Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. King Kobe

    Bryant's big night made possible by ruthless mindset

    Chris Ballard

    Posted: Monday January 23, 2006 4:18PM; Updated: Monday January 23, 2006 9:26PM

    The more Toronto pressured Kobe Bryant, the more comfortable he seemed shooting, evident in his 55 second-half points.

    Let us forget, for a moment, that those were the same Toronto Raptors who lost to a European club team in the preseason. And let us not dwell on the fact that Toronto, for reasons unfathomable, was not immediately doubling a guy who was in the process of jacking up 46 shot attempts. What Kobe Bryant did at Staples Center Sunday night was remarkable -- something only he, among NBA players, could have done.

    He didn't score 81 just because he's the premier scoring talent of the post-Michael generation (even less-celebrated, he's the NBA's best midrange jumpshooter). And he didn't do it because he's on a team that might have a hard time winning in the Pac-10 without him, though that is also the case. What allowed Bryant to score 81 last night is a unique mindset that might best be described as imperial.

    There are three types of players in the NBA. Those who recognize the open pass and make it; those who don't recognize it until it's too late (or at all); and those, like Bryant and Allen Iverson, who recognize it and then weigh the consequences of making such a pass.

    For most players in the third category, there lingers some remnant of the 9-year-old psyche, some urge to please the CYO coach or authority figure who encouraged/demanded that the ball be swung to the "open man" and that players "make the smart pass." And even if the star player can shut out this voice 90 percent of the time, there's going to be that one time out of ten when the Tracy McGradys of the world notice the big lug in the middle who is wide open, hands up, just waiting for the ball, and they can't help but pass it -- the order of the basketball universe demands it.

    Bryant, on the other hand, truly believes that it is better for him to take a fadeaway 24-footer than for Kwame Brown to shoot an open 5-footer. And not just occasionally. Every single time. Setting aside that he might be right, this is still a remarkable mentality.

    In psychology, it is said that we all have an "internal critic," and that it is how we deal with this critic that determines our happiness. One strategy, for example, is that of self-disputation: the idea that you will argue with someone who criticizes you ('What do you mean I'm bad at my job?") but not yourself ("I am a failure and I suck at my job."). Thus, we are encouraged to be as tough on our internal critic as we are on the friend/co-worker/spouse who dares besmirch our cooking/dancing/job performance.

    Needless to say, Bryant does not need to do any self-disputing. In fact, it is possible that Bryant does not even have an internal critic (whom I like to envision as a grizzled Pete Carrill, perched on the shoulder), or that he somehow off-ed the metaphorical fellow somewhere along the way, perhaps while jacking up those airball three-pointers against Utah in 1997, perhaps while waving off Karl Malone at the All-Star Game, or perhaps in sincerely believing that the Lakers would be better without Shaquille O'Neal.

    This is what makes Bryant simultaneously so maddening and so dangerous. After Sunday's game he spoke of pouring it on at the end to "demoralize" his opponents, as if merely winning by 20 and scoring 70 wouldn't do the trick -- it had to be 80. Of course, it wouldn't occur to Bryant that it might have been more demoralizing if Sasha Vujacic had dunked on a Raptor defender, rather than the league's top player scoring repeatedly on Toronto. In a similar vein, sometimes it is when power is withheld that it is truly intimidating, not when it is exercised.

    As impressive as Bryant's performance was last night, I thought what he did against Dallas was more so; to score 62 points in three quarters, then leave the game. Now that is demoralizing. Of course, the game was close last night, so he couldn't do that, giving him the perfect opportunity to test his limits. The end result was surreal, and surely 10 years from now we will all claim we were watching the game on NBA League Pass, but it was not surprising. Surprising would be Bryant turning Kwame Brown into an All-Star. But scoring 81 points? This is what Bryant was born to do. Something tells me he is not surprised at all.
  2. Choad


    Yeah that Kobe...

    Really likes to take it to the HOLE! :p
  3. Say all what will, the fact remains that you still gotta get the ball in the hole...quite a few times to reach 81. Much less 60 whatever.
  4. let's see a cracker or 2 can match it.
  5. Journalism gets worse and worse. He plays on a team that even MJ wouldn't pass the ball. Christ if this was the '86-87 season, would the same article be written for Jordan? God bless Kobe and his 81, its good to see something interesting in the post MJ era.

    I can't believe McGrady is mentioned in that article, that bum doesn't play any D.
  6. Name one championship team where one guy routinely hogs the ball like Kobe. Jordan took a lot of shots, but Pippen got his touches, Rodman didn't want any touches and role players like Kerr did their thing. With Kobe, the other players are reduced to standing around, something that doesn't motivate them to play defense or rebound. The great players make everyone around them better. Kobe seems to drag down those around him.
  7. sps_45



  8. Kobe's Lakers look much like Jordan's Bulls of the 80's. Until Kobe gets better players around him, he should just do what Jordan did in his early years, score anytime he wants. Last time I checked, Kobe has 3 rings while averaging 5-6 assists a game during that stretch.
  9. The good free agents will not want to play with Kobe.

    Look what Kobe has done to Lamar.

    Lamar was having a breakout year in Miami with Wade (a team player) and now he is completely screwed up.

