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What Is My Issue With LeBron? : Respect Kobe

What Is My Issue With LeBron?

This website is devoted to the numerous controversial issues surrounding Kobe Bryant. All other topics that come up in the process — including even the Lakers, as a team — are incidental and beside the point. They are merely a means to the desired end.

That said, I launched this website with a three part series addressing certain aspects of the comparison between Bryant and LeBron James. I then briefly compared Bryant to James in an article reviewing a performance of Bryant’s that was tremendous and extraordinary, yet at the same time commonplace and ordinary.

Next came an article explaining why LeBron James should not be considered for the MVP this year, based on Bryant’s past experience. Then, I explained why Kobe’s achievements in the West (both this year and over the past two years) are worth more than LeBron’s this year, because of the respective strength and weakness of their conferences. Finally, I made the case for Kobe Bryant as MVP, and in so doing revisited why LeBron should not be considered a valid MVP candidate for this season.

Most recently, I wrote an in-depth analysis of how context affects statistics, and how to properly compare two players statistically, given their differing contexts. As examples, I compared James and Bryant… again.

All of this begs the question — and it’s a question some have already asked, and others have even presumed to answer: What is my issue with LeBron James?

To put it simply: Nothing. (Sorry, trick question!) The fact is, I love LeBron James, and I think he is a fantastic player. I have no issues with him. And just to be clear, let me tell you a little about how I feel and think about James — in bullet form, so it’s impossible to miss:

  • He is an incredible, unbelievable player. A freak of nature (in a good way).
  • He blows my mind on a regular basis.
  • He’s the best 23-year-old to play the game. Ever.
  • He is the 2nd best player in the world.
  • He is the only one even remotely close to Kobe.
  • No one else is close to either of them.
  • He has the potential to surpass not only Kobe Bryant, but also Michael Jordan, by the time he’s done.
  • And he probably will. I think it’s likely.

In particular, I want to draw your attention to those last two points. Do those sound like the opinions of a “LeBron hater” to you? I don’t think so.

Let me put this in context for you. Over the past two years, it has been widely suggested that Dwyane Wade is better and greater than Kobe Bryant. Let me tell you this: I scoff at such a notion, and always have. Not only is Dwyane Wade not at Kobe Bryant’s level, but he is not close. He has never been, and he never will be. I say that with absolutely conviction and certainty: Dwyane Wade will never come anywhere near being as good, or as great, as Kobe Bryant.

(NOTE: Now, at least, the truth has become obvious, and painfully so — how could anyone have compared Wade, who has led Heat to an NBA worst 10-44 record in the pathetic East despite the return of four of the five starters from their championship team (until the recent O’Neil trade), to Kobe Bryant, who has consistently led a sub-par team to the playoffs in the much tougher West?)

So you understand, from a Kobe Bryant fan, to even admit that a player could one day — perhaps soon — be on Kobe’s level is the ultimate form of respect. To recognize the possibility that he will one day surpass Kobe, let alone consider it likely, is almost unthinkable. And it’s certainly not the opinion of someone who “has issues” with LeBron.

Hopefully that clears that up. I don’t know what else I could say that would better convey my admiration for James. But there are still unanswered questions. Why do I spend so much time comparing him to Kobe? Why do I devote so much energy to proving that he’s still not better than Bryant?

The answer is two-fold. First, the “Kobe vs. LeBron” debate is one of the hot issues of this season. Remember, the purpose of this website is “to respond to Kobe Bryant’s critics, and to disprove many of the false arguments that have been used against him.” In doing so, it is only natural that the issues that I focus on will be those that are most relevant to the current time. Were this two years ago, with the primary criticism of Bryant being that he’s “selfish” and “doesn’t make his teammates better,” those would be among the issues that I would spend the most time on. They would be recurring topics on this site.

But this is 2008, and while that criticism is still used by the blindest, most ignorant, and most fervent of Bryant’s critics, it is no longer the primary issue in the ongoing Kobe Bryant discussion. LeBron James is. This is partly because James has continued to improve, and continues to close the gap between himself and Kobe. It is also partly because the easiest way for Kobe’s critics to dismiss him is simply to replace him.

Consider, for a moment, what would happen if I went about addressing some of the other criticisms that people have long directed at Bryant. Were I to address the claim that he is a “selfish ballhog,” or refute the claim that he “rode Shaq’s coattails to three championships,” the response would always be the same: “Who cares? LeBron is better, anyways!”

On the other hand, if I take the time to show that LeBron is actually not yet at Kobe’s level, then I will be free to address all other issues, criticisms both past and present, without the potential for “Kobe haters” to simply dismiss the entire discussion by claiming LeBron’s superiority. Thus, it is important to first deal with the most significant current challenge to Kobe’s greatness before moving on to address some of the more consistent criticism he has received over the years.

Think of it this way: I’m actually not the one comparing LeBron James to Kobe Bryant. That is being done all the time. I’m just the one responding to the comparisons, and keeping them in perspective.

My second reason for discussing LeBron at such great length is his fans. And by “his fans,” I mean Cavs fans, LeBron James fans, Kobe “haters,” the sports media, and the NBA itself.

On the part of LeBron’s fans, their enthusiasm is expected and understandable. Aside from their team winning a championship, there is very little that is more exciting than the development of one of their own into the next great player. Nonetheless, one expects that at a certain point a person will listen to reason. LeBron has only been to the Finals once, and he didn’t perform well. Can you imagine Lakers fans calling Kobe “the next Michael Jordan” before he even won his first championship? After he won a couple, it was a valid, if very debatable, position. But before he even won his first? It would have been ludicrous.

(NOTE: I’m sure a few Lakers fans did say such things before Kobe won a championship — I would call them equally unreasonable.)

It’s one thing for the fans to jump the gun in declaring that LeBron James has fully arrived. And clearly, “Kobe haters” will use any excuse they can find to dismiss Bryant’s greatness. But it is in much poorer taste, in my opinion, for the sports media and the NBA itself to join in by prematurely crowning him for things he has not yet achieved.

LeBron James was handed the NBA’s equivalent of the “key to the city” upon arrival. He was called “King James” coming into the NBA, before even playing his first game. Around the same time, Sports Illustrated dubbed him “The Chosen One.” The latter essentially sums up LeBron James’ relationship with the NBA: Hailed as the savior of the league, he was placed on the throne long before he was deserving of it. While any other player would have to actually win a championship to receive half as much recognition, all he had to do was get to the Finals.

Meanwhile, the media seems more than willing to adjust the finish line for James. In the past few days, I’ve read at least five different articles in very prominent publications, all suggesting that the MVP race has become a two-man race between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. While it’s nice to see them finally being forced to recognize Bryant, I am puzzled at how James even enters into this conversation.

Over the past two years, voters have made it abundantly clear that a valid MVP candidate must come from a team with 50+ wins. In a year like this, where the #8 seed in the West is on pace for 50 wins, one would expect that bar to be raised even higher. How is it, then, that the current consensus is that the MVP is a tight race between Bryant and James, when James’ Cavs are on pace for 45 wins in the East? According to their own criteria of the past couple years — criteria they used to deny Kobe the MVP Award — a player from a 45-win team should not even be an MVP candidate.

These are just a few of the ways in which the the fans, sports media, and even the NBA itself are clamoring for any opportunity that can be blown out of proportion to allow them to prematurely crown James “The King,” declare him the best in the NBA, and hand the reigns over to him.

This, then, is the other reason why I write so much about LeBron — because there is so much undeserved hype, spreading like wildfire.

I have no beef with James, no criticism whatsoever — except perhaps that he’s too good, to the point that his fans — even those who should know better — have a tendency to get carried away.

And when it really comes down to it, the simplest answer is that when I write about LeBron James, it isn’t about LeBron James. It’s about Kobe Bryant. LeBron just happens to come up in conversations involving Bryant on a regular basis.

So when you see me write about LeBron James, remember that I’m not the one who started this comparison. And when you see me arguing against him, remember that I hate arguing against him, and wish I didn’t have to. But as long as they are comparing him to Kobe Bryant — let alone claiming he has surpassed Bryant — I will have no choice but to respond in kind, to provide a dose of truth and a return to reality.

Filed Under Kobe Bryant, LeBron James | 167 Comments

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167 Comments so far
  1. Hardwood Paroxysm says...February 28, 2008 6:41 pm

    so, and I’m just throwing this out there, silly as it is, because like you said, it’s just plain silly to compare the two…

    it’s nuts to compare the two, even though the primary thing Bryant is credited with, you know, scoring lots and lots and lots of points, well, LeBron has done more of, by a year , than Bryant?

    or that without one of the most dominant players of all time (that would be one. S. O’Neal), LeBron has led his team to the Finals, while Kobe has… um… yeah. About that. Well, he looked good falling to the ground after Raja clotheslined him.  That was nice.

    Look, I’m a Kobe hater. I can admit that.

    But just as I don’t think it’s ridiculous to argue that Kobe Bryant is the greatest player of all time (though he’s not),or that he’s the best player currently in the NBA (though he’s not), or that he’s definitively superior to all forms of life on planet Earth (we actually agree with this one. No one is superior at being selfish, self-absorbed, and completely impossible of any leadership than Mr. Bryant. He’s clearly an advanced life form.), you shouldn’t dismiss the argument. There are quantifiable flaws in the arguments you’ve presented.  They’re tremendously well-designed arguments. But, like most arguments, they have their weaknesses. And so the argument is not ridiculous.

    I don’t even like LeBron that much, but I am amused at this, which will be tremendously interesting in four years when LeBron is regarded as clearly the third best player in NBA history behing MJ and Wilt, and Kobe is labeled as what he should be.

    The greatest scorer of all time, who had a talent for one-on-one defense.

  2. lalball81 says...February 28, 2008 7:13 pm

    To Hardwood Paroxysm:

    Have you watched Kobe play this season?  Do you follow the NBA at all?

    After reading your post, I’m not convinced you know much about basketball, other than the LeBron highlights that the media feeds you.

    Impossible of leadership?  Why don’t you try watching or following the Lakers (or NBA for that matter) before you make false, ignorant statements such as the one you mentioned.  I know, it’ll be hard as you’re a self proclaimed hater, but for God’s sake just try.

    Kobe has been a MODEL teammate this year, a primary reason many consider him to be a TOP MVP candidate on the season.  He’s constantly sharing the ball, backing up teammates (check Kwame Brown), and supporting his squad.  If that’s not leadership, please give an example of what you’re referring to. 

    I don’t know what Kobe Bryant you’re watching.  It’s sure as hell not the MVP candidate that the rest of the league has seen this year.

    Note that by "this year" I mean this NBA season.  His off-season comments are not part of my point, because I’m talking basketball.  By the way, The Apologist wrote a great article about Kobe’s comments if you haven’t checked it out.  It’s not hard.  Scroll down a little bit to "Kobe: Better teammate then MJ?"  And you’ll see it.  I suggest you read it to get some facts straight.

    Furthermore, I suggest you watch some Lakers tape.  Anywhere after Kobe’s first couple of years would be great.  If you take off your hater glasses for just a second ( I know, you can’t stand not wearing them), you’ll realize that Kobe’s game has always been multi faceted.  In other words, he’s been able to excel in many things, but like you said defense and scoring are two more of his strong points.

    I can’t see into the future, but I’m guessing there’s no way Kobe is seen as a one-dimensional player when his career is reflected upon. 

    Feel free to revise your comment now.

  3. Hardwood Paroxysm says...February 28, 2008 9:19 pm

    Oh, wow. Now I see it. You’re right! When he blows right by open teammates and forces up a contested shot, he IS making his teammates better! Wow!

    You are so right. My apologies.

    You know, if we could just clone Kobe Bryant and have all NBA teams be entirely comprised of them, that would be perfection. All other players don’t even belong on the court. And just think of how much he could score then!

  4. Misareaux says...February 28, 2008 10:50 pm

    It’s simple really. Kobe isn’t bigger than the Lakers. Even without him, as a franchise, the Lakers will always be giants in NBA lore. MJ and Lebron, they came to places that, comparatively, had no history. It’s easy to elevate people in places where by virtue of who they are, are already the most important person. Kobe had to give his time, pay his dues, and now when he has been dominating, its hard to acknowledgebecause he never had the chance to be the man from day one, unlike Lebron or MJ (who was also the face of the Bulls from day one in the 80′s)

  5. lalball81 says...February 28, 2008 10:59 pm

    Hardwood Paroxysm:

    Did you watch the Heat / Lakers game?  I’m assuming you wouldn’t miss a chance to dissect Kobe’s game, picking out things to hate on.

    Anyway, Kobe had 8 assists tonight.  Also had 21 points, 4 steals and 2 blocks.  He was guarding Wade, who had a miserable game.  Oh, in case you like to nit-pick (judging by your posts, you do), he shot 50% from the field. 

    So yes, you’re right.  100% correct.  Good call! 

    Kobe was obviously blowing by open teammates, hogging the ball, shooting contested forced shots, turning the ball over, making bad decisions, and playing lousy defense.

    Oh wait, that was Dwyane Wade.

  6. Misareaux says...February 28, 2008 11:55 pm

    It’s not really Dwayne Wade’s fault. It’s clear the man is playing with injuries that seriously limit his game. He doesn’t have a reliable jumper and its not like he can play through the knee and shoulder injuries that limit his explosiveness to and around the hoop.

  7. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 12:48 am

    @Hardwood Paroxysm,

    so, and I’m just throwing this out there, silly as it is, because like you said, it’s just plain silly to compare the two…

    When did I say it’s nuts to compare the two? Actually, I think I’ve made it pretty clear that LeBron is the only one who can be compared to Kobe. Granted, he doesn’t quite measure up, but it’s light years closer than anyone else. He’s not better, but he’s comparable. I don’t think I’ve ever said he’s not. If I did, I misspoke, and I’ll gladly correct my mistake if you’ll point it out.

    even though the primary thing Bryant is credited with, you know, scoring lots and lots and lots of points

    The key words there are “credited with” — and the key point, is by whom. By you? Fair enough. But I find the following interesting:

    • Not counting the first two years, when he didn’t start and played low minutes, Kobe has a career average of 6.4 rebounds per game. As I’ve already shown, those are top numbers for a shooting guard, which shows that he is an exceptional rebounder. Furthermore, LeBron averages 6.9 rebounds a game as a starter. And even in this, his best year, he is averaging 8.2 rebounds — which, again, I have shown is comparable to Kobe’s 6+ in the shooting guard position.
    • Kobe is a fantastic passer. Again, factoring out his first two, non-starting years, he averages 5.2 assists per game. I have already discussed at length how playing in the triangle offense, he naturally gets less assists than LeBron does, since LeBron plays in the everything-goes-through-LeBron offense. Furthermore, Kobe has led the Lakers in assists all by 2 of his 11 years in the NBA, if I remember right (too late to look it up). Funny how everyone refers to Shaq as an excellent passer, yet he has never come ever close to averaging what Kobe does in assists. During the three-peat years, Kobe was the primary facilitator. He has shot more over the past couple of years, but that’s because he had to carry the team — he still maintained a high assist average. So while you see him as only a scorer, he is actually a fantastic passer. It just so happen that this year he has better teammates to pass it to.
    • As I have already discussed, the true measure of offensive efficiency is not FG%, but TS% — and this year, for example, Kobe is shooting a higher TS% than LeBron. So since LeBron is so highly praised for his efficiency, the whole “Kobe’s a ball hog who forces low percentage shots and hurts his team looking for his own stats” argument clearly doesn’t hold water.
    • He is not only a superb one-on-one defender, he is also an excellent team defender. However, while it is easy for people to say that he hasn’t played defense over the past few years like he used to, and like he is again this year, they are forgetting two things: first, defense requires a lot of energy, and it’s harder to play that kind of defense when you’re exerting all your energy on offense; and second, team defense is only as good as its parts. Kobe is a fantastic team defender, but his Lakers have been terrible defenders the past couple years. So it was easy for Kobe to look like less of a defender, when in reality it was the result of poor team defense, because the switches weren’t happening, the help wasn’t coming, etc.
    • So, like I said… scoring is the only thing you have credited him with. It is FAR from the only thing he has done.

      well, LeBron has done more of, by a year , than Bryant?

      Context, context, context, HP. You should know better than that — especially after I just finished writing that all statistics must be discussed with regards to their context. As lalball81 pointed out above, LeBron has been the #1 go to guy in Cleveland since Day 1. In his first two years, he started only 2 games, and averaged only 21 minutes per game. Why? Because he didn’t come to the worst team in the league. He came to a good team. In addition to that, his third year was shortened by the strike.

      So, in his first 3 years, Kobe played a total of 5,055 minutes. LeBron, on the other hand, played 9,871 minutes in his first three years. So, let’s adjust for context. Kobe scored at an average rate of 0.545 points per minute in his first three years. Had he played as much in his first three years as LeBron did in his first three, he would have scored an extra 2,625 points in those first three years. Since Kobe was averaging around 2,000 points per year around the time he hit the 10,000 point mark, I think it’s safe to say that the year difference is easily covered.

      That’s what context will do for you. The difference is not a result of either of their abilities, or lack thereof. It’s a result of the teams they play for, and the playing time that resulted from that.

      Oh, and one more thing: Had Kobe come in as a starter, he would have reached 10,000 points at roughly the same rate that LeBron has — but that’s while playing with Shaq, and having to share shots with him! It wasn’t until his 5th year that Kobe began taking as many shots as Shaq, or more. LeBron, on the other hand, has taken the most shots on his team every single year — and it’s not even close. In fact, in only his third year, he took 1,000 more shots than the next closest teammate!

      I think it’s safe to say that if Kobe had played in a situation like LeBron’s starting out, where he was the go-to guy, a starter from the beginning, and the primary shot taker from Day 1, he would have reached 10,000 points much quicker than LeBron has.

      or that without one of the most dominant players of all time (that would be one. S. O’Neal), LeBron has led his team to the Finals, while Kobe has… um… yeah. About that. Well, he looked good falling to the ground after Raja clotheslined him. That was nice.

