How the Shrewdness of Kobe Bryant Paid Off

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that the Lakers are about to play the Celtics for the rights to the Larry O’Brien trophy in a few days (which feels more like a few weeks). The hype machine surrounding this situation is going to be uncontrollable, so as T.O. might say “get ya popcorn ready”!

It sucks that there are like75 days between the Conference Finals and the Finals. I don’t understand the long delays considering the 2-3-2 format (which I totally disagree with). The fact that it takes the NBA playoffs 2 months to conclude re-amazes me every year.

Don’t get me wrong I love the game just as much as the next person, but damn they know how to kill momentum drag this thing out.

Either way, it’s about to jump off big time and in about 2 weeks Kobe Bryant will have his 4th championship ring and 1st Finals MVP trophy.

I know I keep harping on it, but with so many days before the first game, you, I and everyone in between will have plenty of opportunities to convince ourselves that the Celtics have a real shot at winning this thing. Technically they do, but Realistically they don’t. It just ain’t happenin’ folks.

Kobe has THAT look in his eyes.

He’s not going to let 3 loveable losers stand in his way. Sure KG, Pierce and Ray Ray probably deserve a ring, but Kobe NEEDS one. He already has 3, but for whatever reason people want to treat his past accomplishments with an *. People talk about this kid like he was some 12th man on those Lakers squads. Like the only reason he got a ring is because he was on the roster.

They want you to believe it was all about Shaq, but if you paid attention you know better. As absurd as it seems, Kobe won’t be validated until he wins a ring without the big guy.

He’ll be able to put all that silliness to rest soon enough. It took a few bad years for Kobe to make this all come together, but last summer he did it. Everyone wants you to believe it was Mitch Kupchak’s hijacking Pau Gasol, but trust me Kobe engineered this turnaround long before that.

He got the ball rolling a little over a year ago when he told anyone who would listen (Dan Patrick, Stephen A. Smith, random dudes with a camera phone in the parking lot) that the team wasn’t good enough and he wanted to be traded and so forth and so on. He thought it was a joke that Andrew Bynum was considered untradeable. At the time I agreed with him because hell, he was right.

Shortly after he questioned the organization’s motives and will to win and etc. things started to get better, but none of us (including Kobe) would know it until October.

Players like Andrew Bynum, Sasha Vujacic, and Jordan Farmar stepped up tremendously! Their improvement is a direct result of Kobe’s criticisms.

Think about it, if the best player on the planet who also happens to be your teammate doesn’t think you’re good enough to play with him, you have to prove him wrong! I mean, you already had a feeling that he was suspicious of you, but then he took it to the next level and told the whole world how much he thinks you suck! You gotta step up! If that means staying in the gym an extra hour or taking a few hundred extra jump shots/sky hooks then so be it! You’ve got to show him that if he gives you the opportunity this time you’ll come through. You’ve got to try to make him look like a damn fool for saying the team couldn’t win with you.

They (Bynum before he got hurt, Vujacic, Farmar) got better, but not without a little added motivation from one Mr. Bryant. They probably won’t admit it, but I’d bet anything they had Kobe on their minds when they were working out. They probably saw his face with every damn repetition in the weight room. If they didn’t take what he said to heart then they wouldn’t be real competitors.

Most of us love to prove doubters wrong. It’s just human nature. But, if you’ve never been in the position to want to say nanny nanny boo boo to someone then I envy you because you’re obviously a tremendous person who has never fallen short of someone’s expectations and have never had any doubters.

You are the bomb, and quite possibly the only one of your kind.

Either way, everyone was waiting on Kobe to finally make his teammates better and he did it with a few interviews and an impromptu parking lot tirade.

On the surface it kinda looks like he was being a prick, but I understand why he did it. He didn’t want to waste his prime years in a no win situation like (cough) KG. Obviously those closed door heart to hearts he was having with the organization were getting him nowhere so he had to go public. He had to put some pressure on the team as a whole from top to bottom and it worked out for him. They knew they had to make moves to keep him happy, especially after Bynum got hurt.

