcuffed by a very bad trade already perpetrated this year and handicapped by large salaries given to now aging and ineffective players years ago.
Is this a team that can navigate that thousand mile journey?
The Lakers took a very small step on their journey today, in this road trip. They are beginning to win on the road a bit. And that is something good. Because you can disguise many things in sports, for a while. But the road is the mirror to the soul in the NBA. It reflects back to you what you are when the pressure is on; not when you are cozy at home, with your fans, sleeping in your bed night, with your family and friends during the day, in your locker, in your gym, with thousands of your fans on your side.
The road denudes and defenestrates all that. It leaves just you. Your team, your talents, your flaws, your teams flaws on display. And that is the bone of discontent that the other teams try to pick dry when you play on the road. And If you can’t win on the road, well, you ain’t long for the playoffs boy. And you’ll be watching other teams who can win on the road playing for the ring. And that’s just how that works.
But while we made a small step on this trip, a small incremental move on a small journey that is part of our much longer one, does it mean anything in the full view of things?
Confucius said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
What he didn’t say was that sometimes, even if you make those steps, your body is not strong enough to finish the journey. Or at the rate you are moving, you just can’t get to where you need to be in time.
And if that is the case, then even the steps you have taken are in the end, just useless, wasted energy.
Sometimes, in the end, out of time, out of energy, no physical resources left to give, each step labored and slow, the journey ends in a cold, desolate place; a traveler alone, freezing, with no where left to go but dreams failed and darkness embraced, while the last conscious thoughts before the end go back to younger, stronger, warmer, sunnier times when things came so much easier and trails were quick and so easily trode.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. And so we go. But where will it end?
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If I had my druthers, it would be Rubio in Purple and Gold.
Posted by: SPQR on Friday, February 10, 2012 - 04:07 PM
There have been so many threads here about players (stars) we would like to see don the Purple n Gold.|
Some want Howard, some want Paul, some want Zippy (Blake Griffin) others want Deron Williams. And many others.
Will we ever get any of them? Who knows?
I think most of us would want to see a really good point guard on this team. It is our biggest weakness, not only in the performance of Derek, but having a top notch point could possible- and I really stress POSSIBLY, lol, for obvious reasons- help um...move some of the shots from Kobe to Pau and Drew, who seem to be working better and better together and are starting to create a very frighting mismatch combo against teams that if fullly exploited, may help this team go much further than some of us may think right now.
But all the above aside, which is certainly a topic we could debate forever, if one looks at the point guards in the league, which would you prefer? Not just for this year, but as a whole? For now and the future?
And so this question perhaps expands to more than which point would you like on LA, but actually which point do you like the best? Which one "does it" for you better than the others?
The usual suspects are Deron and CP3. And they were mine too.
But not anymore. Lately I have been watching rookie European import Ricky Rubio. As a rookie, he certainly does not posses yet the savy, the all around skills or games that CP3 and D Will have honed to such a fine and tight degree over their NBA careers.
But Rubio shows me flashes of something that I don't see in Deron or CP3. A transcendant, only-born-with-it greatness in the art of passing that very few have shown. Kind of like Kobes scoring ability, but only in the passing department.
Magic Johnson was the last guy I saw who had this virtuoso ability to kick you in the *ss with a pass so unnatural, so eloquent not only in function, but in design, originality and execution, that you literally jump in your chair and say, "Did I just see that? Can you show a replay so I can see if what I thought I just saw, I really saw?" lol.
That is a very rare quality to posses. Just like the rare ability of Kobe or Jordan to engender the same response at times when they put the ball in the hoop like no others can.
I have seen some great passers since Magic. Stockton and Nash come to mind. But in the short time Rubio has been playing, he already has had me shaking my head more than Nash and Stockton did their whole careers with the art of the pass.
And I when I see him do this, this facility that is so very rare, I also think, "Man, this is a rookie in the NBA. What's he gonna do when develops his NBA game on top of his European one, like Nowitskie did over his years? What kind of passer, what kind of scorer, what kind of player and leader will this virtuoso of the assist really become?"
And when I think that, as great as CP3 and D Will are, as much more polished and finished products they are right now, I realize, I want the guy who has that touch of the divine, that scent of Mozart over anyone else currently writing the sweet music of the pass.
I appreciate the excitment of the athletic jumpers and slammers and scorers as much as anyone. But nothing gets to me, makes me more excited than watching a master passer slowly, incrimentally, diabolically, slice up and dissect and breakdown his opponent until they are helpless at the passing onslaught and the turmoil it brings about on the defense.
And when I watch Rubio, so young, so new here to this league, with so much more ahead of him, when he makes me sit up with a start and think, "Holy sh*t, did I just see that pass correctly?" I know who I would want on this team if I could make it come true.
If I could have my way, it would be Rubio in Purple n Gold and I would never be able to take my eyes off the screen when he was on the floor. Because that is when the excitment would really only begin.
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Lakers-Denver, a good, flawed win.
Posted by: SPQR on Saturday, February 04, 2012 - 03:24 PM
The Lakers had a nice win last night in Denver. The top teams seperate themselves from the pack by virtue of their road wins. More important than our current three game road win skien is that we have now won our last two road games which is very nice considering it seemed almost impossible for us to win even one road game just a short while ago.|
If the Lakers can come off this trip at say 4-2, it would mean a very large shift in their ability to ascend to the next, desired, needed step, if they are to go anywhere.