      How about, without having to play in a challenging conference? I’m not going to get into the Shaq argument. It’s completely absurd. But that’s for another day.

      How’s this. Two years ago, Kobe almost beat the mighty Suns, with who…? Kwame Brown (currently racking up DNP CDs on the 3rd worst team in the league), Smush Parker (currently can’t get a job as a reserve guard for the WORST team in the league, that specifically has a need for a point guard), and Brian Cook, who’s a sorry excuse for a sub, let alone a starter. And Lamar Odom, who is widely recognized to be a complete failure as a 2nd option (though he’s turning out to be fantastic once that pressure is taken off him). That is the team he led to 45 wins in the much tougher West, and that is the team that nearly beat the Suns.

      Let me ask you this: Don’t you think a team that nearly beat the Suns could have gotten to the Finals in the East? I think that’s a pretty safe bet. As Reggie Miller pointed out this evening, if Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant had switched places before this season, the Heat would easily be a playoff team this year.

      Seriously, you’re really giving LeBron that much credit for getting to the Finals in the pathetic East, and then laying an egg in the Finals? Had he played in the West, there is no way he would have gotten past the Suns or Spurs. The Cavs wouldn’t have done any better against the Suns last year than the Lakers did. He just didn’t have to play that level of competition until he met up with the West. Sorry, not that impressive.

      ut just as I don’t think it’s ridiculous to argue that Kobe Bryant is the greatest player of all time (though he’s not)

      I agree with you on both points.

      or that he’s the best player currently in the NBA (though he’s not)

      What a ridiculous statement. But I guess the players, coaches, and GMs who live, eat, and breathe this game have no idea what they’re talking about when they universally declare him to be the best player in the game… right?

      or that he’s definitively superior to all forms of life on planet Earth (we actually agree with this one. No one is superior at being selfish, self-absorbed, and completely impossible of any leadership than Mr. Bryant. He’s clearly an advanced life form.)

      At least you’re funny, though still seriously lacking in the accuracy department.

      About leadership, tell me this: LeBron is leading his team to 45 wins this season, and he is lauded as the leader of his team. Kobe did the same in a tougher conference, with a worse team, two years ago. And somehow, using some secret double standard only Kobe haters understand, Kobe is a poor leader. Hogwash.

      And if you think he’s incapable of leadership, you haven’t paid attention to a single thing Lakers- or Kobe-related all year long.

      you shouldn’t dismiss the argument.

      I don’t dismiss the argument. It’s a valid argument, in the sense that it can be argued well enough. But valid and correct are completely different, and while it is valid, it is ultimately incorrect. Thus, I do not at all dismiss the argument — after all, if I dismissed it, I wouldn’t spend time disproving it, but would just… you know… dismiss it… in one, single blanket statement. No, I don’t dismiss it — I clearly and methodically disprove it.

      I don’t even like LeBron that much, but I am amused at this, which will be tremendously interesting in four years when LeBron is regarded as clearly the third best player in NBA history behing MJ and Wilt, and Kobe is labeled as what he should be.

      The greatest scorer of all time, who had a talent for one-on-one defense.

      For a fortune teller, you’re making some extremely bold predictions. The Lakers are favorites for the championship this year, and next year they will be even stronger. Meanwhile, the three biggest contenders in the West are all on a one- or two-year window, and will soon disappear from the picture — at which point, the Lakers will be the most experienced playoff team. They will have a much better Bynum (scary thought for the rest of the league), Pau Gasol, and ever improving Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, and Ronny Turiaf, along with the best player in the game, Kobe Bryant. And they’ve got the best coach in the game.

      Given that, it’s very likely the Lakers — led by Kobe — will win two or three, maybe even four or five championships over the next several years. And we know full well that winning cures all ills. (Jordan proved that.)

      Meanwhile, LeBron’s Cavs just made a lateral trade, and have less flexibility than before. The East is still weak, and I have a hard time seeing them adding the pieces necessary to beat the Lakers in the Finals any time soon.

      So the truth is that all predictions are a shot in the dark, but the biggest odds are on Kobe winning several more in the next few years. And if he does that, he will be regarded as the best in the game, for the simple fact that winning has that effect.

      So there’s that. Let me know if I’ve gotten any of the above wrong. I think it answers the issues you raised pretty damn well.

  8. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 1:00 am

    @lalball81,

    As a basketball blogger, you may find that HP knows more about basketball than you think. I think in this case, it’s more a case of Kobe hate distorting his perspective, than a lack of basketball knowledge.

    You’re right about Kobe as a leader and teammate, though. He has been incredible in those areas this year. His teammates have said as much. He has never been bad, but this year he has been amazing as both a teammate and a leader.

    Everything else you said is pretty much on target. It’s easy for the haters to zero in on one complaint they have against him, say it over and over until people believe it’s true, and then convince people that that’s all there is. But that’s what this site is here for — one by one, to disprove all of these false criticisms.

    Given time, of course, since I insist on doing so in a thorough manner, and this is not my day job.

  9. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 1:09 am

    @Hardwood Paroxysm,

    See, I can see where you’re coming from half of the time, and not the other half. But right now you’re really exposing your lack of knowledge on this specific topic. I’m guessing you didn’t watch the Lakers game tonight, but only saw the highlight of Kobe’s ridiculous breakaway pass. Because if you had, you would know that that was a foolish statement.

    In fact, Kobe has been getting his teammates very involved. He didn’t force a single shot or layup tonight, and he rarely does anymore. Those rare occasions are usually the ones where the offense sputters, and his teammates dump it off on him to create something with 4 seconds left on the clock. At least he can get a makable shot off.

    The fact is that your criticism would have been more accurate two years ago, or in the second half of last year. However, it’s important to recognize that everything he did in both of those situations was specifically mandated by his coach, the best coach ever, Phil Jackson.

    In 2005-06, the Lakers were Kobe and a bunch of green kids who were completely new to the system. They didn’t know the Triangle offense, and as a person knowledge of basketball, I’m sure you understand that it is one of the more complicated offenses to learn, and can take quite some time to master it. Phil Jackson specifically asked Kobe to carry the load while the kids learned the system. He specifically explained that, and Kobe confirmed it.

    Then there’s last year. Kobe was playing team ball, pretty much as he has been this year, and was lauded for it at every turn. But then injuries devastated the team. 3 of 5 starters went down with major injuries, missing major portions of the season. As luck would have it, Smush Parker was not one of those injured. The Lakers went on a massive losing streak, losing something like 11 of 13. Still, Kobe played team ball within the system.

    It was only when Phil Jackson, his coach, and Tex Winter, his assistant coach and the creator of the triangle, asked him to take over that he did so. And what do you know? The Lakers started winning again. So you see, Kobe has only done whatever his coached asked of him, and whatever it took to win. In fact, if Phil and Tex had recognized sooner the need for Kobe to take over last season, the Lakers might have won closer to 50 games, and he might have had a shot at MVP.

    So if you want to blame someone for the excessive shooting Kobe has done in the past years, blame Phil Jackson. He was the one that, given the needs of the team, felt it was necessary at times. But I guess you know better than him.

    But you should watch more Lakers games. Everything you said to lalball81 about Kobe this year is, quite simply, not happening. In fact, it is exactly the opposite.

  10. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 1:11 am

    @Misareaux,

    Excelllent points about Kobe’s role with the Lakers versus LeBron’s or MJ’s role with the Cavs and Bulls, respectively. Very well said, and very true. I’ll have to chew on those thoughts some more.

  11. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 1:17 am

    @Misareaux,

    It’s not really Dwayne Wade’s fault. It’s clear the man is playing with injuries that seriously limit his game. He doesn’t have a reliable jumper and its not like he can play through the knee and shoulder injuries that limit his explosiveness to and around the hoop.

    If it were compared to any other player, I would agree with you. Hell, I don’t fault him. But he was compared to Kobe, made out to be better than Kobe — and I’m not the one that started this comparison.

    And Kobe is notorious for playing through very tough injury, sickness, and other maladie. Pinky, anyone? And this pinky is far from the first time. So if you want to compare him to Kobe, you have to have equal expectations.

    See, Wade hasn’t had a problem scoring this year. He’s still 5th in the NBA, averaging 24.5 points per game. He also scored 48 at the end of December.

    If Kobe had the injuries Wade had, he’d be playing through it, and we wouldn’t be hearing anything about it. And they’d be winning. Much, much more than the Heat currently are. And then some more on top of that.

    Compared to anyone else, I completely agree with you. Dwyane is a stud, a great baller, and it’s sad that he’s not at full health. And understandable that that afffects him. But Kobe’s in a league of his own, and this is the kind of thing that doesn’t stop him. So it’s excusable if you want to say Wade is better than Melo. It’s not excusable if you want to pretend he’s better than Kobe. Or even at the same level.

  12. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 1:28 am

    @Hardwood Paroxysm,

    One more thing. This is just one example, out of too many to count.

    Tonight, with 3 minutes to go in the 4th quarter and the Lakers up 17, Jordan Farmar his a 3-pointer. And there was Kobe Bryant, on his feet, cheering him on.

    I’ll say it again. 4th quarter. Worst team in the league. Easy win. Up 17, only a couple minutes to go. This is sleepy time.

    And the team superstar, the best player and MVP of the league, is on his feet playing cheerleader.

    If that doesn’t spell leadership, I don’t know what does. And he’s doing things like that right and left, all over the place, this year.

  13. randomfan says...February 29, 2008 5:44 am

    a lot of bases have been touched, so i just want to add one further note: i do believe lebron has the potential to be one of the most dominant players ever, surpassing both kobe and jordan. nevertheless, with the way things look now, even if he continues to accumulate stats (and we already know that his "superior" stats relative to kobe are not in actuality superior when taken into context) and does happen to win a championship, lebron will never match kobe’s or jordan’s or magic’s talent and skill level. these latter players have preternatural abilities as basketball players, while lebron is a player who depends solely on his body size and strength to over power his opponents, hence the reason why 90% of his shots are the result of dunks or layups from bulldozing his way through defenders. this is why i believe lebron is a forward’s analog to shaq’s center: dominant and effective because of their physical advantages, yet lacking in fundamentals and skills. on the other hand, since kobe and jordan do not have the body size/strength lebron possesses, they rely more on creativity, improvisation, and precision to get the job done; kobe can literally get any shot off from anywhere on the court in any situation. these are, of course, simply two different styles of playing, not one better than the other since both are indeed effective when utilized by the right player, but in terms of basketball ability, difficulty, and aesthetics, one is clearly the superior method- jordan’s and kobe’s.

  14. khandor says...February 29, 2008 6:18 am

    Josh,

    "If Kobe had the injuries Wade had, he’d be playing through it, and we wouldn’t be hearing anything about it. And they’d be winning. Much, much more than the Heat currently are. And then some more on top of that."

    The announcers in last night’s game were ‘wrong’ to even ‘suggest’ such a thing … and, IMO, so, too, is anyone else who does likewise.

    I can’t find it just now but … within 2 weeks of first coming back from his off-season surgeries, earlier this season (sometime in November, I think), I wrote a message on the blog of a noteworthy Miami newspaper (the Herald, maybe?) stating that, at that time, the D-Wade I was watching (then, already) was not healthy enough to be playing basketball at all this season AND should be shut down immediately by the Heat’s management, before he does permanent injury to himself that he will never (ever) fully recover from down-the-road.

    At the time I wrote it, however, D-Wade was performing at a certain (acceptable?) level of proficiency which caused his die-hard Heat supporters (and haters, as well) to tell me on that blog that I didn’t know what I was talking about … and, that he was ‘healthy’ enough (according to all published accounts) to lead this team again this season, at that time, along with Shaq.

    Well, you know what? 

    It’s now 4 months later … and, everyone in the basketball community can (or, at least, should be able to) see for themselves that the ‘honest-to-goodness truth’ is, today … that what I saw first, back then, was indeed accurate … even though others were not capable of seeing it themselves, at that time.

    ( … which is precisely part of MY UNIQUE SCHTICK, in the sporting landscape, i.e. I can tell you, in advance, with a certain degree of accuracy – which is difficult for others to replicate – what is going to happen before it does, based on what I’ve observed to that point … don’t ask me how I do it, cause I don’t fully understand it myself, only that after years & years of careful observation, it’s now a fact that, I can do this type of thing on a consistent basis … and I’m neither wizard nor witch & have no belief whatsoever in the ‘supernatural’)

    What I can tell you, in this instance, about ‘dislocated shoulder injuries’ and ‘significant knee surgeries’ is this … 

    if Kobe Bryant, great as he is, had the same type of injuries D-Wade is coping with this season … it is foolish (and irresponsible) speculation for anyone else to suggest that ‘Black Mamba’ would be playing/achieving right now at a superior level to what D-Wade is capable of doing – in these set of specific circumstances – this season (dragging his team with him along the way).

    This is not to suggest in any way that I think D-Wade is a superior basketball player to Kobe Bryant. Nor that I think Kobe is somehow (any how?) inferior to D-Wade … because it does not mean this at all.

    What it means is this:

    In the specific circumstances D-Wade finds himself in this season, in the aftermath of the surgeries (plural!) he had this past off-season … it is physically impossible for any player, anywhere, to be playing at a higher level than what he is competing at right now, in the NBA … including Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Allen Iverson, Yao Ming, Baron Davis, or anyone else you’d care to mention …

    and it disturbs me immensely to see him (or anyone else in this type of situation) denigrated in such a way.

    Let me be perfectly clear about what I’m saying, right here, so there is no mis-interpretation of my words.

    Playing basketball, in the NBA, with a dislocated finger that has a torn ligament … is not the same thing as … playing basketball, in the NBA, within the following 8 months, after undergoing surgeries for (i) a ‘major’ shoulder dislocation and (ii) a significant ‘knee’ operation … irrespective of who you are.

    End of rant. :-)

    PS. Please return to your regular programming.

  15. lalball81 says...February 29, 2008 7:35 am

    @ Josh Tucker (The Apologist)

    Basically what I meant.  I don’t doubt that HP knows basketball, I’m just doubting how much he knows Kobe.  It seems like he is stuck in the past, when Kobe was widely considered selfish and a bad teammate.  He needs to catch up with the times, cause that’s certainly not that case today.

  16. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 7:50 am

    @lalball81,

    I agree. Furthermore, I would suggest that in the past, the perception that he was selfish and a bad teammate was absolutely incorrect. Now, he could have been a much better teammate, but that is a far cry from calling him a bad teammate. I would say that he was just decent at best, in the past. He has really made a huge effort in that department this year, and it really shows.

    Regarding the perception of selfishness, I’m going to say it again and again until it registers (and eventually, I’ll actually post an article about it). Were Kobe forcing up shots and taking an inordinate number of shots at his own discretion, and despite contradictory instructions from his coach, one could consider him selfish. But when the number of shots he takes, and the situations in which he takes those “forced” shots, are specifically at the request of the coach — the best basketball coach ever — and a deliberate part of the coach’s game plan, it cannot be called selfishness on part. It is called doing what your coach and team ask of you, need from you, and what is necessary to win.

    Unfortunately, the haters have taken all of this out of context, and the squeaky wheel critics have convinced everyone that the inordinate amount of shots he took during those years was because of extreme selfishness. You know what they say — if you say it enough, eventually people will start to believe it.

    So I would say that his claim that Kobe is selfish and a poor teammate is inaccurate for the past, and a thousand times more so for the present. A more accurate statement would be that he was a mediocre teammate in the past, with no mention of selfishness, but that he has been a fantastic teammate this year, and even more selfless than before.

    I don’t doubt that HP knows basketball, I’m just doubting how much he knows Kobe.

    That statement seems much more accurate to me, and is likely the case.

  17. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 9:17 am

    @khandor,

    I completely agree with you, to a point. Especially this:

    it disturbs me immensely to see him (or anyone else in this type of situation) denigrated in such a way.

    I wholeheartedly agree. However, I have to point this out again. I believe he is playing a very high level of basketball, given his health, and I don’t think that anyone should be judged harshly for their performance while playing with injuries that should, in all honesty, keep them off the court.

    However, I am not in any way denigrating him for his play, or his team’s performance, while not at full health. All I am doing is not putting him in the same class as Kobe. Now, that still puts him among the top players in the NBA — it’s just not in the same class as Kobe. Remember, saying that someone is not in the same class as Kobe is not in any way an insult, derogatory, or denigrating.

    Playing basketball, in the NBA, with a dislocated finger that has a torn ligament … is not the same thing as … playing basketball, in the NBA, within the following 8 months, after undergoing surgeries for (i) a ‘major’ shoulder dislocation and (ii) a significant ‘knee’ operation … irrespective of who you are.

    Perhaps you’re not aware of the full extent of Kobe’s finger injury. Here’s the official description: “a complete tear of the radial collateral ligament, an avulsion fracture, and a volar plate injury at the MCP joint of the small finger of this right hand.”

    An avulsion fracture, by the way, means that a piece of bone was pulled from the finger bone by the ligament and is now detached. Kobe doesn’t just have a dislocated finger and a torn ligament. His ligament is completely disconnected, and it has ripped a piece of bone from his finger.

    I must say, I find it interesting that you regard Wade’s injuries so seriously, and Kobe’s so lightly — despite the fact that a hand specialist recommended Kobe get surgery immediately, and the injury is a very severe one to his shooting hand — which should dramatically reduce his effectiveness. Somehow, he is playing at an extremely high level despite it.

    In addition, Kobe has suffered other serious injuries in his career, including (but not limited to) knee, shoulder, wrist, elbow, and ankle injuries — some more serious than others. Nonetheless, he has often played through injuries, or returned less than 100%, but he has always been effective and always led his team to victory, injury or not.