Had Kobe not made it known that he wanted to win now we’d still be waiting on those young guys to mature as players. Like the shrewd businessman he is, Kobe hurried their development and now all is well.

It certainly didn’t hurt that Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol basically fell into their laps, but that’s neither here nor there.

In a couple of weeks Kobe will be rewarded and his teammates will be vindicated. Everyone’s a winner!

Well, everyone except Boston.

Lakers in 5.

20 Responses to “How the Shrewdness of Kobe Bryant Paid Off”

  1. kos says:

    Can’t agree with you about Kobe being shrewd. I’m a Lakers fan, and I can’t give him that much credit. If you watched Bynum at the beginning of last season, you’d have seen some flashes of him being a good player. One thing I got from reading the Sports Illustrated article about Kobe in this week’s edition, is that Kobe really has no tact. Whereas a lot of people would have made sure that if they were going to bad mouth a teammate, they’d have done it in private, Kobe just took the call in front of a bunch of kids with cell phone cameras.

    Now Kobe did precipitate the Lakers getting better by complaining. That got management to start looking at the make up of the team. Fisher had always been someone Kobe respected, so they brought him back. Gasol, was necessitated by the injury to Bynum. Memphis wanted some cap room, and the Lakers had Kwame Brown who has a contract that’s expiring soon, plus Crittendon, who is young talent. And I agree, the rest of the team probably went to workout every day with the intention of proving Kobe wrong.

  2. michelle says:

    CoCo,

    Nice work! I think Kobe is awesome. He deserves equal credit for the rings he currently has. Without him that Lakers team wouldn’t have any. The west was really stacked at the top at that time.

  3. TheLastPoet says:

    It’s still unclear to me why folks – kos included, but it’s certainly not limited to you, holmes – wouldn’t give Mr Bryant credit for lighting a fire under the asses of his teammates. After all, many of us can recall other highly revered superstar players from days gone by who did the exact same thing in the exact same way, i.e., they went public with grievances about the state of their teams, their teammates, and their coaches (the latter of which Mr Bryant has actually never done).

    Magic did it. Jordan did. Bird did it. Shid, Gary Payton, Shaq O’Neal, Jason Kidd and Penny Hardaway have done it, too, as well as many other lesser players past and present.

    But for some unknown reason when these other players do it, all is forgiven. They were tired of losing, they were motivating their mates, or wanted to do things their way, etc. When Mr Bryant does it, however, he is selfish, anti-social, a loser, a spoiled brat, a whiny-butt, a crybaby, a primadonna, a megalomaniac, and on and on…

    Why just the other day the Up South Boston redneck-LA transplant Bill Simmons excused his boyhood hero Larry Bird for telling reporters that his teammates (the legendary McHale, Parish, DJ, Ainge, and all the rest) were “playing like girls” during an 80s ECF versus Detroit; meanwhile Simmons criticizes Mr Bryant for doing something very nearly identical with his own teammates.

    I can’t follow the reasoning, can somebody help me understand, please?

  4. thebrotherreport says:

    I remember reading the Jordan Rules and I was shocked when I read how MJ used to verbally and mentally torture Scottie Pippen. One quote I remember in particular was where MJ asked Scottie if he was going to “have a migrane tonight.” Referring to Pippen’s migrane against the Pistons in the Playoffs the previous season.

    I can see Magic doing it to The Captain to a very limited extent, I’m pretty sure Magic watched the Game of Death, LOL!

  5. Co Co says:

    I don’t understand that either Last Poet. Kobe doesn’t get cut near as much slack as those who are beloved by all.

  6. Okori says:

    Co Co much respect. But really… the reason why some people might have treated Kobe’s first 3 championships differently is because they weren’t all Kobe’s. They were Shaq’s too. So it’s one of those things where Kobe was the second guy on the team in a lot of people’s minds, and this is the first team where he’s the unquestioned best player and Gasol is HIS sidekick.