But the win was flawed in that it was achieved in a way that made it harder than it should have.
Today I read a very interesting blog in the LA Times about the flawed win. I will copy and paste then give my thoughts. Here it is:
Five things to take from Lakers' 93-89 win in Denver
February 4, 2012 | 8:55am
1. An important road win against a conference playoff contender. Let's start with the biggest positive of the night: a quality win on the road against a conference opponent. So it wasn't pretty, but the Lakers still went on the road to beat the Nuggets, 93-89. When they want to know whether you won or lost, they ask how many, not how well you played. The Nuggets (15-8) have proven to be a formidable opponent since the departure of Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks as well as Kenyon Martin (now of the Clippers) and J.R. Smith to China. Just as impressive, the Lakers (14-9) overcame some controversial calls, or non-calls, to earn the victory and move up in the Western Conference standings.
2. Broken record: The Lakers need to execute better on offense. Once again, the Lakers continued to have breakdowns in running their offensive sets, often resulting in poor-quality possessions that ended with rushed shots at the end of the 24-second clock. And with Andrew Bynum running hot, how can he end the game with only 13 shots? The Lakers continually failed to get him the ball when he had great post position. A couple of scenarios in the game included the Lakers' two most veteran players -- guards Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant -- failing to get Bynum the ball when he had established himself on the block. Bryant ended up driving wildly into the lane and hoisting an off-balance shot on more than one occasion.
3. Broken record II: The Lakers need to improve their transition defense. Too many times the Nuggets were able to get down the court for easy layups. And that included big men Nene and Timofey Mozgov as well as the speedy Ty Lawson and other perimeter players. The Nuggets are primarily a young and athletic team, and they're not the only one in the West that will torch teams in transition if defenses aren't paying attention. Think Thunder, Clippers, Blazers, Jazz, Warriors, etc.
PHOTOS: Lakers vs. Nuggets
4. Broken record III: Kobe Bryant needs to know when to defer to the big men. Bynum made 10 of 13 shots for 22 points while collecting 10 rebounds and Pau Gasol was five of 10 from the field for 13 points while pulling down 17 rebounds. It became obvious as the game unfolded that the Lakers had the advantage on the front line. When your two big men are shooting better than 65% combined, they need to take more than 23 shots in the game.
5. Andrew Goudelock continues to impress. The rookie guard made six of 10 shots, including one of three from three-point range, for 13 points, his fourth double-digit effort in the last five games. When Steve Blake returns to the lineup, the Lakers' backcourt will have more weapons and depth, plus the ability to give more rest to Fisher and Bryant.
Some points I would make on his article:
I don't mind stressing the defense as Brown has done. Offense is pretty, offense is nice, but when you look deep into the playoffs and the NBA finals, you don't find defensive weaklings playing for rings or winning them. That tells you something. That being said, the offense, given what they have on this team should be better and they need to make it so.
The big reason I called the Denver win flawed is because once again they played stupid ball. On a night when the bigs were just dominating, could do anything they wanted, Kobe shot too much and he and Derek and the others didn't go inside enough. As the writer says, a broken record. Or more aptly, a record, a song we have to hear way too much, over and over again, with Kobe and the boys.
One a night when Drew could do whatever he wanted, to whomever he wanted, whenever he wanted, on a night he shot 10 of 13, Kobe still managed to throw up 23 shots, hitting a paltry 7.
Why on earth can't he just say, "Hey, on this night, against this team, the way he is playing tonight, Drew can lead us to an easy win, so lets feed the hell out of him. I don't have to lead the team in shots for once."
But of course he can't, won't. And there lies the big flaw. And on a team that is not dominant, its a flaw that will kill in the end.
After the third quarter, Hubie Brown said, "After the way Drew dominated the first half, he didn't get a touch in the third quarter. Why?"
I was wondering that too. I am sure Drew was. And so was Denver, much to their relief and hopeful chances of winning.
One could say Kobe did give Drew some good feeds in the game. And he did. But that is akin to a group of rich people, plates full of food, in some poor country, surrounded by starving, begging kids. One guy breaks off a tiny little piece of meat and throws it on the ground.
Yes, he gave up a little bit. But really not what he should have. Not what he could have. And so it was with Kobe's "largesse" the other night.
You read many post here complaining about this or that. Wanting action to make us better. There are those who still whine and b*tch about David Stern and the Paul deal. Reading them, you can see they labor under a strange misconception that Stern was the temporary owner of LA, not the Hornets, and his charge must have been to help the Lakers as much as possible, not the Hornets. For some reason they have forgotten that it was the other way around.
You read many posts here talking about trading for Dwight, or this guy, or that guy or some point guard. Forgetting that it makes two teams to make a trade. And if you do make a trade, you have to give up little enough that it doesn't hurt your team more to make a trade than not to make one.
Much complaining about things beyond our control, from the Stern deal to some hypothetical trade now.
But the fact is, sometimes a team can only help itself internally. By making personel moves inside and also by playing smart with the peices you have.
I would say this: for this team to achieve all it can these two things must happen: When Steve Blake returns and gets into playing shape, he should be the starter. But Derek should not be the backup. Goudelock should continue to hold that position simply because he brings more to the game for us than Derek does. For this team to be the best it can, Derek must be phased out. Cruel yes. Realistic too.