    Furthermore, as Misareaux pointed out, his shoulder injuries may limit his explosiveness and ability to get to the basket. But that’s exactly the problem. Dwyane Wade has a small repertoire of pet moves that teams have come to expect and can adjust to, and most of them have to do with getting to the rim. If he can’t get to the rim, he’s going to have a hard time being effective. Kobe, on the other hand, can kill you from anywhere on the court. His versatility means that when one aspect of his game is limited, he has numerous other aspects that are still deadly.

    In addition, there is more to this than just physical ability. There is leadership and will to win. A large part of what Reggie Miller was saying last night was that Kobe simply would not allow his team to lose, and that he would not allow his guys to slack. Remember, the Heat still have a majority of their starting lineup from their championship year. A lot of what Reggie was talking about is Kobe’s indomitable will to win, and that’s something that is contagious.

    Clearly, Wade has still been able to score. It’s the other things that he’s not able to keep up with. And those other things are things that Kobe has done exceptionally well — even when injuries did prevent him from being an effective scorer. We saw that in the few games where he shot poorly because of the pinky — he facilitated, directed, and led his team, and they won anyways.

    Look, I’m not hating on Wade. This isn’t a knock on him. I am very sympathetic, because of his health. All I am saying is that he’s not Kobe Bryant. If you want to compare him to anyone else, I’d say he has the ability to be as effective with this injury as anyone else in the league. Top notch. But you’re talking about Kobe Bryant.

    Kobe’s pinky is far from the only injury he’s played through. He has played through and after all sorts of injuries and maladies, year after year after year. Some minor, some major. And he has always been effective, and his team has always won.

    Kobe Bryant may be the only one who, with the same injuries, could pull this off better than Wade. But make no mistake — Kobe Bryant, even with those injuries, would be headed for the Playoffs if he were playing in the East, with the Heat. He may be the only one who could do it — but he’d do it.

    It’s not a knock against Wade. It’s simply a reality check — one that says, “Call him the 2nd best player in the entire NBA if you want, better than all the rest — he’s just not at Kobe Bryant’s level.” That’s all it is, and it’s the truth.

  18. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 9:27 am

    @randomfan,

    Very interesting perspective, with some great points.

    I read somewhere, recently, (can’t remember where) that Kobe Bryant is the most talented basketball player, while LeBron James is the most talented athlete, who just happens to play basketball. (I don’t think I worded it as well as it was originally worded, but I can’t recall who said it.) The point is, Bryant is specifically a basketball player, and as such is the most talented one. James is a physical freak of nature, whose athleticism all around is ridiculously impressive, but may be better suited to other sports than to basketball (his speed, size, strength, etc., would probably be a perfect fit for football, for example — and I hear he was a football player in high school). He succeeds because he uses those physical talents to his advantages in limited ways, most of which revolve around powering his way to the hoop. But his overall skill set is not, in a fully rounded way, as well suited to basketball as Kobe’s — in particular, with respect to shooting. After all, basketball is a sport where players shoot the ball. If James wants to be very successful, he will need to expand his repertoire and add a jumpshot, and some overall versatility, to his game, rather than relying on his running back-like natural ability to get to the hoop.

  19. Brittney M says...February 29, 2008 12:24 pm

    I’m Puzzled also and would be pretty pissed if I was Kobe, I don’t understand why everyone hates him and I can’t believe the things I read from everywhere that shows Lebron over Kobe and I really want those to understand the truth and facts that Lebron is not. Thanks for the article, another great read and I will be spreading this around because it just needs to get to everyone possible. I have nothing against Lebron either but I wish they will give credit where credit is due and Kobe is due his credit.

  20. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 12:49 pm

    @Brittney M,

    Well said, Brittney.

    And you know what? Here’s the thing: One of my two major reasons for spending so much time arguing against LeBron James (or, as I prefer to think of it, arguing for Kobe Bryant over LeBron James) is that he’s so over-hyped, and prematurely crowned “King”. But the truth is, I would really be quite okay with LeBron getting all of the hype and (more) credit (than he deserves)… if they would just give Kobe the credit he deserves.

    If they would just give Kobe the credit he deserves, rather than hating on him so much, and recognize that he is the best in the game, then I would gladly accept all the over-the-top and premature LBJ hype in the world.

    So, amen to you. Give Kobe his due.

  21. Brittney M says...February 29, 2008 12:51 pm

    What I also don’t get is that no one seems to notice that the Cavs and Lebron in the East made it to the finals playing teams who stars were injured. For Example: The Washington Wizards SG Agent 0-Gilbert Arenas was injured and did not play at all in that key matchup in the East. I say Lebron and Cavs got lucky and would of never made it that far if key players were involved that wasn’t. If and only if he(Lebron) does it this year then I would finally recognize him close to Kobe but as for now I will never.  

  22. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 12:58 pm

    @Brittney M,

    I think that’s fair. I’ve said it before: LeBron had a cakewalk through the East, then laid an egg against the first West team he met. How is that impressive?

    I’m sure he’ll do great things in time. But to treat him as though he has yet done anything special is a joke.

  23. Rob says...February 29, 2008 1:37 pm

    Thank god this website exists. To be honest i’ve been a Kobe fan since he got drafted in 96′. This year i see my friends who are A.I,K.G,and Lebron fans giving way more respect to Kobe than i have ever heard them do. Except for the Lebron fan. He just keeps flapping his gums about how Kobe would do worst with the Cavs if he was in Lebron’s situation and all that bull. I dont know what these Lebron fans hold against Kobe so much. I guess they are just hating. So keep it coming with these comparisons they are good links for my Kobe hating Lebron loving friend to refresh his mind about who really is the best player in the League.

  24. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 1:58 pm

    @Rob,

    Thanks, Rob.

    Ironically, I think you’ve expressed why I talk about LeBron so much on this, a Kobe-centric site, a lot better than I did: Because LeBron fans won’t stop talking about LBJ being better than KB24.

    As we know all too well, the “squeaky wheel” critics love to spread lies about Kobe Bryant — but what we’ve learned in the past several years is that those squeaky wheels can actually convince a lot of people that their B.S. is actually true.

    And that’s why I can’t just let them talk and not respond. Silence from those who know the truth only results in the squeaky wheels successfully spreading their lies.

    I will give Cavs fans one thing, though. I understand “what [they] hold against Kobe so much.” It is terribly exciting as a fan of any given team to see one of your own rising to superstardom. It’s even more exciting to see one of your own beginning to enter the “best player alive” discussion — even if he’s not actually there yet. As a fan who sees this happening, it’s hard not to want two things: that the potential you see is successfully fulfilled (i.e., that he actually does become a superstar, the best player, etc.), and that others recognize his greatness.

    I also know this. There are three areas of personal opinion that are fiercely personal: Religion, Politics, and Sports. Let’s take politics, for a moment, because it’s the easiest example. Getting people to discuss rationally is nearly impossible, because our political positions are so fiercely personal to us that we have a hard time being objective. That also explains why we can get so heated, and take such offense, when it comes to political discussions. Obviously, the same is true for religion. But perhaps surprisingly, the same is also true for sports. The convictions a person holds about sports — which usually boil down to (a) that his team is the best, (b) that his team’s superstar is the best, (c) that his team deserves to win, and (d) that his superstar deserves to win — are fiercely personal issues about which we have trouble being objective, sometimes.

    Have you noticed that every sports fan always feels like their team deserves more recognition in power rankings than it gets (i.e., they look at power rankings to see if their team got as much credit as they feel it deserves, rather than to get an honest evaluation of where their team ranks)? Or how about this: Have you ever noticed that every sports fan believes his team should win, and if they don’t, they have excuses of why they should have, and why they were robbed — and they’re convinced they’re correct. Or have you ever noticed that every sports fan almost always feels like the officiating was in favor of the other team? And nothing, not a thing in the world, will ever convince us we’re wrong about any of this.

    That’s why Cavs fans are launching this massive assault on Kobe Bryant. Because they see the potential for LeBron James to someday be the best player in the world, and in their excitement and impatience, they want that to be now, not at some point in the future. And they want their boy recognized. And the only way for either of those two things to happen is for the current best player in the world to be dethroned. And that would be Kobe Bryant. It really just comes down to excited fans jumping the gun. That’s why I have sympathy for them — to a point, of course.

    But after a certain point, when every rational argument has shown that he’s not there yet, you expect that reasonable people will recognize that they’re getting ahead of themselves — that their boy will still get there, he’ll still be the man, eventually… just not yet.

    Hey, thanks for the love, both for this site and for the greatest player on earth. Feel free to link all your Cavs fan and/or Kobe hater friends here — it’s why the site exists.

  25. Pipo says...February 29, 2008 2:35 pm

    I started reading your blog a couple of days ago, and I must say that it is a very interesting blog. I can tell that you know the game of basketball just by reading your words, and that you sure have a point in each of the posts that you’ve writen. I’m a Kobe Bryant fan since he’s began his career in the NBA, and my opinion about him is very similiar to yours, I think he’s the best player and has been the best player for maybe 3 or 4 years now, maybe in Shaq’s last season with the Lakers Kobe already was the best between the two, and maybe that fact affected their relationship. So I have an post proposal to you. Can you write a post about what you think that are the flaws that Kobe has, and what do you think he should do better to become an even more spectacular and greater player? Or do you think that this would be a post that "kobe haters" would use to hate him more??

  26. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 2:42 pm

    @Pipo,

    Fascinating suggestion! I love the way you think! I will definitely be on it. Let it not be said that Kobe doesn’t have weaknesses — everyone does.

    I can’t guarantee when it will show up… but it will be within the next couple of weeks. Look for it!

  27. lalball81 says...February 29, 2008 2:45 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better myself Rob.  I was just going to mention the same thing, but I agree completely.

  28. randomfan says...February 29, 2008 10:57 pm

    here’s another suggestion (just want to relay what i have randomly posted off the top of my head, so it’s a bit haphazardly written):

    -the false accusations of kobe’s dismantling the lakers and getting rid of shaq.
    -the false accusations that kobe is immature, selfish, and egocentric while shaq is none of these; rather he is the mature, reasonable, coolheaded leader.

    without writing everything down for now:
    shaq has encountered problems in every team he has been: spats with penny, kobe, and most likely pretending to get along with wade. the only common denominator in all three cases has been shaq. moreover, rarely does anyone who is not problematic get traded/move around as many times as shaq has in his career. lastly, the knowledgeable nba analysts know shaq is infamous for being an immature, selfish, low-self-esteem, egocentric, sensitive figure who could not stand sharing the spotlight or getting his feelings slighted; however, due to his comical antics and quips, he has been able to disarm the media and mold them into his favor; almost every media figure until recently has completely turned a blind eye towards shaq’s flawed character/personality while lambasting kobe for the exact same behavior simply because kobe is a private person who doesn’t make people laugh during interviews.

  29. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...February 29, 2008 11:09 pm

    @randomfan,

    Excellent ideas, and decently said for “just off the top of your head.”

    Rest assured, both of these are among those at the very top of my future articles list. But they are some of the most prominent, consistent, and most widely accepted (false) criticisms against Kobe, and as such, I want to make sure to do them justice. So, in order to ensure that they are well researched and thoroughly substantiated, it may be a while before I’m able to get those done. Given time, however, I assure you that we will dispense of those lies once and for all.

  30. randomfan says...February 29, 2008 11:56 pm

    apologist: certainly, i completely understand. i just wanted to give you a bank of ideas that i’m sure you’ll competently tackle when you find the time to do so. i’ll probably drop suggestions here and there as they come to me, but i surely don’t expect you to draft something in the same time frame as the suggestions or out of synch with your convenience. i just wanted to let you know how impressive it is you take the time to respond to every comment on your website; really appreciate it. by the way, do you have some sort comment mailbox people can send messages to without posting them in the comment area?

  31. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 12:05 am

    @randomfan,

    Why don’t I have an email link yet? That’s just silliness. How foolish of me.

    Email me at apologist@respectkobe.com.

    And within less than 10 minutes, you should be able to find a link in the main nav bar at the top of every page.

    I appreciate all of your suggestions. There is much, much work to do. Of course, I have a list going… and I’ll always add your suggestions to the list.

  32. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 12:20 am

    @randomfan,

    i just wanted to let you know how impressive it is you take the time to respond to every comment on your website; really appreciate it.

    You know, I’ve received a lot of positive feedback so far, people appreciating what I’m doing. But I also very much appreciate everyone who takes the time to read what I write, and who appreciates it — not to mention anyone who would recommend my site to someone else. I don’t have the privilege many bloggers have of treating it as my day job; I have to have an actual day job. So for as much as I appreciate those who spend their time reading what I write, I think the least I can do is respond to people’s comments whenever a response is merited, whether it’s in or in continued debate. I hope I can always continue to do that.

  33. Mamba says...March 1, 2008 1:18 am

    dissect Bryants defense on Roy tonight for me.  Id love to read a 6 page blog on your excuses for that ugly display of defense.  He consistently got burned, got yelled at by Phil, Fisher switched to Roy, and was the reason the lakers lost the game.  Steve Blake hit 4 3′s in the first half because Bryant continued to go under screens.  Not to mention his un clutchness, again, at the end of the game.  Lebron does NOT let another team go on a 10-0 run during crunch time, EVER.  Oh and lebron NEVER throws the ball in the back court during crunch time ever.  what a horrible turnover.  And for the record, Kobe is a terrible passer.  He has about a 3rd of the court vision of James and the only reason his assist numbers are up is because hes got guys hitting jumpers for him.  i absolutely loved the other night when Bryant was driving the lane, kicked it to a guy in the corner and THEN looked away like he threw a no look pass.  LOL Oh and then his dunk from last night lol…  break away and kobe tried to add a little pizzaz to his throw down.. not only is he a weak dunker, he barely made it over the rim because he tried to get fancy.  he looked like ass

    And im having a hard time understanding you.. on one hand i laugh at you, and the rest of Kobe nation, for saying its absurd that lebron is even IN the MVP discussion.  But do you mean that solely because the way the MVP has been voted on lately the cavs wont have enough wins for bron to "qualify"?  If that’s the case let me say this to you.  The level Lebron is playing at this year is FORCING people to look at the award for what its intended to be..  VALUABLE.  Most VALUABLE player.  I would much rather the people who vote on this award place emphasis on the valuable part of it than the wins part.  Kobe has way too many weapons on his team to even be considered then.  For my money, Gasol is the MVP of the Lakers.  Look at how much better individual players are playing now that Gasol has arrived.  They weren’t doing that when it was just Kobe.

  34. randomfan says...March 1, 2008 2:40 am

    MAMBA:
    I don’t want to waste a lot of time trying to convince you that what you said is irrational, since, from experience, people like you are impervious to logic and reasoning, so I’ll do this quickly: first, let me educate you. if you ever want to conduct a successful research project, you’d be advised to analyze a sample space that encompasses a large spectrum. taking a few games and picking several negative aspects from each doesn’t constitute a proof; it’s a logical fallacy- a sweeping generalization- and most importantly, a deceptive and specious form of argumentation.
    oh, and your claim that lebron would "never" let a team go on a 10-0 run is also incorrect, not to mention distorted by your obvious emotional affinity towards him.   Finally, implying that kobe’s assists are only good because he has team mates who can make shots is an ignorant assertion. Assists are by definition accumulated when you have team mates who can convert it for you; you’re going to criticize the very construct of the number? Why don’t you also criticize lebron who had team mates who could more consistently make shots than kobe’s team mates until this season? I could be weak like you and simply respond by saying that lebron’s assists would most likely be lower if he had been on the lakers for the last several years because nobody would be able to make a shot from his passes. If you actually take the time to analyze the context of kobe’s and lebron’s assist average (refer to the author’s previous article), you would realize that kobe’s is just as good as lebron’s. furthermore, kobe’s assist numbers are not “up” from anything; they’re actually down from what they should be. Even when he was playing with his pre-developed team mates, kobe was able to achieve a very good average. If you look at his career, he has the ability to consistently go for 6, or possibly more, assists per game. I suppose going by your logic you need to diminish nash’s assist average for having 4 or 5 players who can consistently make shots for him.

    let me now quote your next questionable post: "The level Lebron is playing at this year is FORCING people to look at the award for what its intended to be..  VALUABLE.  Most VALUABLE player.  I would much rather the people who vote on this award place emphasis on the valuable part of it than the wins part.  Kobe has way too many weapons on his team to even be considered then.  For my money, Gasol is the MVP of the Lakers.  Look at how much better individual players are playing now that Gasol has arrived.  They weren’t doing that when it was just Kobe."

    if you haven’t noticed by now, kobe did not win the mvp for the last 2 seasons despite having historical numbers and despite carrying a team that had no business in the playoffs simply because the lakers did not win enough games. lebron’s doing nothing new; it was in fact kobe first, not lebron, who forced people to reinterpret how the mvp was given according to the last several seasons, yet the media, who does all the voting, despises kobe and thus made it into anything that excluded him. similarly, you now say lebron deserves it for the exact same reasons kobe did not win it the last several years? there’s an obviously fickle and deliberate flip-flopping amongst the public every season in defining the mvp in order to prevent kobe from winning it. I completely agree with you that “I would much rather the people who vote on this award place emphasis on the valuable part of it than the wins”, because if they did, kobe would have at least 2 by now by virtue of the last few seasons. you also claim that pau is the true mvp? let me respond in the same spirit: where was pau before he came to the lakers? how was his team faring when he was their leader? in how many playoff series was he swept? How would the lakers do if it were led by pau without kobe? Pau is finally the long-sought, ideal complement to kobe….not the mvp. Kobe’s summer antics may not have been handled in the best way, but that and kobe’s motivational introduction at the beginning of the season had inspired and galvanized his team mates to improve over last season. Combined with experience and maturity, the lakers had been playing exceptional basketball even before pau arrived, so what makes you think that it was pau who turned the team around? Obviously your statement “they weren’t doing that when it just kobe” is not based on reality and fact, but rather fueled by disdain for him. It was only after bynum and ariza went down with injuries that pau was brought in to sustain the team during the injuries. In fact, before key starters went out with injuries for a prolonged time, kobe led his team to very respectable records. Every season kobe has had to single-handedly carry a depleted lakers, but now that he finally has some reliable, semi-healthy team mates he doesn’t deserve it? so let me get what people like you are trying to say: when he plays brilliant basketball with poor team mates he doesn’t deserve the award, but when he plays extraordinary basketball with improved team mates he still doesn’t deserve the award? With this kind of impossible standard, the mvp shouldn’t even be given out anymore. I suppose Jordan never should have won his mvps when he had the ultimate supporting cast of pippen, rodman, kerr, kukoc, paxson, grant, etc. having solid team mates is nothing to detract from a player’s mvp candidacy, nor should having poor team mates (to some extent) do so, too, as kobe supporters have been saying for years now (and now you in the case for lebron)
    I don’t have anymore time to spend on something so unintelligent as your remarks, so I’ll end it here. but look how pathetic your list of support looks: you use one game against kobe, make a broad generalization, hold double standards, and make ad hominem arguments. grow some brains.

