Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Don't Forget About Kobe

This year, for the first time since he entered the league, LeBron James has seemingly swayed the masses that he is, in fact, the best basketball player in the world. Over the past few seasons, the argument went like this: Yeah, LeBron is sick, but Kobe plays defense too. Then, all the sudden, LeBron upped his intensity on the defensive end, propelled the Cavaliers to an elite team and is destined for his first MVP. The list no longer goes Kobe, LeBron. As of 2008-09, it goes LeBron, Kobe.

He's stronger than most centers, faster than most guards and unquestionably the most frightening athlete in the league. He's been officially anointed the king.

And then, something like last night happens. Hours after the Lakers found out Andrew Bynum would be lost 8-12 weeks with a torn MCL, Kobe reminds everyone that it was he who won the MVP last year, he who has three championship rings, he who, when on his game, is the most efficient big-time scorer in the NBA. And yeah, he plays defense too.

Last night, Kobe scored more points in Madison Square Garden than anyone ever. More than Wilt. More than Bird. More than Jordan. More than anyone. 61 points. 19 of 31 from the field. 3 of 6 from three. A perfect 20 for 20 from the line. 20 for 20. Wow.

It was ridiculous. Kobe was hitting shots very few players in the league can even get off, let alone make, LeBron included. And that's the difference between Kobe and LeBron. Don't get me wrong, LeBron James is this year's MVP, a true freak. He can run, he can jump, he's a beast, he's now d-ing it up and he clearly makes his teammates better. Physically, there's never been a player like him. When it comes to getting to the rim, going through a defense or using his body, LeBron has no peer.

But if you truly needed one player to go and get you 40, 50, 60 points, would you honestly take LeBron over Kobe, even right now? I wouldn't. Here's why: For all the great things LeBron can do, he is nowhere close to Bryant as a shooter. Can't touch him. Kobe has every shot in the book. He's as lethal from three as he is throwing down an alley-oop. His mid-range game is insane, and the scary part about it is it doesn't seem to matter if someone is guarding him or not. No one makes more highly contested, perfectly defended shots than Kobe Bryant. No one.

In case we forgot, he gave us all a reminder last night, dislocated finger and all.

Love him or hate him—and I know Philadelphia loves to hate him—the Lower Merion grad is must-see TV every time he laces them up because you never know when he'll drop 61 or 81 or some other ungodly number.

Now watch all 61:

BallHype: hype it up!


  1. Remember that time the all-star game was in Philly and Kobe got booed every time he touched the ball. And then he won the MVP because he shot every time and he got booed again and then he started crying and acting like he didn't know why Philadelphians hate him? That was awesome.

  2. Most hotel employees still think Kobe is more frightening.
    /rape joke

  3. Yeah, I guess Kobe is pretty frightening … except when he's crying.

  4. Man I hate Kobe but he has that ability to KILL at any time. But, shouldn't the handicap be like 48 points or something? He did do it against the Knicks of all teams, with the 7 Secs or Less offense. He's destined to get 50 at least against them.


  5. True, but you see some of those shots Ed? I hate Kobe but love watching him play. He's nasty.