And second, Kobe must start to understand that on certain nights, against certain teams, when things are of certain moment, he can't always be the guy taking the most shots. That sometimes it will be best, as it so obviously would have been at Denver, for someone else to take the lead.
But as we all know, that day, that fundamental, easy to gain understanding will never come to him.
And so this team will not ever be what it could be. It will always remain the Kobe showcase, even on nights when it hurts. And because of this, we will win less than we can and like the other night, wins will come harder than they should.
And as for the complaints? Why complain about Stern, why complain about trades that will may not, because of circumstance, never happen?
Why complain about these things we cannot address or remedy? Why complain about these things, when this team can do so much better with the players we have, if only they would play like the should?
My remedy? My perscription for having the best team possible? Start the right players. Bench the right ones, even if they are old warriors like Fish, and lastly, play SMART ball. That means putting egos aside.
Then you will see the best team we can possibly field in 2011-2012.
That is something they, the coach, Kobe and the others have it in their power to change. Unlike other things so often talked about here.
And if they don't, well, now that is something for Lakers fans to complain about.
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When Blake returns, what should LA do, what would you do?
Posted by: SPQR on Saturday, February 04, 2012 - 02:24 PM
A nice win in Denver the other night, though had we played smarter ball it could have been easier. |
But its three in a row now and we have won our last two road games. Everyone knows its the road that determines the better teams. If we can come back from this six game trip with say a 4-2 record, this team will have taken a nice step in the right direction.
And speaking of right directions, what will be the right direction to take when Steve Blake returns?
A few weeks ago, I said on here that when he comes back, Coach Brown had to bit the bullet and make Blake the starter with Derek as the backup. Just a function of Blake playing much better than Fish and needing to make that change.
But now with the emergence of Goudelock, the equation may have changed, no?
So when Blake returns, and has his wind back, is in game shape again, there are three options to take. What do we do?
There are many permutations we can utilize when Blake returns. But the basic structure will boil down to these:
Start Fish and use Blake as the backup. Goudelock will then have to get any scrap minutes he can fit in.
Start Blake and use Fish as the backup. Once again, relegated Goudelock to scrap minutes.
Start Derek and keep using Goudelock as the backup. Sorry Blake, the injury really screwed you up. Enjoy the bench.
Or, start Blake and continue to use Goudelock as the backup. In this paradigm, Fish is the one relegated to fighting for the table scraps.
In my view, the last option is the way I would go. Of the three, based on what I have seen, Fish is the most problematic player, the other two bring more to the table, add more to the meal.
Yes, Fish still has the guts to take the charges. Yes, occasionally he still hits the clutch shot. But this does not obviate his liabilities or attenuate the deficiencies he has. And how often does Derek get a chance to take a charge or hit a clutch shot? Not near enough to offset what Blake and Andrew can do so much better all the time.
Fish will not hit a shot with a defender anywhere close to him with hands in face. He cannot hit a shot while moving, as Goudelock does. He cannot drive and complete a basket if anyone is even near him. On defense, once his metier, he now at this late stage is not even as good as the rookie or Blake.
While Blake is no master, his offense game now is better than Derek's. And the fact that he plays D at least as good as Derek says a lot about how bad Derek has slipped. Blake's offense game and passing I rate a good level above Derek's at this stage.
Goudelock - who is a bit of a rookie artistic savant - in my opinion, actually brings more good things than Derek, even in his first year. He is a nice, YOUNG, defender. He is not afraid to play defense. He can shoot consistantly from anywhere from three points on in, anywhere you want. Unlike Derek, he often pentetrates, also unlike Derek, when he does, he often makes good things happen. Goudelock has that rare facility to put very intense pressure on a defense and that equally arcane ability to put points on the board fast and from various positions on the floor. While not a true point, he does not become immoblized when covered, he moves the ball out pretty damn fast when he has nowhere to go with it.
When watching all three of these players this year, I feel more good things happen either with Blake or Goudelock playing as opposed to Fisher.
So what do we do when Blake returns?
In my view, the choice is clear. You start Blake and continue to bring in
Goudelock for most of the backup minutes when Blake sits.
Sorry Derek. Time and the abilities of Blake and Goudelock would consign you to small minutes and table scraps if I were setting up the meal.
What would you guys do?
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Will Andrew Goudelock be Kobe’s successor?
Posted by: SPQR on Wednesday, February 01, 2012 - 12:16 AM
With the great Kobe Bryant’s career winding down and his expected retirement in two or three or four years, one wonders: Who will step into those very big pair of Nikes and how good will he be?|
Well, the hardest thing in sports is to follow a legend, and whoever follows Kobe will have a legacy that they will never be able to follow. I mean, let’s face it, we could have the number one pick in the draft for five straight years and not get a player who even sniffs Kobe’s talents and accomplishments. And having watched various athletes replace living legends, I honestly pity the man who ends up taking Kobe’s spot.
But as I say, sometimes one wonders, what unfoirtunate kid out there somewhere will have that very heavy task dumped on his shoulders?
Could it be we are already finding out? I have to say the rookie Andrew Goudelock really impresses me. It’s not just one thing, but many. He seems unusually calm and effective for a rookie. And he is showing there is much more to his game than a good shooters eye. The way he moves, the way he penetrates, the scoop shot, the way he passes out very fast when covered. All these things tell me he has put many hours of hard work on top of his obvious physical talents. And that’s what it takes to not only succeed at some level in the NBA, but to thrive.