  35. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 3:05 am

    @Mamba,

    Oh boy, here we go.

    dissect Bryants defense on Roy tonight for me. Id love to read a 6 page blog on your excuses for that ugly display of defense.

    Kobe’s played better defensive games.

    What’s that? You expected a different answer? Of course you did.

    However, I will point out that Roy didn’t score in the 3rd, and only scored 6 in the 4th — four on free throws, only one made basket. Just saying.

    Steve Blake hit 4 3’s in the first half because Bryant continued to go under screens.

    Wait… Roy scored virtually all his points in the first half, yet you blame Bryant’s defense. Blake also scored most of his points in the first half… and again you blame Bryant’s defense. Was Kobe defending the entire team, 5-on-1? Make up your mind.

    Meanwhile, it was actually LaMarcus Aldridge and Jarrett Jack that lit the Lakers up in the 4th quarter. The two of them combined for 17 points in the 4th quarter. Neither of them was Kobe’s man.

    Not to mention his un clutchness, again, at the end of the game.

    Because LeBron’s never lost a close game, right? Don’t be ridiculous.

    But actually, Kobe didn’t try and do it all himself in at the end of the 4th quarter. He passed. Guys like Vujacic and Fisher took 3s. And missed. Those two, for example, were a combined 2-12 from beyond the arc.

    And that’s actually why the Lakers lost the game. Not Kobe’s defense. They took 27 threes — a HUGE number — and only made 5.

    Lebron does NOT let another team go on a 10-0 run during crunch time, EVER. Oh and lebron NEVER throws the ball in the back court during crunch time ever. what a horrible turnover.

    Apparently LeBron has never performed poorly in a clutch situation. See? I learn something new every day. Well hell, if that’s the case, the LeBron is obviously light years better than Michael Jordan!

    Get a grip. Even the best sometimes fail.

    For example: Your master of clutch has lost 5 games by 3 points or less this year, and 15 by less than 10 points. Wait… I thought he didn’t fail in the clutch? Don’t tell me it even happens to LeBron?? [Gasps...]

    And for the record, Kobe is a terrible passer. He has about a 3rd of the court vision of James and the only reason his assist numbers are up is because hes got guys hitting jumpers for him.

    Wow, that’s crazy… you know what, you’re right! That is why he’s getting assists! Oh, no, wait… I thought that was how everybody got assists. You know… they pass to a guy, the guy… you know… hits his shot.

    But hey, at least we know you’re fully capable of completely unsubstantiated blanket statements based entirely in your own bias.

    i absolutely loved the other night when Bryant was driving the lane, kicked it to a guy in the corner and THEN looked away like he threw a no look pass.

    I know it’s hard, but you have to at least try to understand the game of basketball. Kobe is not interested in being flashy, he’s interested in being effective. There’s a difference. Flashy gets you on highlight reels, but highlight reels don’t win games. Effective wins games.

    It’s called diversion. He’s not trying to look cool. He’s been there, done that. When he throws a pass to the right while turning his body and his head to the left, it’s a way of distracting the defense. Defenders follow his body and head, assuming that he’s still got the ball. Meanwhile, the teammate he passed to has an easy shot.

    But it’s not surprising you would value flashy no-look passes over effectiveness. You’re a LeBron James fan, of course stats and flash is very important to you.

    LOL Oh and then his dunk from last night lol… break away and kobe tried to add a little pizzaz to his throw down.. not only is he a weak dunker, he barely made it over the rim because he tried to get fancy. he looked like ass

    Whatever, dude. You’re obviously fishing for whatever you can find here. Everyone else liked the dunk quite a lot. But it’s like a Cavs fan/Kobe hater to search for bogus reasons they can use to convince themselves they’re justified in hating on Kobe when they can’t find any legitimate ones.

    And im having a hard time understanding you.. on one hand i laugh at you, and the rest of Kobe nation, for saying its absurd that lebron is even IN the MVP discussion. But do you mean that solely because the way the MVP has been voted on lately the cavs wont have enough wins for bron to “qualify”? If that’s the case let me say this to you. The level Lebron is playing at this year is FORCING people to look at the award for what its intended to be.. VALUABLE. Most VALUABLE player.

    I’ve already gone of this over and over. But let me take a different approach with this.

    My parents are linguists. Mom has her Masters, my dad his Ph.D. As a kid, that’s what I grew up with. One of the things my dad very often said was, “Context, not etymology, determines the meaning of a word.” What does that mean? Well, etymology is the parts — smaller words, root words, etc. — that make up the word in question. His point is that it is not the literal makeup of a word that determines it’s definition, therefore you can’t determine it’s meaning by breaking it down into it’s sub-parts. A butterfly is not a stick of butter with the power of levitation, holmes. It has nothing to do with flying butter.

    Context determines the meaning of a word. It doesn’t matter what it originally meant — how it is currently used determines its meaning.

    The same is true for the MVP award. You can break it down into its parts all you want — Most, Valuable, and Player — but it doesn’t have any bearing whatsoever on its meaning. And the way you’re trying to define it isn’t how it’s used in the current context of the NBA. It’s just not. I didn’t make that decision. It’s just the truth.

    But then, I guess that’s just Cavs fans trying to adjust the finish line for LeBron James once again. Let me ask you this: If you change the rules for him, give him special treatment, so it’s easier for him to accomplish what was more difficult for others… doesn’t that devalue those accomplishments, once he achieves them? If you really thought he was that good, you’d say, “Set the bar as high as you want, I dare you! And then watch, he’ll rise to the occasion.” But you don’t, you try to change the rules to fit him. Makes me question whether you really have that much confidence in him.

    I would much rather the people who vote on this award place emphasis on the valuable part of it than the wins part. Kobe has way too many weapons on his team to even be considered then.

    Tell you what: You come on this blog and admit — without ANY stipulations, no ifs, ands, or buts — that you wish Kobe had been MVP the past two years, and I will not argue with that.

    That won’t make you right, of course. The voters will still vote the way they have for 25 years. And again, I’m not the one who decided on those criteria, and I’m not the one who wants it that way. I’m just telling you the facts at hand — this is just how it is. However, if you will come on here and admit that, in your opinion, Kobe should have won the MVP award the past two years, I will respect your consistency and your desire to change the way they award the MVP.

    However, if you’re unwilling to admit that, then it will become crystal clear that your primary interest is not actually in changing how the MVP is awarded, but it’s really just getting LeBron his MVP, however you have to twist it.

    For my money, Gasol is the MVP of the Lakers. Look at how much better individual players are playing now that Gasol has arrived. They weren’t doing that when it was just Kobe.

    Now, see, you were just a hater until you said that. But you’re showing your hand now. Your proving to everyone that you’re a fool.

    Gasol? You mean the guy that led his old team to a 13-32 record? The guy that everyone who knows anything about basketball recognizes is best as a supporting player, but does not perform well as a franchise player — and in fact, would rather not be one… that guy?

    See, when you say that, it shows one of two things: either (a) you actually haven’t been watching Lakers games, so you really shouldn’t be talking about Kobe or the Lakers or any of this, or (b) that you have been watching them, but you’re actually visually impaired. Because if you were watching these Lakers games, and had the use of your visual faculties, you would know that more than half of what Gasol has accomplished has been specifically created for him by Kobe Bryant. Kobe assists on anywhere from 3 to 6 of Gasol’s baskets, every night. When he’s not assisting, he usually has the hockey assist.

    When you actually try to pull the Gasol as MVP card, you show yourself to be either a troll or completely ignorant. Or delusional. Take your pick.

    Oh, and by the way — Kobe’s teammates were actually all performing at a very high level before Gasol showed up. In fact, it’s Gasol’s production that has increased since coming to the Lakers.

    Man, here’s the bottom line — I can handle haters that at least try to make reasonable arguments, even if they’re not correct arguments. But you’re so far off the map, that really the only thing you accomplish is to make yourself look silly and foolish. You’re actually hurting the side you’re trying to argue for by opening your mouth, when you go as far off the deep end as you have. So here’s some advice: Next time, just tone it down some. Make your assertions just a little bit less outlandish, and at least people will occasionally take you seriously.

  36. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 3:20 am

    @randomfan,

    if you ever want to conduct a successful research project, you’d be advised to analyze a sample space that encompasses a large spectrum.

    Man… so many absurd assertions that I actually completely missed some of them. What is it with Cavs fans’ obsession with making across the board, blanket conclusions based on one single game? Is it something in the water in Cleveland?

    Combined with experience and maturity, the lakers had been playing exceptional basketball even before pau arrived, so what makes you think that it was pau who turned the team around? Obviously your statement “they weren’t doing that when it just kobe” is not based on reality and fact, but rather fueled by disdain for him. It was only after bynum and ariza went down with injuries that pau was brought in to sustain the team during the injuries. In fact, before key starters went out with injuries for a prolonged time, kobe led his team to very respectable records.

    Quite right, very well said. In fact, before Bynum and Ariza were injured the Lakers were on pace for 58 wins. That seems like a pretty high level of production, to me.

    so let me get what people like you are trying to say: when he plays brilliant basketball with poor team mates he doesn’t deserve the award, but when he plays extraordinary basketball with improved team mates he still doesn’t deserve the award?

    randomfan, you have exposed the double standard used by Kobe haters to dismiss him, since they can’t do so legitimately. Kobe leads a terrible team to 45 wins, and he doesn’t deserve it because of his team records. He leads a better team to 62 wins (at least, that’s the current pace), and he doesn’t win it because his teammates aren’t bad enough. It’s called circular reasoning, and it’s another logical fallacy.

    you use one game against kobe, make a broad generalization, hold double standards, and make ad hominem arguments. grow some brains.

    Solid. Case closed.

  37. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 3:21 am

    @Mamba,

    Any more questions? No? Good.

    Next!

  38. khandor says...March 1, 2008 6:42 am

    Josh,

    Of everything you just wrote, in response to the previous critique of Kobe’s performance last night – much of which I’m in total agreement with - this is the section that most intrigues me. :-) (and, given what you’ve been able to glean from me, to this point, from our brief interactions on your blog … you just had to know, intuitively, that something like ‘this’ was going to be coming your way, from me … when you included ‘it’ in your reply … so, here goes … Enjoy!)

    "My parents are linguists. Mom has her Masters, my dad his Ph.D. As a kid, that’s what I grew up with. One of the things my dad very often said was, “Context, not etymology, determines the meaning of a word.” What does that mean? Well, etymology is the parts — smaller words, root words, etc. — that make up the word in question. His point is that it is not the literal makeup of a word that determines it’s definition, therefore you can’t determine it’s meaning by breaking it down into it’s sub-parts. A butterfly is not a stick of butter with the power of levitation, holmes. It has nothing to do with flying butter.

    Context determines the meaning of a word. It doesn’t matter what it originally meant — how it is currently used determines its meaning."
    This explanation of ‘Truth’ … in Life … diverts into a very special (and specific) realm of discovery/investigation which is of particular interest to me …

    i.e. What gives something its ‘Meaning’?

    (A. its ‘origin[s]‘, B. its ‘context’, C. the ‘Combination’ of "A" & "B", D. something else [you can fill in the ________ yourself]) 

    U C I understand exactly what your father means when he makes that statement, above, about the ‘different’ values associated with something’s ‘etymology’ and its ‘contextual use/reference’ … what I-A-M in disagreement with is the unadulterated belief that (somehow?) ‘the answer’ "B", in isolation, is not equally flawed with the ‘A. I.’ "A"; and, that, instead, "C" is (in fact) somehow? not the closest to ‘Reality’ in this crazy world in which we live … Sherlock. :-)

    (why the need to write that segment partially in code? … perhaps you can go ahead and tell me that, as part of your reply :-) … if you’re able to decipher it correctly … based on the etymology involved and the context)

    Eagerly anticipating your expanded perspective on the matter.

    Khandor

    PS. If you’d prefer, feel free to email me directly and we can have the ensuing dialogue outside the confines of your (fine) blog (exclusively, focused on Kobe).

    PPS. Hint: Your reply might have further ramifications on the perspective you hold currently toward the applicability of ‘statistical-based arguments’ pertaining to the ‘Wonderous Game of Hoop ’.

    PPPS. KGBasketball is a BrotherhoodOrville WrightWe not me. – Muhammad Ali (… the Apologist, Linguists, and Khandor)
    :-)

  39. Ethan B says...March 1, 2008 1:19 pm

    Kudos to Josh for an excellent site.

    For the past few days I’ve been reading the thoroughly enteraining and articulated articles and rebuttals on all the kobe-hating that’s rampant in the nation and within the comments here.

    I’ve found that Josh makes rational aruguments and justications to support Kobe’s case as well as dishing out ample respect for Lebron.  Though i find it funny how lopsided the discussion gets when even though kobe fans can give Lebron his props, but no matter what Kobe does, cavs/lebron fans diss him, good or bad.

    Being the ultimate Kobe fan, I’ll be the first to admit that Lebron is playing MVP ball right now, but I can’t for the life of me believe that he deserves it this year when kobe has done it 2 years straight with basically a starting lineup that consisted of Smush Parker (who made like one maybe two mid-range jumper the whole season) and Kwame (stone-hands) Brown.  2 players now, who can’t even get 5 minutes of playing time in the league.  Heck, if anything, Kobe made both smush and kwame look half-way decent these couple of years.

    When it comes down to it, i’m still not saying that kobe is the greatest of all time, not until he proves it with more wins and championships, but thus far, he has accomplished and done so much.  He is the only player in the past few years that caused so much stir in the league with his phenomenal performances.  In 3 Laker championships, Kobe was the go-to-guy in crunch time…he was the scorer and playmaker.  Just to cite a few:  the famous alley-opp to shaq in game 7 against portland, delivering in OT against the pacers when shaq fouled out, the countless ownage against the Spurs during those grueling (who else can say that they dunked on tim duncan and david robinson in the same playoff game?) playoff series, heck, before fisher made the infamous miracle ".4" shot after duncan’s beat-the-buzzer 20-feet bank shot, Kobe was the one that made the clutch jumper to give the lakers the lead in the first place, and one of the greatest of all, when he won the pacific division for payton/malone lakers with 2 impossible/clutch/crazy 3 pointers in that final game of the season.   As for for past few years, true, he has yet to win a playoff series, but being a fan that watched every game for those "smush years," kobe did everything he could get his team to the playoffs.  Now, as for Lebron, I’ll give him his props that he got them to the finals last year, but c’mon, the first series was a giveme against washington with no arenas and butler…As for the detriot series, he earned them that one for sure, but all in all, he did choke against Spurs and for those he argued that Kobe couldn’t have done any better against the Spurs, the Lakers were one shot away in OT from sweeping the season series from them that year, and they were the only team that had a winning record against the spurs (kobe averaged 33 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists, 55.1% shooting) whereas cleveland was 0-2 against the phoenix.  I know we can sit here and argue performances and pro/cons forever, but, that’s not my main point…I’m just protesting the lameness of when Lebron does something great and then haters start comparing it to kobe in a negative way, yet they fail realize that kobe has done it already against even more superior teams (kings, spurs, and wolves of the early decade) and that since lebron is so still new, all of kobe’s past achievements gets lost in the shuffle.

    So it seems like no matter what kobe does/doesn’t do, that the good is always weighed so lightly and almost insignicant, whereas the bad is always emphassized exponentially.  Like kobe has to win every game shooting almost perfect from the field, with 30+ points, 10+ rebounds, 10+ assists, guarding all 5 of the opposing teams players while ensuring that his teamates make all their shots to get an ounce of respect.  He is given almost impossible expectations to succeed whereaas every one of lebron’s accomplishtments, no matter how big or small is considered bar-none.  Whether he leads an awful team to the playoffs or a great team, he still gets no respect.

    Again, lebron is having a crazy year, but given what kobe has done consistently for the past decade, please just give him his props yo.  I know he’s not the coolest friend to hang out with, but i dont’ judge him based on my ability to hang out, chit chat, and pound beers with him, but on his performances on the bball court, so please stop using the rape case, the bad teamate ploy, it shouldn’t even be mentioned at all.

    My basic point is, if lebron should win MVP this year, kobe is owed 2 MVPs from last year and the year before…

    p.s.  one evidence of lebron having the "key to the city" theory, for his first playoff series with the wizards 2 years ago, the refs gave him a game winning shot on a blatant travel.  Yet that same playoff year with Kobe, game 1 of phoenix, during a one possession game with under a minute to go, he gets mauled by Tim Thomas during a reverse layup with no foul called (evident by the knott on his forehead after the game)…of course, lebron succeeds with advantages while kobe fails with all odds against him…

    KOBE = MVP

  40. Ethan B says...March 1, 2008 1:26 pm

    oh yeah, did anyone notice how flagrant ESPN is trying to promote lebron’s youngest to reach 10000 point achievement?

    Yet when kobe was youngest to reach 20,000 this year, it was just a good mention on the show and website, with no custom ESPN homage as compared to Lebron’s…so lame.