    I don’t care about the public criticism. But the championships thing was pretty simple. it’s the same reason why Pippen is looked upon as the ultimate right-hand man. Because when he was without MJ he either got screwed out of a shot at a title or his team choked h

  7. Co Co says:

    But come on Okori Kobe was just as important to those championship teams as Shaq. Kobe was more than a right hand man.

  8. Okori says:

    at the very least they were equals. so it is not an uncommon thing to ask: Can Kobe do this on his own, or is he another Pippen? This year is proving he might not be.

  9. thebrotherreport says:

    I believe what he accomplished this year alone separates him from Pippen completely if there was ever a conversation implying that.

  10. kos says:

    TheLastPoet >

    I did give Kobe credit for lighting a fire under his teammates in the last sentence. However, even being a Laker fan, I don’t give the players passes when I don’t think they aren’t deserved. MJ is the only one I’ve heard that was even comparable to Kobe in the way he treated his teammates in practice. I always thought it was wrong for the press to give him a pass b/c he was their annointed greatest ever. We’ve all heard how MJ punched Paxson in practice, and he came back at him. We’ve heard how he essentially took away any confidence that Kwame Brown might have had in him.

    When, he called out Shaq for not working out, I agreed. I was happy when Kobe called out the organization. I wasn’t so much that he was trying to get Bynum traded, which if he’d have had his wish, they’d be fishing with the Mavs right now. Kobe’s a great talent, that wants everyone to be as dedicated as he is. And let’s be honest, he’s never going to get that.

    My whole point before was, I don’t think that Kobe said those things to light a fire under his teammates (even if it did). I think he was rightfully frustrated. I also believe Kobe didn’t think before he spoke coming into this year sometimes. Hence, you get the comments about Bynum in front of some kids.

  11. Co Co says:

    I think he seperated himself from Pippen long before this season, but that’s just me :)

  12. thebrotherreport says:

    Here’s a thought; Is this Phil Jax’s best coaching job if they win it all? And does the stigma of him not building a team of his own go away?

  13. Co Co says:

    I don’t think Kobe made those comments knowing they would inspire his teammates however I think that was the end result.

  14. Temple3 says:

    Ditto what that LastPoet feller had to say.

    As for that question about Simmons – well, the answer is as easy as pie. Let me quote our esteemed former POTUS, Bill Clinton, “He’s a scumbag.”

    ROTFLMBAO!!!

    P.S. – Hakeem did it. Ewing didn’t do it. Dominique didn’t do it. Isiah did it.

    P.P.S. – Finally – in defense of the big fella, he was instrumental (even in a significantly diminished capacity) in Miami’s rise to the top not so long ago. This will be the FIRST* season since the Second Three-Peat of the Chicago Bulls that neither O’Neal nor Duncan win hoist the ring (save for that anomalous 2004 season when the Pistons broke through).

    Kobe deserves all the credit in the world for breaking through — assuming that they win, of course.

  15. Temple3 says:

    TBR:

    The criticism of Phil Jackson not building a team of his own is valid with respect to Red Auerbach and always will be. Franchises today are generally built by the general managers and the Lakers (with or without Jerry West) have always had a strong imprint on personnel outside of the coaches box. Not all coaches pick ever piece of their team – and I don’t think that’s Phil’s thing anyway. He’s not a micro-manager. His legacy will be about creating an opportunity for players of various talents to thrive while thinking and living the game as an organic exercise. Ain’t that the Zen of Hoops??

  16. Co Co says:

    “His legacy will be about creating an opportunity for players of various talents to thrive while thinking and living the game as an organic exercise”

    Too Funny Temple. :)

  17. TADOne says:

    Lakers in 5?

  18. Co Co says:

    Yeah maybe I was a wee bit off about the 5 games Tad. :)

  19. TADOne says:

    You meant Celtics, right?

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