Yes, I know it is so very early. But when one looks at him, if this kid continues to work on his game, all his game, during the next few Kobe Bryant years, how good can he get when and if it’s time for him to take over that role? Can he be something really nice? A player we learn to enjoy and love?
Right now, by necessity, he is playing the point. But in all probability, his true home will be at shooting guard. And I have to think, this kid, based on what he is showing so early in his career, may be something really good.
I have been wracking my memory to try think of when we last had a true rookie who has shown so much game, so much confidence, so much ability and so much polish of many hours of hard work.
Was it Nick Van Exel? Or Eddie Jones? Kobe himself? The fact that I have to think back that far tells me a lot about what I am seeing in Andrew.
Yes, I wish the kid was couple inches past his listed six foot three. But there have been many players, some of them great, who overcame a height deficit by sheer talent and willingness to bring out every inch of that talent with hard work and effort. And I have a funny feeling Andrew may prove to be one of them.
When Kobe leaves on that hard day, we will not replace him. But someone will have to play that position. And it would make that difficult transition much more palatable if we have a true players, a guy who is not just a body, but someone who brings real top skills, true top shelf ability, a Laker who has to be accounted for by the other team each night, who can throw real fear into the opposition.
Is Andrew Goudelock that guy? Well, he has a long road to travel and much will remain to be seen, but I have to say, from what I have seen so far, it is just possible that in a couple years, we won’t have to ask, “Who will replace Kobe when he leaves?” We may already have that answer. And that would be a good thing, for an otherwise very sad day.
What do you guys think of this kid so far? When was the last time you saw a Lakers true rookie show what this kid has? Who was that player? How far back was it? And do you think he may end up the answer to a very hard trivia question for any player to be the answer for: Who replaced Kobe Bryant?
A couple side notes: Congrats on the team for beating down the Bobcats. No, it was not some great win over a tough team. But a blowout over a team they SHOULD blow out. And that’s what made the win nice. They did what they should do. The team looked really sharp and energetic tonight. Nice defense, nice ball movement, nice offense, good rebounding. You can’t pick your opponents, but you can decide how you will play them. With the win we have a little streak going into the hard six game road trip. Hopefully it carries over and we can start to work out the road bug-a-boos we have been suffering so far this year. If we do, then the team as a whole takes a good step up in the right direction. Let’s see what eventuates here on this trip.
Congrats to Drew for a nice performance and his selection as the starter in the all star game. Some will say there is no good competition. But there are good relative candidates he beat out, including Mark Gasol among others. Drew did take it, he earned it, and for him and Lakers fans, that is well and good to see.
And finally, when the game first came on, I had the Bobcats channel going. Before I switched to the Lakers broadcast, I heard one Bobcat announcer say to the other, “Well, it’s too bad Jordan can’t suit up for us tonight.”
As soon as he said that, I thought, If I were his another announcer, I would have shot back, “Or too bad he won’t sell the team to a good owner.”
Now yes, I fully understand had I said that old MJ would have had me fired and dragged away from the microphone in about twenty seconds flat. But boy, it sure would have been taxed every bit of my will power to just bite my tongue and not blurt out that rejoinder that so readily came to mind!
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Kobe Bryant, the Lakers and the Event Horizon.
Posted by: SPQR on Monday, January 23, 2012 - 04:21 PM
In the known universe, one of the most awesome and complex and frightening habitués is the black hole. A massive star that has collapsed on itself, birthing a machine of destruction like no other. So voracious and powerful is its gravity that not even light can escape its lethal clutches, rendering the hole itself black and invisible. They move through the universe devouring anything that crosses their wake.|
When an unfortunate planet, spaceship, star or any other celestial body approaches a black hole, it meets up with the Event Horizon. This is the point of no return that surrounds the hole. Once you cross it, you are doomed. No amount of energy or effort will enable you escape the holes relentless embrace.
One of the problems the black hole presents to scientists is this: since we believe information born into this universe cannot be lost, how can something fall into a black hole and it and its information then become lost without a trace? It is a paradox that has engendered debate among the scientific community for decades.
A physicist named Leonard Susskind finally postulated a solution that currently is accepted by most others in the field. He says that when an object hits the Event Horizon, its image, a hologram of its information, if you will, becomes imprinted on the Event Horizon, therefore, the information is not lost, just the real object that falls into the hole.
Let us say that some on LTB decide to investigate a monster that is a black hole. We take our little LTB spaceship, piloted by Dave and occupied by some of us members who want to see what’s up. And so we park our trusty little craft a safe distance away and take our scientific measurements. But like all good scientists, we want to know more. What happens if you ender the hole? And so some volunteers emerge. Brave, intrepid Lakers fans who have always had the guts and courage to speak their minds here and continue their great tradition by leaving the ship to get a close up look at the hole. Haterade, Gemfow, Brown’s a Clown, Lakerdude and LKnight all step forward to take the plunge. Brave men all.
They don their space suits, shake our hands and say their goodbyes. They leave the ship and slowly drift towards the silent, dark beast that awaits.
Haterade, Gemfow, Clown, Lakerdude and Kight all turn to us as the float away, smiling and waving to let us know they are OK. And as we watch, we feel secure in seeing that they are safe as they approach the Event Horizon.