  41. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 2:47 pm

    @Ethan B,

    I do believe that I have nothing to add, with regards to the specific topics you’ve addressed. Well said, all-in-all.

    Furthermore, I’m impressed with your memory. Particularly your ability to remember specific events, possessions, shots, etc., along with their contexts (dates, opponents, situations, etc.) — for my part, there have been so many great moments, that they can sometimes run together in my head. Too many to keep track of. So you either know of some really great resources, or you’ve got a fantastic memory for events.

    Props to you.

    Oh, and yes, I am right with you on the LeBron tribute. The stark difference between how LeBron’s youngest-to-10,000-points achievement and Kobe’s youngest-to-20,000-points achievement were treated is a perfect microcosm of the overall favoritism given to LeBron. In fact, I believe one of the most common remarks when Kobe hit 20,000 was, “Yes, BUT…” You know — others did it in fewer games, etc. The same is true for LeBron, but you don’t really hear anyone mentioning it.

    Okay, so I did have a little something to say, after all. Can’t help it.

  42. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 3:14 pm

    @khandor,

    I must admit that it took me probably four reads to figure out what you’re saying here. Here’s what I think I’ve understood:

    You’re saying that meaning of a word is not solely determined by its context any more so than it is by its etymology and morphology (etymology being its history, morphology being its components). That is true to a limited extent.

    The meaning of a word usually does not simply come into existence out of thin air. There usually is a reason that it comes to be. For example, let’s look at a fairly recently invented word: The verb to google.

    To google means “to search for on the internet, using a search engine” — most commonly, Google’s search engine. This comes from the dominance of Google in the search engine industry. Because most people use Google when searching, they calling it “googling.” Thus, the etymology of the word — its history — has a certain reason to it.

    On the other hand, the morphology of the word does very little for us. Google, the company, is named after a googol — which is a mathematical term, meaning the number one, followed by one hundred zeros. Presumably — and this is no more than a good guess — the reason for taking that name would be that, hyperbolically speaking (i.e., deliberately exaggerating for effect), that is the number of results Google can return on your search query. Or something along those lines.

    While that morphology does have a clear tie to the reason Google chose the name, it has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the meaning of the word as a verb. There is nothing about the number of one googol — or any other number, for that matter — that has anything to do with performing an internet search, or really any kind of search.

    Nonetheless, a word does not generally come to have meaning apart from its etymology. It is usually from its etymology that it derives its meaning. Sticking with to google, think of it this way. It’s not like we can just say, I need a word for “to search on the internet” — how about to snargle? Good, “to snargle” now means to search on the internet. Okay, so we could try and do that, but that’s rarely how language works. A word usually takes on a meaning for a certain reason. Thus, its etymology gives it meaning. To google got its meaning from the search engine.

    However, I would suggest that etymology (the origin of the word) is much more useful in understanding a word’s history — but still not very useful in understanding a word’s current meaning. It can be used to understand how a word came to have its current meaning, in the current context, but it is still not the etymology or morphology that determines its meaning. The context still always determines the meaning of the word — at that point, it can be an interesting study to look at its etymological roots and its morphology to understand what the word originally meant, and how it came to have its current meaning.

    This is not, however, a hard and fast rule. Take the word cool. Literally, and traditionally, it meant “low in temperature.” But recently — and, by all appearances, completely randomly and arbitrarily — it has come to mean “hip” or “chill” — that is, popular, fashionable, likable, etc. In fact, even the words I used to describe the word cool are apparently arbitrary. A hip is a joint, and chill also refers to temperature. The current meaning of these words has absolutely nothing to do with their etymological and morphological roots, whatsoever. And while these types of words, which lack the historical context of any etymological or morphological relationship whatsoever, are more the exception than the rule, they only serve to reinforce the idea that it is context, not etymology or morphology, that defines a word.

    Think of it this way: As “cool” and “hip” have shown us, a word can have meaning without any etymological or morphological roots or connections. However, a word cannot have meaning without context. Period.

    The point is, there is usually an etymological reason for using a word. Even if that doesn’t have any impact on its current meaning, it is still significant. But it is still the context, and always the context, that determines its current meaning.

    Most of this, of course, is fairly unrelated to the present discussion. But I’ll bring it full circle: This should show, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that one cannot simply argue a different definition of the term MVP than the one the voters currently use, and have for 25 years, simply by pointing out that the term contains the words “most” and “valuable.”

    Thanks and credit to my dad for sharing his linguistic insights, as always.

  43. Misareaux says...March 1, 2008 3:28 pm

    I guess I spend too much of my spare time thinking about Kobe and Lebron. I really don’t think the league and the general fan base was ready for a talent like Kobe when he entered the league. Everyone has heard it before, especially if you’ve read ‘The Show’ (required reading if you’re a Laker fan I think). Kobe came in with freakish self-confidence in his ability to play, and he didn’t hide it either. It was off-putting for many fans and players, even on his own team. By the time Lebron came around, whether he himself understood the NBA business better or his marketing/handling team was better, he said and did all the right things. Meanwhile, when NBA fans were presented with Kobe, someone who stated his goal so clearly, ‘I want to be the best,’  he was unjustly vilified because he didn’t hide his intentions and present a facade of humility.

    With Kobe being the first guard to jump directly to the NBA, and come in with many thought to be a scum sense of entitlement  (only confidence in his ability to ball), it’s not surprising people have latched onto Lebron so quickly and strongly even though his achievements on the court are only starting to compare to the all-time greats he seemingly has already been enshrined with.

    As for the ESPN thing; you don’t think the league, ESPN, and basically every big company that has its hand in the NBA, soon going global, endorsement/ad revenue pie sees the advantages to having the one-megastar (think The One Ring) that is completely bland off-court, able to be defined only by the contracts he signs and the people he associates with instead of who he is. Jay-Z is the biggest sell-out that really never was hated for it. I don’t understand how he gets away with it but Dre didn’t. Take a look at the Brooklyn Yards project to get an idea of how he’s helping developers take advantage of a community that adores him.

    It’s also no secret the NBA head office wants to change the way they are represented in the eyes of the general fanbase from a ‘bunch of thugs’ to a sanitized coporation-defined personality, which seems to be working so well for all other aspects of our culture the past few years. Lebron is the perfect counterpoint to guys like AI (thug!) and Kobe(prick!) that were defined by their game and their intensity on the court, so much so that many casual fans cannot identify with their desire to dominate even though their ability on court thrust them into the national spotlight regardless of whether the league wanted it or not. Lebron is just as driven, but in a more subtle way that most people don’t realize or understand. His desire to be the first billionaire athlete has been well-documented. I dislike Lebron on the grounds of him being in the business of being a cultural icon first, athlete second. His play on the court is a completely different argument, especially since you could draw and write about all the different parallels between his personality and how it is expressed on the court and through his team. It’s obvious the rest of the Cavs are just extensions of him on the court. Their game is Lebron-ball, though people have hated on Kobe-ball (which might be translated as making a sucky team not suck…much) since day one.

  44. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 3:29 pm

    @khandor,

    One more thought. Let’s stick with the word “cool” for just a little bit longer.

    Let’s say that at my work, they decide to have a competition to see who’s coolest. Everybody votes, and the person who gets the most votes is obviously thought by the group to be the coolest.

    Now, let’s say I am constantly cold. I prefer warm weather, and when it’s cooler, I have a hard time staying warm. In the office, they tend to keep it cooler than I prefer. As a result, I am virtually always cold while everyone else is perfectly comfortable. (By the way, all of this is actually true.)

    Unfortunately, I’ve never been “the cool kid in class.” People like me pretty well, but I’ll never win the popularity contest. So since I obviously don’t fit the criteria they’re all using in voting for the coolest person, should I try to argue that “cool” really means “low in temperature”? That using it to mean hip, trendy, and popular is actually a misnomer, and has nothing to do with the actual word? Therefore, according to the strict literal definition of the award, I’m the coolest!

    Think I’d win? Of course not. It’s crazy talk.

    But that’s what LeBron James fans are trying to do. Despite the fact that the term “MVP” currently has multiple possible connotations in our society / culture — in some circumstances it means “the person whose team would suffer the most without him,” in others it has additional stipulations — it is clear that in this case it does not carry the original, literal meaning. So they’re arguing to a meaning that does not fit the context in any way, in order to bend the rules to fit their desired result.

    They’re arguing to try and determine the “coolest person” award based on body temperature. It’s really quite ridiculous.

  45. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 3:33 pm

    @Misareaux,

    Fascinating stuff. I will have to mull on this for a while.

  46. randomfan says...March 1, 2008 5:14 pm

    misareux:

    very good point. i would also like to add that the world was also not ready for a true successor to jordan. sure, the ostensible public desire was to search for the "air apparent", but in reality their mindset was not prepared to accept it yet, primarily because i believe they were not expecting such a successor to appear so soon as kobe did.

    i truly believe kobe’s tumultuous career (at least through the lens of the public) is due to the influences of this prevailing zeit-geist during the era  kobe entered the nba. not only was the public unprepared to accept a successor (contrary to their professed wishes), but this misguided and obsessive search for jordan’s heir also hurt a myriad of other talented players who initially appeared to be able to follow in jordan’s footsteps; by being test cases, these people were unfairly overlooked as being unique players in themselves rather than merely being a potential template. (of all the many crowned as the next Jordan in the past decade, it is curious to note that kobe is the only one who has survived such scrutiny and expectation. i don’t presume to say he IS the next jordan purely from this fact, but it does reveal some sense of inherent greatness in kobe himself, unlike the others who crumbled under it or could not play due to unfortunate injuries, that indicates he could/should have been an entity unto himself.) Now, one might say, “well, it wasn’t the public who imposed Jordan on kobe, but rather kobe himself who consciously emulated jordan’s persona.” That is true, but it still reinforces my point, because kobe grew up in a time that wanted people to “be like mike”, so kobe was still in part a product of the same public mentality. It isn’t far fetched to believe that if lebron were a rookie back in 96 subjected to the same zeit-geist, then he would have experienced similar public antipathy kobe experienced (you can’t say “no, lebron wouldn’t have because he has a ‘better’ personality than kobe” because lebron’s “impeccable” persona is constructed from watching what happened to kobe, hence has had the luxury to avoid the same “mistakes” kobe made- just like wade benefited from watching kobe’s experience with shaq, but that’s another story.)   all in all, time is what put things into perspective. i actually predicted last year that there would arrive a time when this Jordan-paradigm would shift, and it is now actually happening because the media is understanding the effects of  that infectious era of trying to fill Jordan’s void. Don’t believe me? take a look at wade and lebron’s recent ad slogan (it’s to the effect of “you don’t want to be me- you want to be better than me”. Starkly different from the “be like mike” ads, huh?)   lastly, I want to mention that the birth of the internet, and hence instantaneous and universal media, has allowed kobe’s career to be more scrutinizable than jordan’s. this technological revolution has made the already capricious and impressionable opinions of people more overt and easily compelling to others than in the past. all this partially explains the chaotic nature of kobe’s career. I mean, you can even start by taking a look at this very website! (albeit this is a very respectable and intelligent one, unlike the infinite pool of poorly written articles or comments posted everywhere on the internet)

  47. Misareaux says...March 1, 2008 5:54 pm

    So that last comment was missing a few sentences, but in a nutshell, Lebron’s and Jay-Z friendship disturbs me, on account of the Atlantic Yard project, and the already obvious cap space clearing by the Net’s for 2010, though the same could be said of many teams in the league for that particular year.  Their cultural influence obscures many of the negatives of the situation, and potential negatives of their (maybe just Lebron’s?)  growing influence in/over the league.  

  48. Ethan B says...March 1, 2008 6:43 pm

    @Josh

    thanks!

    i knew i couldn’t have been the only one to see ESPN’s biasness on this one.

    but true, i do remember a lot about Kobe’s career…trust me, I love the game and appreciate all great players, but Kobe is the only bballer that i’ve seen through out the last 10 years to do the things he’s done…I used to love Iverson even when he was in College for his one-of-kind cross over and penetration abilities, but when i started noticing Kobe’s game, no other player compares…He’s the only player that i can’t think of that when he pulls off a dazzling move, you literally just shake your head in disbelief (only other player is MJ of course).  It’s always the "Wow" & "Oh my god" factor with Kobe that made me appreciate his game.  I mean Lebron has done some crazy stuff, but it’s more power dunks and domination of phsyical abilities, but when Kobe delivers a move, it just seems so graceful and precise…that’s just my opinion i guess…

    anywho, kudos again on the site dude.  You’ve seemingly debated your case with well thoughtout words and arguments.  I especially agree (and have been preaching to my friends) about Lebron’s and kobe’s assists total in game and team context.  The cav’s offense runs through lebron, so he handles the ball more which enables more assists for him individual…the lakers run the triangle which is a more distributed offense, and although lebron averages more assist than Kobe, his team is only 16th or 17th in the league in team assist and whereas the lakers are 3rd.  Yet, not to diminish Lebron’s assisting attribute, it’s merely pointing out that lebron advocates/kobe haters want to use kobe’s assist total as compared to lebron as negative, then the other could be said about Lebron’s dominance of the ball which hinders the cavs offensive efficiency and possible reason why they’re only 8 games over the .500 mark and lakers are 23 games over the .500 mark.  Furthermore, if haters want to argue that lebron’s teamates is the reason for poor offense, i believe last year, lakers were 5th in league scoring and cavs were 19th and this was the same squad that went to the finals.  So the reality is, whether it’s a high scoring team or not, whether lebron averages more assist than kobe or not, it comes down to the team’s style of play that dictates that stat.  So haters please understand that stop using that stat line to attack kobe’s game. 

    Another point, I hate how people try to use the last cavs vs. lakers game as the end-all discussion that lebron is better than kobe or when they use one game incidents to decide everything…it was one game and if haters want to keep bringing that up, then i guess its equally fair to say that Mo Williams is better than lebron since that last game where Michael Redd won it at the buzzer, Williams had more points, more rebounds, and same number of assist as lebron?  So is that a fair argument?  Likewise, Carmelo Anthony and denver has owned leborn and the cavs for the past few years, so is carmelo better than lebron?  Lastly, The Knicks blew out the Cavs with Lebron playing @ 100%, so what does that imply?  Nothing!   One game incidents can only be accounted for so much, but it does not decide who’s better.  My last example, Kobe scored 55 points (in 3 quarters) and blew out MJ and his wizards the last time they were on the same court, so what does that mean?  again, nothing!

    Lastly, it gets so annoying when haters use lebrons last 51 point game to compare to kobe as saying kobe can’t score with that much efficiency as Lebron could.   Do you know how many games kobe scored 50+ points in only 3 quarters while shooting sometimes over 70%? And the only reason why Kobe hasn’t had more 60+ or even 80+ more games is because in those contests, he had created such a big lead that he didn’t have to come back in the 4th quarter.  Prime example, last year against Utah, he scored 52 points (9 for 9 fieldgoals + 10/10 freethrows in the 3rd quarter alone, and 11 straight made shots overall) in just 3 quarters and essentially blew out the Jazz before the start of the 4th and mind you, AK47 was guarding him the whole time.

    So again, anything that Lebron is doing now, in terms of individual performance, Kobe has done it many times over.

    keep up the good work Josh!

    anyways,

  49. Ethan B says...March 1, 2008 7:01 pm

    @randomfan

    wow, spoken like poetic analyst…you and Misareaux have articulated great rational thought to the overall dicotamy of perception on kobe’s image and position in the league and media. 

    In a nutshell, it seems like kobe will always be the blacksheep of the NBA while Lebron will become/remain the golden child of the League.

    again, fabulous comments…kudos to you all.

  50. khandor says...March 1, 2008 7:24 pm

    josh,

    you did a nice JOb with tHat request. No doubt, it caN be A burden to always have to think in Such a lucid manner. HoweveR, from my perspective, it Always hiTs me like a breatH of ‘cool’ frEsh aiR when i encounTer someone with tHe clArity of miNd to expreSs ThemselVEs succintly and decipher messages of underlying truth … whether ABout kobE, Apollo, Ulysses, Thor, spIderman, Federer, rUth, russeLl, Mays, secretarIat, robert gordoN orr t-wooDs.

    in my book, the history of a Word and the contExt of its use are iNextricably linked tO iTs MEaning.

    good hunting to alli
    :-)

    ps. let me know if, this time, it takes you more than 4 read throughs.

  51. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 8:43 pm

    @randomfan,

    Wow! Truly profound analysis, my friend. I am thoroughly impressed.

    I have alluded to some of what you mention regarding the fact that Kobe arrived at a time when people were not yet ready for a challenger to Jordan’s greatness, in an early article entitled Kobe Bryant: Better Teammate Than MJ?. However, as it did not fit the context of the article, I did not post my full thoughts on that particular matter.

    Let me put it to you this way: People hate Kobe for the exact same reason that they love LeBron. What is that reason? In both cases, it is that Kobe showed up too soon after Michael.

    As I mention in that article, Kobe has done wonders for Jordan’s image. Jordan was the greatest — Kobe made him perfect, flawless. People simply weren’t ready for a successor, for the idea that there could potentially be someone that might one day be better and greater than Jordan. Because of this, it was necessary for them to find whatever reason they could to dismiss him — be that reason a valid one or not. Almost without exception, such “reasons” never were valid ones. But what’s important is that they were made to be believable enough that they stuck — believable enough that they accomplished their purpose, giving people the ability to dismiss Kobe and return to the comfort of their Jordan-centric world.

    What makes this even more interesting is that it is the exact same reason that, in my opinion, has resulted in the premature exultation of LeBron James, and the desire to place him on such a high pedestal. The reason many people are so eager to accept and embrace him is that they’re still not ready to accept Kobe — mainly, still, because the fact that Kobe came so soon after Jordan has negatively predisposed them towards him in such a way that they will never get over.

