Two people that I’m seen as a big homer off are Lebron and Kobe. So I’m watching that game Tuesday night – and let me start with Kobe. People see me as a Kobe homer but, because if you really really dig deep with Kobe, he’s the only superstar or NBA player in the last 20 or 30 years – now think about this when I say this. He’s the only superstar player – I’m talking MJ, Durant’s, Lebron’s, the Larry Bird’s and the Magic’s, he’s the only one – is Kobe, whose never had one star teammate who cared as much as he does!
Paul Pierce never has to beg Ray Allen to shoot or plead with KG to play with intensity. Michael Jordan never had to beg Scottie Pippen to bring his “A” game. Larry Bird didn’t have to beg McHale to jump for a loose ball. Magic never had to shake James Worthy “are you ready to play tonight?” But Kobe has to deal with the league’s most apathetic star – Lamar Odom, the league’s most passive star – Pau Gasol, and the league’s most inconsistent star – Andrew Bynum.
He has to beg Gasol to shoot and plead for Odom to be focused and desperately ask Bynum to start well early and get into the game. Other stars have never had to do that. So I will defend Kobe to the end when people say “he takes too many shots” or “he’s taking over the game” its because he HAS TOO!!! Even when he was with Shaq! “What about Shaq Andrew? Your forgetting Shaq” Oh no I’m not! Shaq was a terrible practice player. He never played 82 games!!! He was with LA for 8 seasons and he only got into the 70’s twice! Forget playing 82, he was only playing 60 games a year! Kobe drove to the arena knowing once again, it was all on his shoulders because Shaq – for a quarter of the games, wouldn’t play and he was a terrible practice player.
So that’s why – a couple of nights ago when Kobe called out Gasol, read the quote – you can read between the lines what Kobe is saying “I’m taking the shots and you’re not” that’s what he’s basically saying “ this had nothing to do with me in this game, I shot the ball 30 times – Pau’s, if he’s going to have big offensive games, it’s in these games he’s gotta step up. I’m going to do what I do because I think the 2nd unit in that crew has got to make a conscious effort to get the ball to Pau and then get the ball to Andrew, but this had nothing to do with me.”
People knock Kobe for missing his last 5 playoff buzzer beaters – keep in mind, he’s taking more than twice as many shots in those situations than anybody else in the last 15 years…BECAUSE HE’S HAD TOO!! Because you couldn’t count on Shaq because he couldn’t hit a free throw, you didn’t want the ball in his hands. You can’t count on Gasol or Bynum or Lamar…he has to do it.
The other guy I’ll defend is Lebron James, and for anybody out there who has bounced around the country and who has been in certain situations where you just didn’t feel the company – either respected you or gave you quality to work with, they were more worried about saving money than putting out a good product, Lebron speaks to all of us who have ever felt that.
That after 7 years in Cleveland, Dan Gilbert thought that Mo Williams was an NBA running mate for Lebron, how did that work out once he left? And this argument that Lebron doesn’t want to be the man, he doesn’t want to be THE ONLY man! Just like Kobe demanded he get a star running mate or he would leave the Lakers for Chicago 4 years ago. Just like D-Wade threaten Miami and Riley “I’m not staying here, if we don’t aggressively pursue the best” All Lebron did was what millions of you have done, move to a better law firm or a hospital or a company, to be surrounded by better people. It’s not about not wanting to be the man, it’s about not wanting to be the only man. Lebron after Game 2, put it perfectly and humbly – although you know with Lebron, he’ll get ripped for it.
Lebron said “Just having options out on the court you know, just takes a lot off myself, where in the past I knew that if I didn’t bring my A+ game, then there’s a good chance we probably wouldn’t win the game, you know in the past – that’s not taking away anything from my previous teammates, we worked hard every day to try to be really good. But just having guys out on the court that can take over the game, when you’re not having a so great game, like in Game 1, I didn’t shot the ball well from the particular field, but I just tried to do other things well because I knew that D-wade had it going, and that definitely takes a load off you and it’s the vision that I had during the free agency period when I decided to come here and now it’s all coming together at the right time”
That’s why I back Lebron, that’s why I back Kobe! And the Kobe haters “Yeah but Shaq, Shaq was a much better player” Ask yourself this: Why did the Lakers, when given a choice, choose Kobe over Shaq? Why did the team choose Kobe over Shaq? The team that saw practice every day, the team that saw road trips every day? If Kobe was such a bad guy, why did Jerry Buss and Phil Jackson decide to keep Kobe and let Shaq go? Because they knew the true! That Kobe brought it every game, 15 years into the league, do you know how many games Kobe played this year? More than Shaq ever did in any year, 82!! 15 years, 3 knee surgeries, 4 broken fingers, a lousy back, Kobe played every stinking game this year!!!