    I am really surprised this is happening under Phil.

    The best line I heard about the Lakers yesterday was from Jim Rome, who said "the Lakers are so bad that Kobe has to score 81 points to beat the lowly Raptors."

    Out here in lalaa land the Kobephytes are gaga of course, which is pathetic, as this team has no chance of winning. They would rather be enamored of Kobe's 81 points than having a good solid team.

  10. By Scoop Jackson
    Page 2

    When did it happen?

    Not the 81 points. Not the 51 he dropped last week in Sacramento. Not the game against Dallas, where he outscored the Mavericks 62-61 through three quarters before not playing in the fourth.

    None of that.

    Kobe fired himself up -- and enough shots -- to rain an amazing 81 on the Raptors.

    It needs to be known when it happened. When did something inside Kobe Bryant snap? When did he get so angry that he decided to take it out on the court? At what point did he reach that point? That point of no return. That Tupac point. He against the world.

    Was it the Mike Miller moment? Is that where we begin this? Is it that game against Memphis, when Miller gave Kobe one shot to the dome that opened up a Manny Pacquiao cut above Kobe's left eye? Is that when Kobe lost it? Because ever since that game, ever since he got suspended for two games by the league for a blow-to-the-throat retaliation, Kobe Bryant has lost his *&%#@ mind.

    Or was it before that? The game before that Dallas game. The game that he said made him sick. The one the Lakers lost. When they scored only 74 points against Houston on Dec. 18. Kobe was scoring 31.3 points per game, trailing Iverson, who was averaging 33.4 at the time, and there was little discussion of a scoring race.

    Maybe that's when that something else entered his body. Taking it over. Linda Blairing it. Making him the simultaneous combination of Jordan, Baylor and King. Making us see things we've never seen before; making us watch Lakers games that last year we'd totally dismiss for "Nip/Tuck" or "Grey's Anatomy."

    Was it after he sprained his wrist in the game against LeBron in the first quarter, then made himself hit the final eight points to win the game? Was it when AI came to town and he knew a casual 40 was not going to be enough? The game when before the tip he said ultra-sarcastically, "Oh, so this is a [scoring] race?"

    Or was it at halftime of this last game? The one when Lamar Odom said, "He was ticked off." Was that when it all came out? Made him straight lose control and empty 81 rounds on a team so bad that former Georgetown coach John Thompson said on his radio show that if Wilt Chamberlain played against that Raptors team he'd have scored 200 points.

    To pinpoint the time is essential to understanding why Kobe Bryant is doing what he is doing. In order to get a grasp, to get some type of comprehension of what is really going on, we need to know when -- when! -- did Kobe get so heated at the world that he decided to take his frustrations out on the game of basketball?

    Because until we get to that point, we may not appreciate exactly what it is he's really doing. Until we discover that day, none of us are going to truly understand what this vengeance of his is all about.

    Eighty-one in the same season that he scored 62 in three quarters -- with two other 50-point games (so far).

    Brotha's mad about something.


    He has become "Must-See-TV." Alone, win or lose, Kobe Bryant has made it essential that we not miss him play a game of basketball this season.

    The Lakers versus the Raptors? Whatever. The Lakers against the Kings? Two years ago, maybe. The Lakers are playing the Mavericks? Cool, homey. I'll catch the highlights on "SportsCenter."

    That was the apathy.

    There were more things important than watching Kobe Bryant chuck up shots while the other nine guys on the floor stood around watching the shot clock.

    Even the great Spike Lee, after a game against the Knicks, said he couldn't watch it anymore. I think his words to me after that game were, "That's not basketball."

    He was right. But there were glimpses of it being something you didn't want to miss.

    Even in the arrogance of a 9-for-33 night in San Antonio on Nov. 29, when Bryant belligerently said his "missed shots provided shot opportunities for his teammates off the offensive boards," you could sense in Bernie Mac-ology that "something different was goings on."

    For better or worse, richer or broke, wins or losses, it made you want to pay attention to what may happen next in the book of Kobe.

    And this is what Jerry Buss

    had in mind when he

    made the decision

    to keep No. 8.

    It wasn't about winning games or

    getting another ring or embarrassing

    Shaq or Phil.

    From a business standpoint, all Buss

    wanted to do was make the Lakers

    relevant, make us want to pay

    attention to everything that happened

    inside the Staples Center, make us

    never want to miss a game.

    81 Ain't Nothing
    Kobe Bryant's 81-point game was the second-highest in NBA history, but as Jeff Merron points out, the NBA isn't the only league. From Bevo Francis' 113 for Rio Grande College to Cheryl Miller's 105 in a high school girls to somebody named John Barber scoring 188 in college game, we have a list of some of the highest-scoring hoopsters in history.

    It was a "watch a car wreck on the 110 or watch a Bentley roll slow down Crenshaw" mentality. Either way, Buss wanted our attention. And he had the guy who was going to grab it.

    He wanted Kobe to deliver that to him last year. Kobe didn't. The shots weren't falling.

    But this year, the Bentley is pushing 120 mph on the Santa Monica Freeway. Kobe's making Buss look like a genius.
    #10     Jan 25, 2006