    Because, as it turns out, all of their other attempts to dismiss Kobe have failed. He has prevailed throughout all of it. And so, now, in their final effort to dismiss him, they attempt to dethrone him and replace him with LeBron. So it is, that because they couldn’t accept Kobe so soon after Jordan, they became negatively predisposed towards him and determined to dismiss him in any way possible. And now, it is that same desire to dismiss him, still present because they have failed to do so after all these years, that causes them to embrace LeBron so quickly and strongly, in a last attempt to dismiss Kobe. Thus, it is the timing of Kobe’s arrival on the scene that worked against him; and in a roundabout way, it is now that same poor timing for Kobe, resulting in a stubborn refusal to accept him, which causes people to now embrace LeBron as a way of dismissing Kobe.

    of all the many crowned as the next Jordan in the past decade, it is curious to note that kobe is the only one who has survived such scrutiny and expectation. i don’t presume to say he IS the next jordan purely from this fact, but it does reveal some sense of inherent greatness in kobe himself, unlike the others who crumbled under it or could not play due to unfortunate injuries, that indicates he could/should have been an entity unto himself.

    I believe it was while I was at my dad’s house for a Lakers game recently that he made a similar point, with a subtle difference, bringing up the days when Tracy McGrady was considered to be on Kobe’s level. He pointed out that over the years, there have been many that have been considered, for a bit, better than (or at least as good as) Kobe Bryant, but that every single one of them has faded in time. Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Dwyane Wade, Allen Iverson — perhaps even others that I’m forgetting. Every time, it was either, “Which one of these two is the next Jordan?” or “Which one of these two is the best player in the NBA (world)?” And in every case, time has shown us that the comparison was, in fact, quite silly. There was no comparison between any of these players and Kobe. Each of these players has faded — whether it be because they were unable to handle the pressure of being compared to Jordan, or just because they simply weren’t that good and it took some time for that to become apparent.

    Of al those compared to Jordan, only Kobe has remained. Only Kobe continues to see such comparisons, on a regular basis. Of all those considered to be (potentiall) the best in the NBA, only Kobe has remained. And of all those considered to be as good as or better than Kobe, every single one has faded, and every time it has become clear with time that the comparison was, in fact, either premature or just plain laughable.

    Only Kobe has survived through all that, and remains in those discussions, still the best player in the world, still the closest thing to Jordan we’ve seen since His Airness’s retirement. Will he be considered better and greater than MJ when he finally retires? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. But at this point, it has to say something about him that he is the only one that has remained in this discussion. LeBron James is the most recent addition to the discussion — only time will tell if he belongs there, or if he will fade from this discussion just like every other player except Kobe has.

    Thoroughly enjoyable and very interesting points, randomfan. You really make me think, and often provide insight on a subject that I have thought much on, but from a very different perspective. Thanks for that.

  52. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 9:00 pm

    @khandor,

    You kill me, dude! Haha… you crack me up, man.

    It would seem you’ve left me a code. I think you missed two letters (I filled them in for you, in brackets), but by in large it was easy enough to decipher: JOHN NASH RATHER T[H]AN ST[E]VE BEAUTIFUL MIND. Don’t worry, I was quite a bit quicker this time.

    What does it mean? I have absolutely no idea! So I won’t speculate. You can explain it, if you so desire.

    in my book, the history of a Word and the contExt of its use are iNextricably linked tO iTs MEaning.

    Inextricably tied to its meaning, yes. Equally useful for determining its current meaning, no.

    The history of a word is inextricably tied to its meaning in that it would not have come to have that meaning without said history. It may have gone through a progression of countless semantic shifts (changes or mutations in one of the meanings / usages of the words), to the extent that its current meaning is in hardly related to its original meaning, if at all. But, nonetheless, it could not have gone through that progression of semantic changes to finally come to its present meaning without having first started somewhere. Thus, a word’s current meaning is forever tied to its history.

    However, the current meaning of a word cannot be determined by looking at its history — particularly in cases where the word has gone through a large number of those semantic shifts over the course of time — that is, the word has constantly and repeatedly evolved. At this point, it is so different from its original meaning that its origin cannot tell us its current meaning. Nonetheless, it could not have arrived at this present meaning separate from its origin.

    Thus, a word’s meaning is inextricably tied to both its etymology (origin / history — and therefore also its morphology (component parts)) and its context. It is its origin / history that gives a word the ability to have meaning whatsoever. It is its context — and only its context — which determines what its current meaning actually is.

  53. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 9:08 pm

    @Ethan B,

    With you 100% on that, Ethan.

    Misareaux and randomfan, your contributions to this topic have been truly profound and very relevant. I am certain that I will be quoting one or both of you at some point in the future. When that will be, and how, I have not yet determined. Much of what you both have said really needs to soak in for a while before I can really fully grasp it, let alone determine how it fits into the purpose of this site. (And considering that I’m usually pretty quick, particularly from a conceptual stand point, that is really saying something.)

    So don’t be surprised if one day you see your “names” and some of your ideas quoted in a future article.

  54. Ethan B says...March 1, 2008 9:10 pm

    man, i love it.  Such a great point…throughout the years, everyone has been compared to kobe and yet none of these players ever lived up to the hype…and how funny that ESPN was so quick to annoint DWade the title of kobe-surpasser with articles defaming Kobe and glorifying DWade, that now those same discussions/comparisions have swiftly faded as did the Miami Heat.  The sad part of the comparison, DWade can’t even shot the 3 ball, my god, but i digress.  Kobe is the only player that has been continously compared to and debated about for the past decade and he’s still making headlines today…I’m so glad you guys made it even more clear for me now, why Kobe’s aura has been so prevalent for this long.

  55. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 9:15 pm

    @Ethan B,

    Damn, there you go with that memory again! If you don’t mind it, a day may come when I choose to use you as a consultant. Your ability to remember the specifics of games, events, and accomplishments that run together in my mind (because there are so many of them!) is truly remarkable.

    All of these are excellent examples. I will add nothing to them — there is no need. They speak for themselves.

  56. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 9:18 pm

    @Misareaux,

    So that last comment was missing a few sentences, but in a nutshell…

    Could you do me a favor? I believe this has happened to you at least once before, hasn’t it?

    I know this is a bit annoying, but could you copy out your comments into a text file and save it until you have confirmed that it went through properly? Then, if it doesn’t, you can save the text file and email it to me, and I can compare it to the source of your comment to attempt to determine what happened (and possibly restore it).

    Since I am not only author but webmaster of this site, I’d appreciate it if you’d be willing to do that, and help me determine if this is a one-time fluke, or something that happens more often that I should address.

    Thanks!

    P.S. Any chance the name you’ve chosen has French roots? I am fluent in French, and Misareaux really sounds like a French word or name.

  57. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 9:31 pm

    @Ethan B,

    Hmm, yes, quite. But how about this:

    The sad part of the comparison, DWade can’t even shot the 3 ball, my god, but i digress.

    Do you know of NBA’s Hot Spots? Look up LeBron. So much for the talk of his improved jumper. In fact, if you compare it to his Hot Spots chart from last year, his jumpshot — not only his 3-point shot, but even his mid-range shot — has gotten worse this year.

  58. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 9:34 pm

    @randomfan,

    Like Misareaux, could you also do me a similar favor? I notice that this is the second time that the following has showed up in one of your comments:

    In fact, I think each time it showed up twice in your comment.

    So, if you could copy what you write into a text file, and then once you comment, make sure everything looks right. If it doesn’t, save the text file and email it to me. I’ll try and figure out what that is.

    Thanks!

  59. Ethan B says...March 1, 2008 9:45 pm

    will lookup hotspots.

    as for the memory, i was fortunate to be at that utah game and believe me, it was the most amazing game (minus the suns game this past x-mas) that i ever saw live…lol, the worst game i’ve been to, game 6 of the suns playoff when Suns got the 2-3 rebounds to tie the game with a 3 to send it to OT…i literally almost cried after that game…hahhaha but can’t have success without failure…go lakers!

  60. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 9:51 pm

    @Ethan B,

    You lucky bastard.

  61. randomfan says...March 1, 2008 9:59 pm

    sure josh, i’ll make sure to do that from now on.

  62. Skeptic says...March 1, 2008 10:03 pm

    i love this site.. ialways read your blogs but dont respond because people are ignorant and you respond correctly every time. Kobe is the best and has been the best since 99-2000.. From Vince to TMac the media has tried to dethrone him. He refuses to lose and refuses to let anyone become better then him. See, im from Cleveland (but a die hard Lakers/Kobe fan unbiased) and these Cavs fans are not fans. They werent fans when the Cavs sucked! Now they have Lebron and the media to feed them lies and hype and they want talk stupid. But as soon as theCavs lose these so called fans start talking bad about them or say the refs cheated. Now if Lebron was to leave the Cavs, every one would hate him here and if the Cavs suck, they”d hate them too. Real basketball people here in Cleveland, who have knowledge and know the game unbiased will tell you Kobe is the man. And ive changed peoples minds myself, i justed had them watch Lakers games on my League Pass. Kobe is the best, period!

  63. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 10:15 pm

    @Skeptic,

    i love this site.. ialways read your blogs but dont respond because people are ignorant and you respond correctly every time.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence!

    See, im from Cleveland (but a die hard Lakers/Kobe fan unbiased) and these Cavs fans are not fans. They werent fans when the Cavs sucked!

    Your perspective, being from Cleveland, is very interesting to me, indeed. I always enjoy hearing from a perspective that is beyond my experience.

    You know, I know we Lakers fans have rarely had reason to complain. (Can you imagine being a Suns fan? 40 years, no championships!) The Lakers have really never gone into a true “blow it up and start from scratch” rebuilding mode, and yet they’ve managed to return to a high level of competitiveness time and time again, without an inordinate amount of time in between. For that, we are fortunate. Nonetheless, I know there are a lot of bandwagon fans across the nation, but I have issues with them (though I understand them at the same time). People like you and me have been Lakers fans even when it sucked — even if that’s been a lot less often than for most teams.

    Now, I’m a 49ers fan in football. (I grew up in Fresno area, halfway in between L.A. and S.F. — so you pretty much had to choose between north and south, and many people went one way for one, the other way for the other. The important thing, in my mind, is not why you became a fan — but have you stayed true, even when they sucked, since then.) I still wear my 49ers hat to work, every single day. I don’t think I really have to say anything more than that — you get the picture.

    Now if Lebron was to leave the Cavs, every one would hate him here and if the Cavs suck, they”d hate them too.

    Oh man, now you’re making me curious. I almost want that to happen, just so I can watch Cleveland do a 180! It would be primetime drama, worthy of TNT!

    And ive changed peoples minds myself, i justed had them watch Lakers games on my League Pass.

    It is truly the best way to get people to recognize his greatness. I have found that most haters don’t watch him. And i have begun showing my co-workers footage of him, and telling them about last night’s game, etc. I have one co-worker, big basketball fan and player, huge Michael Jordan fan, big time Kobe hater. Well, not anymore. He is now constantly blown away by Kobe. He is in awe. And he has since admitted to me that the hater mentality was something he adopted from others, based on claims made by others, and that he hadn’t really watched Kobe for a long time.

    It’s really impossible to watch the Lakers play very much and not realize Kobe’s greatness.

    Thanks for weighing in!

  64. Skeptic says...March 1, 2008 10:38 pm

    @The Apologist
    Ive a fan no matter what! And although im a Lakers/Kobe fan, im still a Cavs and been a fan even when they sucked. A Cavs team when they had Terrel Brandon, Chris Mills then to Lamond Murray, Wes Person. Its not till Lebron came that i feel disgusted to be a fan and i really appreciate being part of a loyal Lakers fan base. Lakers fans (most of them) appreciate Kobe but understand its about the Lakers as a team. A nd to bring it back to Kobe, thats the way he thinks and the people and media turn it all around to make Kobe a bad guy. I just dont understand. Also, being in Cleveland, as much as i would hate to see it happen, i would love to see Lebron leave and see how these people get. He doesnt do anything for the poor Cleveland community anyways, and you always hear around here from people who have met or seen him say that he’s an asshole in person. Hows that for the Chosen One!?

  65. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 1, 2008 10:52 pm

    @Skeptic,

    Really? Man, this is very interesting from the perspective of a Cavs fan.

    Totally right about Lakers fans being Lakers first, Kobe second. And Kobe is that way as well. You may have noticed that I’ve pointed out more than once on this site that when he was doing what many considered selfish, it was actually at the behest of his coaches, and it was still just about doing what was necessary for the team, and for the win.

    I mainly just want to see the fallout that would happen if LBJ left Cleveland.

    Regarding his persona — I’m not surprised you’ve heard such things about him. Remember, this is the person whose #1 goal is to become the first billionaire athlete. He’s clearly a me-first person. The thing is that he hides it so well. However, I have always gotten the sense from LeBron that he’s very tailored and rehearsed. Everything he says and does in the public spotlight is meant to project an image that he knows people will embrace. Every action, every public statement, everything seems very cool and calculated. It’s genius, I’ll give him that. But I have never felt like we’re actually seeing the real LeBron.

    Perhaps that’s what I like about Kobe. I think he started out the same way, but he has clearly left that behind. He’s just ball-out, no apologies, pull-no-punches kind of guy, now. And as David Neiman pointed out in a recent article on SportsHubLA, he was willing to risk everything, including his image and the love of the fans, to propel this team to victory. You don’t get the sense that he’s particularly concerned with his image right now, with how people perceive him. And you know what he’s about — winning. And it’s obvious he’ll do whatever it takes to get there, even make some of the biggest personal sacrifices a superstar can make.

  66. Ethan B says...March 2, 2008 12:56 am

    @skeptic

    yeah lebron doesn’t seem that sincere as people make him out to be.  I mean, i don’t know the guy from atom, but everytime i hear his comments on Kobe being the best, it sounds slightly condescending.   My interputation, "yeah, kobe was good, but i’m the king now" and I think he honestly makes those comments to win the "humility" points from the media and fans…to get the "wow he’s that good and humble, while kobe is so stuck up and prideful…we’re with you Lebron!" effect.  However, during a live wire feed, he makes candid remarks during a nationally televised game earlier in the season sitting on the bench,  saying something to the effect of, "it’s time to let me get my MJ on" and "the King is ready, the king is ready."   It’s not verbatim, but very close.  I’m not saying Kobe is saint, but at least with Kobe, he’s more forward about his crude/cold personality and doesn’t act like he’s cool with everyone in the league.  Not that i’m condoning his persona, but you get the feel like he’s all about business and not trying to make friends.  In my opinion, it may be biased too, but Lebron’s persona in front of the camera, reminds me a lot of Shaq, they both play the "i’m homies with everyone" role and use slighted humor to charm and adore the media.  Again, this is just observation and has no reflection on their games, but i tend to appreciate a genuine personality (no matter how riggid it might be) as opposed to a personality that is manufactured to live up to public image.  I guess what I’m ultimately trying to say is, don’t hate kobe for his personality flaws when lebron might not be as humble and gracious as the camera/media displays.

  67. Misareaux says...March 2, 2008 1:43 am

    @Josh

    Thanks for the props and great work with the site. I feel basketball and Kobe is really the only subject I can truly get most of my thoughts out on paper so to speak.

    I actually was posting while I was studying for a ochem midterm so some of what I wanted to write probably got lost in all the information swimming in my head. Any missing words/sentences in my posts are me purely loosing track of what I’m writing while not taking care to proofread.

  68. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 2, 2008 1:49 am

    @Misareaux,

    Ah, I see. Well, then it’s good to know the site isn’t eating your comments.

    Organic chemistry, huh? Impressive. Between your major and the depth of thought you’ve displayed in what was apparently a distracted, scatter-brained effort on here, I’m quite impressed.

  69. Ethan B says...March 2, 2008 1:51 am

    not that i’m trying to be all anti-lebron, but i stumbled on to an interesting site (ihatelebronjames.com), of course the name says it all, but reading some of the quotes and etc, kinda makes you wonder.

    also, did you know about the lebron elbowing chris webber in the face last year in game 1 the cavs/detroit series?  how blatant is it that lebron received no ramifications for it and kobe was suspended on 2 occassions, let along diaw and amoure getting spending for leaving the bench in the spurs/suns series…sooooo lamo!

  70. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 2, 2008 2:05 am

    @Ethan B,

    Forgot about that, but I remember now.

    You know, I was thinking that when I run out of current, relevant articles, I could revisit “ElbowGate.” Go back to past issues. However, I’m wondering if this might not become a more relevant issue — in particular because “the Chosen One” has gotten away with two similar events. You remember the other one? If I remember right, it was within the week after either the first or the second of Kobe’s elbows that resulted in suspensions.

    Between the two, it’s just one more example of the special treatment LeBron receives. Or the negative treatment Kobe receives. Or both.

  71. khandor says...March 2, 2008 7:27 am

    josh,

    the original message should have read as follows:

    ———————————————————————————-

    you did a nice JOb with tHat request. No doubt, it caN be A burden to always have to think in Such a lucid manner. HoweveR, from my perspective, it Always hiTs me like a breatH of ‘cool’ frEsh aiR when i encounTer someone with tHe clArity of miNd to expreSs ThEmselVEs succIntly and decipher meSsAges of underlying truth … whether aBout kobE, Apollo, Ulysses, Thor, spIderman, Federer, rUth, russeLl, Mays, secretarIat, robert gordoN orr t-wooDs.

    in my book, the history of a Word and the contExt of its use are iNextricably linked tO iTs MEaning.good hunting to alli

    ———————————————————————————-

    which is my (naive) attempt to tie together …

    a mind which functions (beautifully?), like yours 
    hoops
    Truth
    KG
    the Brotherhood
    Orville Wright
    and the greatest
    of … a l l  t i m e
    We not me.

    PS. IMO, adding in a way for contributors to edit their original comments, after submission, would be a boon for blogs.

  72. khandor says...March 2, 2008 7:54 am

    re:
    ———————————————————————————-
    However, the current meaning of a word cannot be determined by looking at its history — particularly in cases where the word has gone through a large number of those semantic shifts over the course of time — that is, the word has constantly and repeatedly evolved. At this point, it is so different from its original meaning that its origin cannot tell us its current meaning. Nonetheless, it could not have arrived at this present meaning separate from its origin.
    ———————————————————————————-

    Like the not so simple word ‘bad’ … e.g. from the seminal scene in Glory Road.