A funny thing about black holes is that as you approach, their gravity is so strong; it actually slows down the fabric of time that reflects out. And here is where we get deceived about our friends fate. For they continue to approach the Event Horizon apace, but we get a slower, more delayed view of their reality the closer they gets. So finally they hit the Event Horizon and cross over into the rapacious hole. And at that point, Haterade, Clown, Lakerdude and LKnight meet a fate nobody should ever suffer. Literally pulled apart, stretched to pieces on a molecular level, a death one cannot even imagine.
But do we see this, miles away, safely ensconced in our LTB ship? No. Because time has been slowed at Event Horizon, we still see our friends smiling, waving, looking at us, as fine as when they left the ship. But what we see now is simply the holographs of them, information left imprinted on the Event Horizon. Our real friends no longer exist.
And as we sit in our ship, watching our friends’ wave and smile, after a while, we realize something is horribly wrong. They should have met and crossed the Event Horizon by now, should still be floating in space, still showing us they are safe and sound. And eventually we are no longer fooled by their seemingly fine condition. We realize what we see is but an illusion. That something very bad has happened to our brave explorers.
And as it is with information on the Event Horizon, so it is with championship sports teams. As time goes on, the months and years pass, a team inexorably, slowly drifts to its own athletic black hole. And at some point in time, it meets and crosses the Event Horizon. At that point, to us fans safely in our living rooms or in the stands, the team looks ostensibly the same: Kobe still playing hard, Pau still there, Drew, Fisher, Artest all seeming to do their thing. Just like our LTB crew members smiling and waving back at us. But now, just like those crew members, the team is really just a hologram, a hollow reflection of data stuck on the Event Horizon that looks so very real, but is in fact only a sad replica of what once was real.
That the real thing, the flesh and blood essence of that team has died in the black hole.
Look at the Spurs as an example. For years they have been waiting on that one more ring. They have the same core: Parker, Ginobilli, Duncan. They have reworked the team several times. The players all smile and wave back at the fans, looking all the world like the team that used to win titles, but it is no obvious they are not. It has become apparent that they are but an illusion of the past on the NBA Event Horizon. And illusions cannot win championships.
And so it now seems with the Lakers. More and more it looks like that somewhere between that great and gutsy win over Boston in the finals, and our very lackadaisical and disappointing loss to Dallas last year, this team crossed the athletic Event Horizon and became mere images of what once was.
And if this is true, what course should a Lakers fan take? What road should he follow? That is something each must decide on his or her own.
There is an interesting post just put up about how losses are not such a bad thing now. That it may lead the Lakers to make a trade. I understand that philosophy and have no problem with it. But the thing about trades is this: First you need a willing trade partner. And second, you don’t know if a trade made will fix the problems you have. This is not a argument against trades, just a statement of fact about them.
But the idea of wanting your team to lose is not foreign to me. In past years, I have indeed rooted for my favorite teams, the Lakers and football Steelers to do just that. I felt it was in their best interests to lose. Some fans may consider this heresy, disloyal, traitorous even. But that Is but one point of view.
I have never enjoyed knowing my team will just end up fodder for more powerful teams to feat on come playoff time. I take no moral victories in making the playoffs. For me, having a chance to win a championship is really all there is. Yes, I know that it is impossible to be a contender every year. But I also know that it is paramount to strive to get to that point with every breath and move you make. That every increment you make that helps you get better players, even if it is a loss of games, eventually brings a brighter future closer, faster.
There is another avenue available for depleted teams besides trades. That avenue is there for us every single year: the draft. And more you lose, the higher you pick. And the higher you pick the better player you get and the more you can help your team. And the draft comes every year.
For those who find rooting against their own team anathema, I will give the last example of when I did this eight years ago. My Steelers at that time had been one of best teams in football for a decade. The best defense in the NFL, the toughest players, the best running game. Yet for all this, they had no championships to show for it. Because in the playoffs they always lost to a team with a better quarterback. So finally I hit a point where I realized that we needed this very important piece to get over the hump. And so I began to root for my team to lose. And I am sure many Steelers fans would have castigated me for doing so. And eventually, eight years ago, it happened. The ball didn’t bounce our way, injuries struck, things happened and a very good team bottomed out to a 6-10 record. And low and behold, in that draft, six teams passed on a QB that I desperately wanted- Ben Roethesberger. Several teams made a big mistake and let him drop to the Steelers seventh selection. And we took him. And now, eight years later, three super bowl appearances and two championship rings later, I would bet that all the Steelers fans who would have faulted me for rooting against my own team are so very glad we did have that bad year and got that QB. Because if we didn't, we would have won none of those champions a long eight years later.
This kind of fandom is an extreme measure. Not to be entered lightly and is not for all. I liken it to a cancer or heart patient accepting, even welcoming chemo therapy or open heart surgery. It is not something you would ever wish upon yourself if you are healthy, but when the sickness is great, the prospects dire, you gladly do it to ensure a better tomorrow for yourself.
As for this fan, I have been down that road of tough love for my teams before. And as for this fan, I can say, I would have no problem taking it again. But that is just how I am. It is not a remedy for everyone. And I think I have reached a point of evaluation on this team where I may not view losses as a bad thing at all. But perhaps just the opposite. But that is not for everyone.
And as we watch Kobe and Drew and Pau and Fish and Artest, see this team that just won a title and think, “Their they are, they can do it again,” just like San Antonio fans say to themselves every year, the nagging thought of the Event Horizon is in our minds, and in our darkest moments we ask, “Is that really them, or just a mirage, is it all over for keeps?”
