I’ll say it over and over…I hate the Lakers. It’s a fact. Maybe it has to do with the fact that they are in LA, play in a big market, and have caused terrible memories for me in my basketball fan hood. Maybe I hate them even more now because I feel the King’s talks of moving to Anaheim is partially the Laker’s fault (it’s not I realize, but it is so frustrating thinking of the possibility of the King’s leaving, but another topic for another day). Putting it simply, I hate the Lakers.
With that said, I admire Kobe Bryant. So much in fact that I think it is unfair to say that his is so good because of his talent…it is true, but it definitely is not his best attribute. He is good because of his dedication to his craft which should be inspiring to all. I know this because after watching today’s game, where the Spur’s just had a bad game and the Laker’s shot the lights out, it is just so evident how much he cares about what he does and how hard he continually works at being the best and accomplishing what he wants. His dedication to the game he loves is what I hope to strive in my own goals that I am working towards and one I know I will make reference to many years from now.
With all due respect to his greatness Mr. 23 (mainly because I did not get to see him as consistently in his prime like I am able to see Mr. 24) and all the “prep to pro” stars before and after Kobe, (T-Mac, The whole 2001 draft, and even Mr. Lebron), it is evident how much Kobe’s “caring” about the game is above everyone else’s “caring”. As Mark Jackson said it, “he is in the game even when he is not”. Lebron as much I root for him because of the possibilities* of him being able to stop the Lakers, it is clear that right now, he is miles behind in terms of drive compared to Kobe. The countless hours we hear about Kobe in the gym, the drive and pure fire we see in his eyes on the court, and the fact that he is constantly working/teaching even when he is on the bench (something I saw today). All of these things while they have to do with basketball are things everyone should look at and go “how could I incorporate this in my life?” when trying to accomplish their dreams and goals.
Now let’s be honest, despite all of these things, I would rather hang out with Lebron over Kobe any day of the week. The reason being because with Lebron you know you will have fun, and with my personality and the possibility of hanging with a NBA star for an hour or so to have fun, Lebron seems like he’d be a heck of a time (bottle service at Lavo with Lebron any one?) It’s not saying Lebron is not a great player. I truly think he is a once in a lifetime talent, as much as people love to hate him, the guy is ridiculously good and show’s glimpses of having that drive. I think the reason he is not at Kobe’s level though is also the reason why he is able to be liked and smile (honestly if we compared the amount of smiling the two do, Lebron would win.) But in regards to someone that I would want to sit down with, listen to, and learn from/with…heck even just watch for an hour and observe…Kobe hand’s down.
My friend Hamid once told me that when he started coaching middle school basketball, he realized how much he had to change the attitude of kids because everyone wanted to be like Kobe, taking the three-pointer, ball hogging, etc…He said I have to encourage them to be like Steve Nash…I thought it was a good statement for being able to build a good middle school team. But looking back, the values and hard work associated with Kobe are things I would want to instill in my classroom, on the court, and in my own kids one day. I think what Hamid as trying to get at, was he wanted to take away the idea that a kid on a middle school team could be like Kobe with a snap of his fingers. In reality, the “I want to be like Kobe” sayings should be happening when one is running sprints, rebounding, hustling, etc etc. Being Kobe is more about when you work hard, you get results. When you care enough to do the things you may not want to do, you can accomplish anything. And it is something I know that after working with youth…it’s something we need to preach more to them sometimes.
Anyway…Long Kobe tangent (who would have thought?)
Much respect KB24, despite hating the purple and yellow you wear, I have mad respect for the fact that you are truly a testament to showing me and everyone around me how to accomplish what the things we want.
*possibilities being the key since as of right now Lebron, Wade and Co need to just figure it out. I’m not worried about this, but they just have to figure it out.