    Although it’s a very, very subtle difference … in my book, even something as specific as, understanding properly, "the current meaning of a word", in its context, is/can be enhanced … if one also takes the time to explore the sometimes convoluted history of that word and how it can (and does?) effect its meaning in the present context.

    bad is good is bad is good … etc.

    PS. Methinks that you and I, fundamentally, agree about a lot of things … e.g. the intrinsic value of ‘the Triangle‘. :-)

  73. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 2, 2008 12:02 pm

    @khandor,

    Although it’s a very, very subtle difference … in my book, even something as specific as, understanding properly, "the current meaning of a word", in its context, is/can be enhanced … if one also takes the time to explore the sometimes convoluted history of that word and how it can (and does?) effect its meaning in the present context.

    By and large, I agree with you. I think what you’re saying is that it can help you to understand some of the subtle nuances of a word to look at its history, and how it came to have its current meaning. It’s not very different from what many say about why history is valuable — that we can best understand who we are by leaning about who we were and where we came from.

    In this case, I would differentiate between knowledge and understanding. In the example above, I know who I am without necessary understanding much about the past. But I can much better understand who I am but understanding where I come from. It helps me to understand why I am how I am.

    It’s the same with a word. I don’t think understanding a word’s history does much to help you know what it means. But it can really help you understand how it came to mean that, and why. Which, of course, may provide some additional insight — more by understanding what it is not, than what it is.

    This is still not a steadfast rule, however. There are a number of words that make a complete jump in meaning, for which that words history is not useful in understanding its current usage. “Cool” is one of these words. Because it has no ties to its original meaning — that it, unlike most words that arrived at their present meaning by a progression of subtle, minor semantic shifts, “cool” did not; rather, it simply developed a new meaning, arbitrarily, that was completely unrelated to any previous meaning — the original meaning cannot help us understand it.

    Let me illustrate how a word’s history might help us to understand it better. Look at the word “chair” — what does it mean? Well, it’s a piece of furniture on which we sit, right? Wrong. It’s a person who leads a meeting. Okay, in reality, it’s both of these, and that depends entirely on its context. When, in context, it is the latter, it is the context that gives it meaning. It is the context of the word that allows us to know that we do not mean a piece of furniture, but a person.

    However, we can have a better understanding of why we’re using that word by looking at its history. Certainly, it must initially been related to the chair that the person who led the meeting sat in. Eventually, the role became associated with the location — the chair. Over time, it progressed such that one could eventually just use the term “to chair” to mean to lead the meeting, and “the chair(person)” to mean the person doing so.

    It is still the context that determines this word’s meaning — that it means a person who leads, not an object that is sat upon — but knowing its history can help us to understandthe nuances of the word’s meaning, how it came to have that meaning, and why we use it.

    Nonetheless, I would say that understanding why the word has that meaning in that context, and how it came to have that meaning, can add to our understanding, but is not really necessary for our understanding. As my dad would say, most speakers of a language do not know why they speak as they do. They do know understand why they form sentences as they do, or why the words they use have meaning. Yet, clearly they understand the meaning of the word. Clearly, then, it is not necessary to understand the history of a language, or such things as why a certain word is used, to actually understand the language itself, and the meaning of the word in question. Certainly, the person who does understand these things has an opportunity for deeper a appreciation. However, to understand what another person is trying to communicate, a knowledge of the word’s history, or an explicit understanding of how the language works, is not necessary.

    That is why a word’s meaning is primarily determined by context. Nonetheless, a person can better appreciate how and why it carries that meaning by having an understanding of its history, and how it fits into its context.

  74. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 2, 2008 12:03 pm

    @khandor,

    I will work on a way to allow you to edit your own comments. I’m sure there must be a way that I can implement that functionality.

  75. Just Testing says...March 2, 2008 12:34 pm

    I’m trying to implement a function that will allow you to edit your own comments. This is a test comment to see if it works.

    UPDATE: Tried a plugin I found. Didn’t like it. So far, no go. But I’m sure I’ll find something.

  76. Skeptic says...March 2, 2008 6:56 pm

    @The Apologist

    "However, I’m wondering if this might not become a more relevant issue — in particular because “the Chosen One” has gotten away with two similar events. You remember the other one? If I remember right, it was within the week after either the first or the second of Kobe’s elbows that resulted in suspensions."

    I know which one your talking about. Its when Lebron came across DWade’s neck and almost took his head off. No suspension or fine on that play, all that was called was a flagarent 1.

  77. Willie Montgomery says...March 2, 2008 7:52 pm

    Kobe has been “hated on” since early in his career. Most of it has been undeserved. The hate really started to show at Kobe’s first all-star appearance. Kobe was stealing the show from MJ in the first half with amazing plays like behind the back, rap-around passes to himself for the score. Kobe also had the audacity to try to D-up MJ one on one by waving the help defense off at one point in that game. Instead of applauding Kobe’s heart players and others took offense to it….thinking he was being disrespectful to the great MJ. Well, Kobe was sat on the bench in the 2nd half when he was clearly on his way to a show stopping MVP performance. The Kobe “hate” has piled up ever since.

    Shaq was more of the problem in L.A. Kobe sacrificed his game from day one in L.A. Shaq got to play his game early on, Kobe did not. Kobe is not a “Robin” type of player as Pippen was to MJ. Kobe is a leading man. A Batman type, yet he played Robin to Shaq for years. With skills Kobe could have led the NBA in scoring years ago, no problem, but sacrificed. When it finally came time for Shaq to step back some he would not as he did for D- Wade. Shaq is overrated and has underachieved imo. A player can still be great, yet overrated. Shaq calls himself the “most dominant…” yet he does not have 1 rebounding title! His highest rb average is 13.9, achieved in his rookie season! Shaq has never led the league in blocked shots. If you are the self proclaimed biggest, most dominant, most agile big man ever shouldn’t it show up in defense and rebounding as well as scoring? Has Shaq ever developed a go-to move (bol you over and dunk doesn’t count imo)? He has no short jumper, his “hook shot” should more accurately be called a “throw shot”, and he stinks at the line. Yes he’s racked up some good, maybe great (not dominant) numbers but how long have the likes of Olajuwon, Ewing, Robinson and other great, “true” centers been retired? Who has been Shaq’s competition the last several years? The 3 rings in L.A. came against the following centers: Rik Smits(more like a tall small forward), 35 yr. old D. Mutumbo and Todd Maculloch…who???! Also, how many times have Shaq led teams been swept in the playoffs, at least 4! You mean Shaq’s dominance couldn’t get even one of those games! Even little A.I.’s ability got one finals game. Slackquille then goes to Miami and humbles up on a title due to the brilliance of D-Wade, timely shots by G.P. and others and basically the Mavericks just punked out! (sorry Mav’s fans) Shaq didn’t even lead that team in blocks, Alonzo Mourning did and he came off the bench.

    What really irks me about Shaq is when he bragged about “busting up all the past great centers” including Olajuwon! Really? Shaq only out played Olajuwon when he was old. When Olajuwon was in his prime and Shaq was a young buck, Olajuwon embarrassed Shaq. Even Shaq admitted that Olajuwon made him cry for only the 2nd time in his life by the way Dream out played him in a playoff series. Big baby! When considered in their prime there are at least 4-5 centers I would take over Shaq. Most dominant? Please! I don’t blame Kobe for wanting to get away from a jealous, no-work ethic, self promoting player as Shaqclown and get on with the serious business of playing basketball.

    AS far as Lebron goes as compared to Kobe, it’s simply too early to crown Lebron. Kobe has played more than twice as many years as Lebron. Will Lebron still be exploding to the hoop for monster dunks 6 or 7 years from now or will the wear and tear slow him down….????. Will he have a reliable jumper to make up for not getting to the hoop as much…????? Anyone who says they know for sure is just a Nostradumbass (sorry, I missed spelled that!)

    As far as MJ goes, to call Kobe selfish as compared to MJ is ridiculous in light of the fact that MJ was the most selfish, ego driven player to ever play the game. No other player in history is known for using his team as a battering ram against any player who dared to have a good game against him. Nobody took it more personal than MJ. He would make a point of embarrassing that player the next time they played by putting up bigger numbers just to make a selfish point. Whether they won the game or not is irrelevant to the point that many of his exploits were ego driven. The Bulls had a good enough team to win with Pippen getting more of those shots, but MJ’s selfishness would not allow it. It’s also why MJ’s the leader in fga’s since E. Baylor. Kobe isn’t selfish. Kobe is a 2 guard, aka a “shooting guard”. Shooting guards can assist and Kobe does it quite well, but his main job is to shoot/score the basketball and he does that maybe the best ever. He isn’t a point guard or “assisting guard” and shouldn’t be expected to have “point guard like” assist totals.

  78. Willie Montgomery says...March 2, 2008 7:57 pm

    I copied and pasted my last comments from "word" with seperated  paragraphs. The spaces disappeard when submitted them. Sorry, I know it’s hard to read.  

  79. Pipo says...March 2, 2008 8:14 pm

    One thing that I didn’t knew about, because I’m not from the US, was that Kobe was hated by the media. And that’s why I asked you to write a post about the flaws in Kobe game, but today I saw this post and I realised that some guys just hate Kobe because they simply don’t like him(this is really stupid but I think is the real reason behind all that hate). This post was clearly writen by an A) ignorant journalist or a B) Kobe-hater-no-matter-what-he-does-even-if-he-discovers-the-cure-for-cancer

  80. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 2, 2008 10:05 pm

    @Pipo,

    It’s likely the second. I read that article; it’s pretty outrageous. I have to assume that if he wanted to, he’d be able to understand that…

    • Kobe didn’t force Shaq out. Shaq asking for $30M/year, and Buss’s refusal to pay him that, caused Shaq to demand a trade. Buss complied.
    • Kobe didn’t “openly mock” Bynum. He derided management for not trading Bynum. It was in private, not in a public setting (and therefore not “openly”). And his main premise was that Jason Kidd was worth trading Bynum, and therefore management were fools for not doing so. All of which, at the time, was true. (Non one — I repeat, NO ONE — knew that Andrew Bynum would become a monster this year.)
    • Kobe took so many shots in 2005-06 at the direction of his coach — a fact that Jackson has confirmed, more than once.
    • The “horrible season” he refers to was one in which the Lakers won the same number of games the Cavs are on pace for. And I’m sure he thinks LeBron is having a spectacular season.
    • He credits Gasol for helping Kobe win. However, he then makes this statement about LeBron: “With a team of stiffs around him until the Wallace trade, he has kept his team near the top of the Eastern Conference”. So, for LeBron, we don’t count his new teammates because they just arrived, but for Kobe, we act like his new teammate deserves all the credit, even though he, too, just arrived?

    None of these things are secrets. They are all very well documented. This means he is either incompetent, or deliberately chooses to see everything Kobe-related in a negative light. Given the fact that, at one point or another, he has heard all of these things, it’s most likely the latter. He chose to ignore or dismiss them.

    Welcome to the United States, where we deliberately hate the best basketball player in the world.

  81. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 2, 2008 10:10 pm

    @Willie Montgomery,

    All true, all true. Great point about the All Star game in 1998. In fact, Pipo’s article uses that against him. How’s that for coincidence?

    The Shaq stuff is what I’ve been saying for years. And soon enough, I’ll put it into an article.

    Great points about how MJ took it personally when another player had a good game against him, and then made it his job to embarrass that player the next time they met. Talk about selfish, not to mention arrogant.

    Little by little, you and others on here are making some of my future articles easier to write. Haha… Keep it up!

  82. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 2, 2008 10:12 pm

    @Skeptic,

    People said he wasn’t trying to, or that he was just playing the ball. If you watch, you’ll notice that Wade brings the ball down while LeBron still had more than enough time to pull his arm up or back. And even if it was a play on the ball, it was still an unsafe one. If you have to wrap your arm around a person’s neck to make a play on the ball, then it’s a play on the ball that shouldn’t be made. Very unsafe play, should have resulted in a suspension.

  83. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 2, 2008 10:14 pm

    @Willie Montgomery,

    Sorry about that. Don’t know if you really care that much, but if you’d like to let me know where the line breaks should be, I’d be glad to add them.

    I’m working on installing a plugin that will allow you to edit your own comments for a short period of time after you post them. Hopefully, have that up tomorrow.

  84. Ethan B says...March 2, 2008 11:34 pm

    @Pipo

    I read that lame article and seriously, you’re witnessing pure kobe-hater-ism at its best.  I think out of all pro atheletes, kobe is the only one that gets harsh, completely subjective, and negatively bias articles written about him…It also reminds me of chris broussard from ESPN writing a firm, in-your-face article about lebron being a superior permitter player than kobe and wade, where he directly annointed Lebron the best perimeter shooter in the league after the double-OT victory over Detroit in the playoffs last year…mind you, his facts were based on only 1 game, yet he was ready to dismiss Kobe’s proven perimeter play of over 11 years.  So the bulk of it, Kobe gets crucified all the time for any good and bad things, while Lebron gets widely promoted and praised for anything good and gets ignored for anything bad.  So here in the US, kobe is the anti-christ and Lebron is the savior of man-kind.  Welcome to the NBA! 

  85. Ethan B says...March 2, 2008 11:51 pm

    on another note, just a random thought and i’d appreciate anyone’s insight on this, but I think at this point now, it shouldn’t matter if Kobe wins MVP or not.  I think today’s game spoke volumes.  this was a very complete 50+ point game where Kobe picked his spots to score perfectly.  Even though he was hot, he didn’t force shots and even the ones he missed, they were still great shots, mostly interior shots…and if he missed, he made timely passes in the next possession…it was the same thing in Phoenix, he was killing everyone and was red hot with his shot and penetration, but if he missed a one-on-one shot, he came back with the team offense.  Also, I think Mychal Thompson said it best, that when Kobe got that rebound after Lamar missed both FTs towards the end of the 4th, that it solidified his MVP this year.  Today’s game was as literal as it gets with Kobe doing everything to get the Win when his team was struggling.  So I feel like he’s proven to me (and hopefully all basketball fans) thus far that he’s given everything he’s got for the betterment of his team and to win.  Based on all the hating that goes around out there,  I’d say give Lebron the MVP (as much as i know all the sports writers want to) because in my eyes, there’s no award that can prove Kobe’s worth to the NBA.  Plus, it’d be a lot sweeter if he actually brings the title home without the MVP award. it would be a backhand slap to all the haters out there. 

  86. JTbatahk says...March 3, 2008 12:13 am

    Just go the link to your site recently at a forum I frequent. It’s been a pleasure reading your well-written posts about KB.

    I’m an unabashed fan of Kobe, as a basketball player.

    In regards to the belief that Kobe is trashed for the what Lebron is praised for, I believe it goes deeper than the fact that Kobe was so close to MJ, while appearing when MJ was still winning with the Bulls.

    Though the following may seem a little off-base, it pertains to the discussion. I was born overseas, and have lived in many places around the world, before finally returning to LA. Lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Tokyo for a couple years each. I have always brought my love of the Lakers (and a shoutout for Manchester United) with me.
     
    This is second-hand information, but from what I heard from my parents, back in the day respect was a given for political figures, as well as celebrities. The media blatantly avoided taking pictures of F.D.R. in his wheelchair, out of respect for the man and his position as the leader of the free world. Elvis and Marilyn’s drug use were well documented only after their deaths due to overdose. These are facts that I’ve heard or read over and over from the previous generation

    This leads to today’s situation. The society-wide shift towards disbelief and general distrust of leadership and celebrity figures met their culmination with the O.J. trial and the Clinton fiasco. The general populace stopped blindly believing, and became disillusioned with these "role models." It’s a fact that can be seen with the hate for Bill Gates being successful, for Cruise and Spears losing their "sanity", for people wanting, WANTING the USA to fail in Iraq so they can relegate Bush to the trash heap (no matter if you think he’s a good president or not, you shouldn’t root for your own country to fail), rooting for the famous to fall when once you cheered them on.

    For the hatred so many blatantly display towards Kobe, played up by the undiscerning media and, in particular, unqualified sports writers and sportcasters to generate sales and ratings.

    I think Kobe has been affected by this phenomenon more so than being the next MJ, right after MJ.

    I frequently travel due to my family business. Even before the rape trial, though Kobe was the most popular player on the planet (yes, even more so than Yao Ming, where the local passerby interviewed in Shanghai, who knows nothing about basketball, knew that Yao = chinese treasure and Kobe = best). I could ask a taxi driver in Madrid and he would say "Kobe #1". Go to Tokyo, "KB8 Ichiban." 

    Of course, there were "haters". People that were jealous of his success, disliked his MJ-like public persona, hated his media-hyped "selfishness." Successive "Heir Jordans" were brought out to discredit him (Hill, A.I., T-Mac, Carter) and bring down his accomplishments, to no avail. The guy just kept dominating.

    Then came the Colorado debacle. Kobe lost his sponsorships, his carefully cultivated "Next Jordan" image, and almost lost his marriage that was, from most general accounts even by the biased media, a happy one. Many of his "fans" turned on him, hoping he would fall, hoping he’d go to jail.

    Of course, the skank backed down due to proof SHE provided that would go against her claims.

    Kobe then proceeds to make his return to his world of b-ball, 8 to 24, proving that, at least at this point, he may be the 2nd greatest SG to ever play the beautiful game. And what’s scary is, he can still be better, and win even more.

    America was stunned. The guy was unbeatable, coming back stronger than ever, dropping 81 on fools, forcing the biased media trumpeting their new baby in Lebron to basically change the rules in regards to MVP voting. Kobe was robbed twice of his due, plain and simple.