And as we watch them, as we think of the fates of Haterade, Gemfow, Lakerdude, LKight and Clown, as we think of the Spurs, we ask ourselves as fans, what is really best for this team? Is it winning, or losing?
PS: apologies to the great LTB members Haterade, Gemfow, Brown’s a Clown, Lakerdude and LKight. I used all of you, and killed you off, lol, only in admiration of your courage and brave, outspoken personalities. You are the types who would take that explorers chance, so I had you do it! All of which LTB would be less if we really did lose you to a black hole!!
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Lakers - Orlando: anatomy of a problem.
Posted by: SPQR on Saturday, January 21, 2012 - 02:45 AM
Well, the much anticipated "battle" between Drew and Howard has come and gone, with Dwight getting much the better of it. And the Magic getting the edge on the Lakers.|
Cause and effect? To a degree, but its not really the story. But the story was plain to see for those who watched. This game was a petrie dish microcosm of what ails us. An anatomy of why we lose against the these good teams.
First off, to the hyped center battle itself. I saw one thread here where the author said Drews first two fouls were not really fouls.
Is that so? I don't know. I did not tape the game nor would I really be interesting in watching those fouls if I had.
I long ago stopped complaining about refs calls in any sport, be it hoops or football. The refs are human beings. They are trying to watch a game played at break neck speed by the fastest athletes in the world. Being human, they will make mistakes. Unless they are robots with 360 vision, there is no way they will get all the calls correct. And its been my experience that calls will eventually even out, if not in a game, in a season, and the best team, the deserving one, will win out at the end.
Drew got those fouls, whether good or bad, and he had to play with them. Thats sports. And as an athlete, you better be prepared for it.
In any kind of defense of Drew, I would simply state that he was not afforded the chance to go at Dwight, like Dwight was given to go at him. The reason, beside the foul trouble is simple: On this team, Kobe gets to go at people. On Orlando, Dwight is the Kobe, he gets to go at people. We will never get a real "showdown" in the truest sense of the word between these two unless Drew is given the touches and chances to go after Dwight on the offensive end that Dwight gets to put on Drew.
That is no excuse. Dwight is clearly the better player right now and he showed it tonight. But it is a fact that nobody can deny. So until that day comes, we kind of get half a Drew-Dwight matchup to evaluate.
But for those who watched the game and divorced themselves from the center game within the bigger one, the reason for the loss was apparent.
This Lakers team, the peripheral, ancillary players just can't hit wide open shots.
There has been much debate here on whether Kobe shoots too much, if the post isn't fed enough. But none of that really matters.
No matter what the Lakers do, if these other players can't hit wide open shots, it is immaterial how we play it on offense.
Lets say Kobe shoots more. The defense will pack on him over time, leaving others open. Lets say we feed the post, same thing. No matter what we do, the defense will try to take it away, whether its Kobe or the post. That of course will leave others wide open, as happened tonight.
Now I don't expect these guys to make twisting, turning shots with three guys on them, like Kobe can do. That's the stuff of greatness and so very few could ever pull off that kind of athletic legerdemain. And certainly nobody on this Lakers team but Kobe can do it.
And I'm not even talking about a shot where the defender is three or four feet away and running at the shooter, making him rush the shot.
I am talking about clear, wide open, take your damn time with your stroke and make it like any top highschool player can do most of the time.
Whether its Kobe shooting big on a night, or Pau or Drew getting fed in the post, the Lakers ancillary players will keep getting these ridiculously easy shots available to them. Night in and night out.
As I watched this motely outside crew clank one wide open brick after another, I thought to myself, "How did these guys make it into the NBA?"
I mean, even the worst permimeter players in the league should be able to make wide open jumpers more often than not. I mean they were all highschool stars. Most were college stars and have been shooting balls since they were most likely six years old.
So how do these guys after all those years, with all that athletic ability and coordination that got them into pro ball, continually miss wide open gimme shots?
I don't understand it. But I do understand that if this is what they can do as a whole, given the open looks Kobe and Drew and Pau get them, if this is the best they have to offer given these scoring opportunities, this team is dead as any kind of playoff threat or championship contender.
Argue if you will about whether you want Drew or Howard, or whether Kobe should shoot more or less, but either way, our winning or losing ways will be decided by these open shots the others have to make.
Think about the very game tonight. Think about Dwight outplaying Drew. Then think about this: had the Lakers tertiary players hit most of those wide open shots, like Orlando's players did in the second half, how close would that game have been? We even could have won. Even with Dwights domination of Drew.
And that tells you the real story of what ails this team. We may get a point guard, we may not. Kobe may shoot more or he may shoot less. Drew and Pau may get chances, or maybe not.
But none of that is gonna matter one bit if the guys who are open, who will continue to be open because of Drew, Pau and Kobe, keep shooting like fifth graders who aren't even strong enough to get the ball up on the rim.
And in the end, it won't matter if Kobe shoots 40 times a game or gets the ball to Drew and Pau 40 times a game. Because teams will adjust and defend those guys. It won't make us a champion. The only way we will be able to compete with the cream of the crop is if we take advantage of the opportunities our best players afford the others.
So while the sexy, glittery, facile discussion of tonights game among many fans and media will be about the Drew-Howard "matchup" the other, deeper, truer, more prosaic reason for this loss and others will keep haunting the team unless a solution is found. And that solution may be harder to find than any trade between our center and Orlando's.
