Thursday, January 26, 2006

Kobe Beefs

Slate's Tommy Craggs and's The Sports Guy both take on Kobe's 81-point game on Sunday against the hapless Raptors. (Can we just go ahead and call them the Haptors now? Life's too short to keep on wasting the time.)

Craggs' article is a minute-by-minute recount of the game's video, available from Google here, if you've got a spare $3.95 and a spare 2-1/2 hours. Better to read the article and move on with your life. Highlight:
35:04: Requisite Staples Center celebrity interview: The Lakers play-by-play man asks a miked-up Chris Rock, "Do you think [Kobe is] the best player in the league right now, Chris?" Rock, a Knicks fan, replies: "Is Kobe the best player in the league? Uh, he's pretty good. The best player on a bad team in the league, I'll tell you that. … Of all the players on all the bad teams, he's the best." The two announcers chuckle. It's clear that Rock is not joking. The conversation then turns to what "Katzenberg is doing."
Score: Raptors 40, Lakers 29. Kobe: 14 points.
The Sports Guy reminds us that Kobe could have done this a couple of weeks ago against the Mavs, but chose to sit out the fourth quarter -- but then points out that 81 shouldn't have come as any surprise:
After the 62-point game against Dallas, when I bemoaned Kobe's lost chance to make history, hundreds of Lakers fans disagreed. The common theme of the e-mails: "Dude, are you crazy? He's shooting the ball 40 times a game! There will be plenty of chances for him to go for 80!"
His last paragraph is right on the money when it comes to Kobe's legacy:
Maybe this was Mamba's ultimate destiny: One-man scoring machine, gunner for the ages, the real-life "Teen Wolf." Future generations will remember him for the 81-point game and his awesome 2005-06 scoring binge, not for being the second-best player on three championship teams. Hey, that's what they should remember. After all, plenty of NBA players have three rings. Only two NBA players have ever scored 81 points in a game. One is dead. The other lives on.
And at this rate, as the best of all the players on all the bad teams, getting that fourth ring doesn't seem likely.


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