It is no surprise we win when those shots fall. No surprise we lose when they don't. But it is always surprising when NBA players consistantly miss shots they should make in their sleep. And thats a big problem.
And right now, that looks like it is about as far away and as tiny as the basket must to those who keep failing us night after night, brick after wide open brick.
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Just how devastating was the Lamar give away? Incalculable.
Posted by: SPQR on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 03:05 AM
You know, over the years, watching Mitch, I have graded him out as a "C" GM. I won't go into detail as to why, but he has some chits on both sides of the ledger.|
I always thought his worst move, at the time he made it was the Walton super contract. When I heard the news on ESPN, I thought, "What the hell is he doing giving this very average player that kind of money for that many years!!???"
We are still paying a price for that bit of business in more ways than one.
That was Mitch's worst, until now. Not even close anymore.
When we shipped Lamar for nothing to Dallas, I was stunned. As were many here. Mitch's excuse was, "Well, he demanded a trade."
My response: So damn what? Many players demand a trade. Few get them in two days. Smart GM's wait on that. Explore all options. See whats out there, what their team needs. They wait weeks, months, sometime years before they pull a deal with an unhappy player. Dwight Howard wanted traded a few weeks ago. He's still playing with Orlando. Thats because their GM isn't dumb. Hes playing the waiting game.
Hes playing it because he has the power. Like all GM's. Dwight has to stay put and play..or not get paid. Same with Lamar and every other player under contract. All players who demand a trade cool off. All players who demand a trade will play their contract out if they have too, because they want paid.
All Mitch had to do was wait. Let Lamar cool his heels for a few days, even a few weeks, and he would have played here. And all the while, he could have evaluated the team and its needs, explored trade possibilities with countless teams in the league.
But no, he like a scared rabbit, like Lamar had the power, which he most certainly did not.
So now look at us. We actually have a pretty nice squad. Kobe looks almost 28 again. Drew and Pau are playing great guns. So is Barnes. McBob is a new, bigger, more athletic Rambis. We have one of the best records in the league and just beat Dallas which was very nice considering last years playoffs and Mark Cuban sticking his nose in our business with the Paul deal...for his own purposes.
After the game tonight, Reggie Miller said the only thing the Lakers lack to compete for a championship is a good point guard. Of course we all know that. We really are just that close. Just one good point guard away.
The question is, who and what can we deal to get one? Well, that answer is obvious. The one top flight chit we can afford to lose for a point and will not really hurt us, will actually make us better. The one good chit we can afford to lose but that other teams with certain needs would take for a good point: Lamar Odom.
Ohhh, but thats right. We already gave him away for nothing. So now who are we gonna trade for a good point? Drew? Pau? Half the team? Either way, if we do it, its gonna hurt. Not like if we had Lamar.
So you see, having a GM who can't think, who cracks under pressure, who isn't staid and cool and intellectual and calm, right when you need it most can really bit you in the *ss.
And this time, Mitch's mistake may well cost us and Kobe a chance for a ring. And that is one real big shame. I mean it goes in the capital letters SUCKS classification. As in, Mitch SUCKS. His thinking SUCKS. His deal SUCKS. Because he has now earned that appelation in spades with that hasty, dumb, precipitous Lamar move.
That move may not only keep us from winning a title, it most likely will hurt this team for years. Its the kind of move that can break a team, change its very destiny and future. Our future. Kobe's future. The NBA's future. That's what can happen when you so much depends on you, your ability to think and react correctly, when so much rides on your decision making prowess, and you flat out drop the ball and fail miserably.
So Mitch was a C with me. Now he is a D. And if we lose in the playoffs, lose that precious chance to win it all again, because our point situation is so bad, well, its just a fat F.
And the worst part of all? Mitch knows we need a point. He knew it back then. But instead of holding Lamar like that ace card to draw a royal straight flush, he threw it away for two of a kind. And man, thats bad poker in anyones book.
I have to assume Jim Buss was on board with the Lamar giveaway. I can't imagine Mitch has the ability to make that kind of move without the OK from above.
And I will say this with all seriousness, with what was at stake, with what Mitch and Buss knew about the needs of this team even back then, both those guys deserve to fired for throwing away what could have been our last, best chance to return to the top of the heap.
The more I watch this team, how close we are, the more I think about what Mitch and Buss did, for no good reason at all, the sicker I feel.
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Kobe springs for 48 and on Mt. Olympus the old gods smiled.
Posted by: SPQR on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 01:33 AM
Back in the day, long long ago, there was different type of entity that walked the planet with us mere mortals. They were the product of active, salacious, interfering gods. When those gods grew bored, when they wanted to meddle and intercede for fun, pleasure or malign purpose, they would descend from Mt. Olympus impregnate human females and sit back and watch the results.|
The product of these unions was special. Their names are legend, even today, thousands of years later: Heracles, Achilles, Theseus, Hanuman, Garuda and others whose superhuman nature and feats of glory live on through the generations.
As the centuries passed, the old gods were forgotten, wars and tribulations faded and civilization took hold and the need for demigods, even the belief in them disappeared.
In all areas but one: the sporting arena. It is here that the old gods, sleepy and weakened by a lack of faith and belief still stir to meddle in human affairs, sending us their offspring to perform godlike deeds that like their forbearers will become legends told and retold for posterity.
How else to explain the superhuman, demigod like abilities of a George Mikan, a Wilt Chamberlain, a Bill Russell, a Larry Bird, a Oscar Robertson, a Magic Johnson, a Michael Jordan, a Kobe Bryant.
Is not the touch of divine, the seed of a gods conception the only explanation for what these more than mere mortals show us over their bright, comet like existence? Because what pure human of terrestrial birth can perform such deeds, achieve such god light heights and flights of greatness?
And tonight, watching Kobe Bryant unveil the whole divine package, the jukes and footwork nobody should be able to practice, let alone perfect, the fakes that leave mortals gasping for air and defending the same, the turn around three point jumpers off the wrong shoulder, the drives to the hoop with winged feet, the unlimited stamina that no mortal man possesses, you know you have seen something rare, a sprite, a spirit, something more than flesh and blood, something that only the gods could grant.
I remember the rumors when Kobe came to the Lakers. A player who may indeed have that spark only the gods grant with such jealous paucity. And though young and inexperienced, unformed and inchoate, he showed flashes of rare touch of the immortals. Yes, he had much to learn, much time to go to harness his prodigious talent, but the flashes made you wonder: Is this a mortal player, another very good, very athletic mortal like Eddie Jones, or did a long forgotten deity make the long trip to earth and infuse the womb with the seed of legend?
It happened in Miami, so long ago. Bryant broke through, showing that package and ability that only the blessed can obtain. He did it all that night. I know, I watched it. And as I watched it, I knew, I knew this was no man, but that frightening offspring of the ethereal and flesh. And I knew the Lakers were heading for the type of glory only an Achilles, a Heracles could lead a group of men to achieve.
Miami didn’t mean he had harnessed his abilities yet. There were still many games, many weeks and months of work and sweat and blood to sacrifice before the young demigod would perfect his craft and hone his ability to fine warriors edge. But the die was cast, the truth was out and the gods on old Mt. Olympus smiled.
And so it happened, the skills god given and the work ethic, human driven combined to produce the inevitable result. And the glory followed. For him and the team. The championships came for him, the organization and the fans. Because when you are touched by a god, the road to legend will rise and burn bright, as sure as the desert sun.
Perhaps his most miraculous season was one where his team, bereft of talent, with no chance to win a title, was carried, pushed and pulled inexorably towards the playoffs. For those who watched Kobe that year, seemingly scoring 40 points a night seemingly every night, in the teeth of every teams defensive efforts, you knew you were watching a young demigod in full flower, in full attack mode, so confident in his superiority, so confirmed in his invulnerability, so supreme in his command over the mortals who must have seemed like ants scurrying around, smashed and trampled under basketball shoes that never seemed to touch the ground for 82 games. That was the year, the season, when anyone lucky enough to be witness understood what the old Greeks and Indians felt and observed when their own demigods ruled and crushed the monsters and mortals who dared cross their path.
Time always destroys. Entropy tears up what even gods conceive. Even the gods themselves atrophy, weaken, mellow and are forgotten with the passing of the centuries. Those on Olympus are prisoners of this truth. Dissipated and enervated by your lack of belief, our worship of newer gods and technology, they don’t influence events as they did in the times of yore. But even know, in their more attenuated way, once in awhile, a god will make his way to earth, do the deed in secrete, and let a rare offspring roam, not in field of battle, but on the athletic fields of play, our modern substitute to the old games of blood and gore.
And tonight, watching Kobe Bryant play as in his best days, you remember. You remember how rare he is, how great he has been, how totally inhuman his half side is. And you remember to enjoy what he was, what he still is, what he can still do when the blood of his particular god runs wild in his veins.
Back in the day, many gods descended from that lofty perch to do the deed. And it begs the question, who was it that came down 33 years ago to produce this incandescent, ethereal offspring?
For anyone who has watched Kobe, that is an easy question to answer: From his inscrutable, chiseled bony, almost kinglike face, to his lithe, indestructible, lissom body, to his cat quick reflexes, the ferocious, take no prisoners attitude, no quarter asked, none given, the imperviousness to pain and injury; the entire package screams only one thing: WAR!
I didn’t see it happen. Nobody did. But I know, as sure as I live, when a god came down from Olympus, silent as the night, on misty cats feet, to do the deed that produced Kobe Bryant, it could only be but one- Mars, the god of conquest and war. Only one god, the lover of war could have produced this machine of athletic brilliance and destruction. That is plain as any DNA test could be.
And as the last years of Kobe Bryant unfold, as he slowly disappears in the mists of time and legend, as his siblings did through the eons, remember him for tonight, for the future nights like this, and for the all the past nights he showed his true bloodline. Because like the gods themselves, even Kobe will fade into that good night and someday join his predecessors as a legend to be told to half unbelieving but enthralled children listening with wide open eyes and mouths.
Tonight, Kobe Bryant, the demigod showed us his true bloodline. Showed us the best of what he has, the reach he has that mortals cannot hope to grasp.
Tonight Kobe Bryant went for 48. And tonight, up on ancient Mt. Olympus, Zeus, the King of all the old forgotten gods, watching something that begat memories of their halcyon glory days, stirred from his crumbling, dilapidated throne, brushed the dust off his robe and rubbed his long rusted shield and sword into a shine, ordered flagons of strong wine, called his fellow gods to order, patted Mars gently on the shoulder, smiled and said simply, “Well done, so very well done.”
Then they both smiled, toasted and drank deep. And the wine tasted so very good.
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