    I believe that’s where the hatred of Kobe comes from, from the general fair-weather fan, to the delusional Lebron lover (I say delusional as there are some LBJ fans that are level-headed, knowledgable fans, rare as that is), to the woman that doesn’t even watch or understand basketball but says "Kobe is slime, I wish he was in jail." America wanted him to fail, but he surpassed the ordeal and, like the article by David Neiman, became stronger for it.

    "AMERICAN haters" hate on Kobe, not just out of jealousy, not just out of fear of him becoming better than MJ, not just for him being better than everyone else (including Lebron), but because he survived that ordeal, and did not fail, and is back, better than ever. The American people wanted him to end up like Vick, but he prevailed. That’s why they hate him, because he didn’t die out. He became something greater.

    A hero that falls, picks himself back up, and becomes a legend.

    Notice I say American, because, throughout the world, Kobe is considered the best alive, possibly as good, or better, than MJ. This is primarily an AMERICAN phenomenon.

    This I know for a fact. The only discussion I hear in regards to b-ball, at clubs in Hong Kong, coffeeshops in London, bars in Shanghai and Sydney and Tokyo, is "who’s better, MJ or KB?", not ridiculous assertions that LBJ = or is > than KB24. LBJ isn’t even in the discussion. Most overseas fans I’ve talked to regard him as a somewhat glorified Vince Carter (aka a dunker), which even I, as a die-hard Kobe fan, believe he’s better than that. Most prefer D-Wade, Dirk, Duncan, KG, and of course T-Mac and Yao.

    (As a side-note, even though China is much wealthier now, limited internet access and price, and lack of voting options in chinese prevent many fans of Yao and T-Mac for voting for them, in regards to the ASG. Only the most hardcore NBA fans there really vote on nba.com. However, polls in China, mainly Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong, show that IF you could vote, or knew how to vote, the #1 voted for player, even ahead of Yao, is KB24. By far).

    Some of my b-ball crazed childhood friends from Hong Kong literally wept when they saw the news about Kobe in Colorado, and feared that the American public’s general attitude and joy in seeing "the great one fall" would get Kobe in jail and deny us one of the greatest talents to ever play the game.

    So, in a sense, this haterade of Kobe, forced on us by ESPN and other "unbiased" sports telecasters, is mainly a phenomenon in the States.

    Around the world, Kobe gets mad love.

  87. randomfan says...March 3, 2008 12:49 am

    JT:

    very interesting comments! i did hear that kobe gets more love by the international fans than by his own country men (how sad). i think your insights explain in more detail what i mentioned earlier how the rise of the internet allowed such fair-weather fans gain so much vocal power to sway other potential fair-weather fans. even a decade ago, all the general public mainly had was the newspaper and tv, through which primarily journalists or news-people spread the news (although that still doesn’t preclude that they were biased relative to today’s media either); the point is that the general public had no power in regularly contributing to the media. only with the birth of the internet, and in particular forums/blogs/etc, could ordinary people like you and me put forth any opinion they saw fit. and just as easily as these people could post things on the internet, they could also find and read these information in an instant. welcome to the interactive mass media, where both the intelligent and dense can put their 2cents worth on the web. the worst part of this is that because the information out there is created by ordinary people, it rarely carries any reliability, objectivity, or credibility, but most people do not realize this and soak up bad information before actually verifying facts (or even if they do, when it comes to matters they care about, they may be too overcome by emotion before rationality to judge things carefully). human beings are very impressionable, and the internet has made it ever easier to affect it, for better or worse.

  88. randomfan says...March 3, 2008 1:17 am

    JT:

    just adding a few more words, i think there were two phases of hatred geared towards kobe: pre colorado and post. i don’t think the kobe-hate necessarily stemmed from his post-colorado-rebirth you referred to. before colorado, there were people who disliked kobe for his arrogance, aloofness, and potential, but it wasn’t so malicious; it wasn’t like they were trying to bring him down, but rather it was a simple expression of "man, i hate him". after colorado, i think that turned for the worse. like you said, people wanted to see him fail because they believed he should have stayed down after his world collapsed. instead of the generic "i hate kobe" attitude, people began to intentionally lead a campaign against kobe, to denigrate him at whatever cost, and lebron/wade/shaq/jordan provided ample ammunition for these folks. in my opinion, the passive hate for kobe evolved into a conscious effort to subvert all his accomplishments and talent (at least in america- although jordan was an international phenomenon, i think americans particularly had an unhealthy, enamored attachment to him, which helped kobe to draw ire from american jordan-worshippers. i think the international people had a more healthy admiration for jordan, which is why the hatred is less intense there)

  89. randomfan says...March 3, 2008 1:26 am

    by "unhealthy" in my prior post, i don’t mean to insinuate anything bad, as if jordan didn’t deserve it (he definitely deserved it). i think it was natural and perfectly fine to admire him, but the effects were just unfortunate.

  90. Anonymous says...March 3, 2008 6:05 am

    To HARDWOOD–

    Maybe ill just throw this out there but ur an idiot…you have no idea what your talking about…you are pinning a mans mistake earlier in his career to now… If you have been watching basketball over the past year you would see that kobe is a great leader and has a legitimate shot to win 3 or maybe 4 more title with this lakers team before the end of the year…Maybe you should check your sources…

  91. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 3, 2008 8:01 am

    @JTbatahk,

    Fantascially well written! By the by, I also grew up overseas. However, most of my experience was in the third world, in countries where they rarely followed the NBA.

    I may use some of your comments in a future article.

  92. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 3, 2008 8:58 am

    @Ethan B,

    I absolutely agree that it really doesn’t matter if Kobe gets the MVP. Case in point: In my early debates with a commenter who went by the inflamatory name of “You’re Stupid,” he suggested that I had created this site because “somebody ‘disrespected’ Kobe in your eyes and you thought it worthy to write a 3, long-winded, article response to try and gain some respect back.” Here’s my response:

    By the way, I’m not trying to gain Kobe any respect back. He doesn’t need that from me. He’s fine. I’m simply trying to represent the other side of the discussion, since the “haters” tend to be some of the squeakiest wheels I’ve ever heard.

    The point is that Kobe doesn’t need the MVP. It really doesn’t matter. There’s only one thing he cares about, one thing he wants, one thing he needs: More rings. And I’m quite certain he’ll get them. And more than just one. You know what they say: Winning cures all ills.

    That doesn’t mean I won’t make the case, of course. He doesn’t need any of this; but that doesn’t mean we should allow lies to be spread and disrespect to be served. Now, if we say our piece, represent the other side of the discussion, and they still refuse to give him the MVP Award (assuming he still deserves it come season end)? Well, I doubt Kobe really cares, and it really doesn’t matter.

    But that’s not to say that, should that happen, I won’t use it as an example of how the NBA / sports journalists are biased against him.

  93. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 3, 2008 9:15 am

    @randomfan,

    Good points. In particular, I think your point about his “aloofness,” early on, really applies. JTbatahk mentions the significance of the media, and its relationship with celebrities, as well as how it acts as middle man to the public’s relationship with said celebrities. I think that, while the public is much less trusting of celebrities now than it used to be, it’s also naive and easily influenced — and as Shaq has shown us, openness to the media, a good sense of humour, a playful spirit, etc., can go along way towards getting the media on your side. And of course, with the media on your side, the public often follows.

    When he was young, Kobe felt like he should be able to maintain some semblance of a private life. He resisted letting the media in beyond a certain professional level. They took it personally, and developed a grudge against him. Perhaps this is really where the hating started. How dare someone challenge the media! How dare someone push back, when the media pushes first!

    Anyhow. All interesting ideas. Perhaps in the future I will do an article looking at all the different kinds of Kobe haters, and the various sources from which stems this hatred.

  94. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 3, 2008 9:34 am

    @Anonymous,

    I’m assuming you meant “by the end of his career”… just a typo, no biggie.

    Yeah, I agree with you. Truth is, HP is actually more reasonable than you think. But he’s an unabashed Kobe hater (and for reasons I can actually respect, unlike many), and he’ll take his best shot at him, even if it’s a cheap one. However, I think he knows I won’t let him get away with the cheap ones.

  95. randomfan says...March 3, 2008 12:14 pm

    One random thing i want to mention just as it pops into my head: i once read that team usa’s coaching staff several years ago (not this past summer’s) criticized lebron for being too concerned with trying to "stuff" his stats and make highlight plays that it hurt their team. (i’ll try to find the article at some point). if this is true, i’m very irritated at how no one chooses to acknowledge this, yet continues to accuse kobe of trying to improve his stats and only his stats. after hearing this, it’s hard to doubt that that isn’t his attitude even now. (i mean for heaven’s sake, his goal is to become the first billionaire athlete!) there are so many quotes that belie lebron’s "unselfish", "team-oriented", "friendly", "humble" facade, but everyone ignores them. this media protection is truly disturbing.

  96. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 3, 2008 12:25 pm

    @randomfan,

    I would be very interested, indeed, if you could find substantiation for these things. Also, regarding the larger overall idea that LeBron is much more self-oriented than the image he projects and the media propagate: At this point, I’m reluctant to do too much criticizing of LeBron. As I’ve mentioned, I really like him (on the court), and when I argue against him, I prefer to see it as arguing for Kobe rather than against LeBron. I’m not here to hate on LeBron.

    However… if you could substantiate these claims — and not just one or two, but several quotes, articles, etc., that show what you’re suggesting (which may very well be true) — then I would run an article about it, because at that point, it would be a point of comparison between LBJ and Kobe. First, that LBJ is not at all different from what Kobe is accused of, and that it’s really quite natural for a person in their position. And second, that he gets judged by a different standard.

    So… should you choose to help me to substantiate some of these things, I’ll take a closer look at them, and consider writing about them. Until then, my position has been one that I’m not going to engage in subjective speculation or unsubstantiated blanket statements, and that’s something that’s important to me and I’m going to hold to.

    So… I think it’s likely that you’re probably correct about him. But that’s just my suspicions, and nothing more. Find more, and I’ll look more closely at it.

  97. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 3, 2008 3:04 pm

    A couple of you have asked for the ability to edit your own comments. Good news: Now you can.

    As of now, you can edit the name, URL, or comment body information for any comment you leave, up to 30 minutes after you leave it.

    Make sure to check your comments over after you post them, because after 30 minutes, it’s final — no more editing.

  98. dtrip35 says...March 3, 2008 8:23 pm

    Just found your site a week ago, it’s extraordinary. I can certainly appreciate the fact-based logical arguments you make. Interestingly, while you do qualify yourself as being bias, I actually find you much more objective than most people.

    While I do agree there are lot of Kobe-haters out there, based upon the various sites I’ve looked at I think as this point most people have acknowledged Kobe’s accomplishments and transformation this year and he in their mind leading the MVP race today. I think you’d almost be down right silly to not even have as a top 3.

    This is a comment posted by Kelly Dwyer in response to someone commenting on his terrible "Why … Kobe Bryant is not your MVP" article:

    "It’s always been about best player on a very good team."

    Not true. The NBA has never established criteria, on purpose.

    While there might not be hard and fast rules about what constitutes an MVP it’s safe to say that this rule in particular ALWAYS applies – over the last 30 years (with the exception of 1 year – I believe) the MVP’s been given to someone who played on a team that had at least 50 wins. What might be interesting for someone is to go back and see in how many of those years was there a player who had statistically superior stats to the MVP that year, but was on a losing team and did not receive the award. If you’re able to find some examples then I think it makes a strong case for the double-standards theory and if you don’t then it doesn’t matter as the lack of an example doesn’t necessitate that this rule hasn’t been applied (although I think most would counter that Kobe’s been in the exact situation over the last couple of years).

  99. Ethan B says...March 3, 2008 8:33 pm

    Lol with every great kobe performance, there’s one of these.

  100. randomfan says...March 3, 2008 8:41 pm

    josh: i agree.  i would have no problem if both lebron and kobe were equally criticized for their characters, but my indignance comes from the disparity in their public perceptions despite obvious similarities. my apologies if i didn’t make my intention clearer, that IF it’s the case that the coaches’ evaluations are true, then it would be very disturbing. (i just tried looking for the article, but it’s proving to be really difficult given the amount of time that has passed. i’ll keep searching though)

  101. Anonymous says...March 3, 2008 9:19 pm

    kobe didnt win 3 championships.  shaq did.

    put shaq in his prime on the cavs

    u saw what happened when shaq got traded from the lakers.

    they didnt even make the playoffs.

    if they can get to the finals barely any support whatsoever, they can win it if they had a big man even as close to totally dominating as shaq was.

  102. Ethan B says...March 3, 2008 9:32 pm

    @Anonymous

    funny, how come you can’t say Kobe won the 3 rings for shaq?

    i don’t recall shaq being on the floor when the game was close?

    i don’t recall shaq being depended on for clutch shots, free throws, and playing making during those championship run.

    and you’re right, kobe didn’t make it to the playoffs the next season…let me see, i believe they replaced their whole team with a bunch no-namers at that time, not to mention Kobe got injured towards the end of that season.

    now, can you name me the last time shaq did something without a great perimeter player on his team?

    And please, please don’t say that Jordan did it without great players.  Mind you, when he retired, Pipped took the team to 55 wins and the playoffs…
    so why do you really hate kobe?

  103. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 4, 2008 1:26 pm

    @dtrip35,

    Thank you for the compliments. Let me tell you where I’m coming from, that should put my approach to all of this in context. I personally believe that if there is something others do that you find distasteful, then you should make a special effort to avoid doing it yourself. I find it extremely distasteful when “homers” make illogical, unsubstantiated, completely subjective blanket statements based very clearly in their own personal bias. I’m not asking them not to have bias; I only ask that they not try and base their argument on their bias.

    I also hate biased commentators on local broadcasts. Now, maybe they’re just trying to get the home fans fired up, because maybe that makes them more passionate, etc. And certainly, passionate fans help a team. So maybe they’re directed to intentionally call it one-sided. But I hate watching a game and the commentator is calling things with obvious bias — including when he’s favoring my team. I feel like it takes away from the value of my team’s effort when you try to make excuses.

    Anyhow. Given that I feel so strongly about people who base their entire position on bias, never attempting to make a rational logical argument — i.e., an argument that might stand on its own when viewed from the perspective of a neutral party (one that is neither for or against your position) — it motivates me to focus extra effort on not allowing my writing to be biased. I am biased; there is no doubt of that. But I check and double check my writing to make sure that the argument I have constructed is not based on that bias.

    I think a fantastic example of a couple of people who clearly have their favorites, their bias, but don’t base their judgments on that bias are Andrew and Brian Kamenatzky, who run the LA Times Lakersblog. The discussion in the comments can at times be great, at times ridiculous. But AK and BK are awesome, always keep things in perspective, and refuse to make biased judgments. It’s great.

    While I do agree there are lot of Kobe-haters out there, based upon the various sites I’ve looked at I think as this point most people have acknowledged Kobe’s accomplishments and transformation this year and he in their mind leading the MVP race today. I think you’d almost be down right silly to not even have as a top 3.

    I completely agree with you. I’m very happy to see that during the month of February, most people are finally coming around to recognizing Kobe’s greatness this season. He has forced them to. And, if I may afford myself a lapse in humility, I have to say that I called this. I don’t recall if I said it on this site or not, but I definitely remember telling some friends and family that if he was able to play effectively through the finger injury, he would become a lock-in for MVP. Sure enough, the more he does, the more this team succeeds, the closer we get to his first MVP Award.

    Kelly Dwyer… well, this is tough because usually I like his stuff. But right now, he’s being a complete idiot. No one said it was a rule written into the NBA handbook. But a 25 year precedent speaks pretty loudly.

    Your proposed study is interesting. I don’t really think it’s necessary. I think the precedent itself, along with Kobe’s recent history, makes this argument pretty air-tight. However, if you ever take that project on, I’d be fascinated to know the results.

  104. Brittney M says...March 4, 2008 2:41 pm

    Ethan B says…March 3, 2008 8:33 pm Lol with every great kobe performance, there’s one of these.

       I saw the article and I just can’t believe Yahoo had the nerve to publicly release the article, it was just terrible and thanks for the link. I don’t know but maybe Kobe has to play with a hole in his stomach  or a  broken foot for people to recognize him as MVP.

  105. Ethan B says...March 4, 2008 3:40 pm

    @ Brittney M

    lol, yeah, pretty much Kobe needs to average a Triple/Triple, cure cancer, stop the war in Iraq, and have the lakers winning 60+ games before he gets any consideration for MVP ahead of Lebron.  Did you read this one posted by Pipo?

    I don’t know about you, but after being educated with the debates/arguments from this site for the past week and slowly researching new articles/blogs about kobe for the past month, man, there is even more hatred growing for Kobe now.  The most disparaging trend is how some sports writers/journalists are trying to change the MVP award criteria to perfectly match what Lebron is doing/ how he’splaying now…Essentially trying to change the precedence that’s been set the previous years which has denied kobe MVP consideration…I mean, I’m not trying to take anything away from Lebron…I actually felt like he was the best player in the league, up until the Lakers/cavs game at staples, but since then, i just can’t imagine how anyone in the nation can detract from what kobe has done since the Allstar break as compared to Lebron.

  106. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 4, 2008 3:56 pm

    @Anonymous,

    kobe didnt win 3 championships. shaq did.

    If Kobe was that inconsequential, why didn’t Shaq win with Penny? And why did he only win one with Wade? How did someone so dominant that he didn’t even need Kobe get swept by the Bulls last year?

    Come to speak of it, where was Shaq every single time it mattered most? On the bench, either in foul trouble, or because he can’t make his free throws and is the antithesis of “clutch.”

    You haters love your “Kobe never won a ring without Shaq” line. Did Jordan ever win a ring without Pippen (a Top 50 Ever player who led his team to 55 wins without Jordan’s help)? Or, for that matter, how about Dennis Rodman (one of the best defenders and rebounders ever) and Steve Kerr (one of the top sharpshooters to ever play the game)? And did D-Wade ever win without Shaq? Come to think of it, did anybody ever win it all alone? Meanwhile, Jordan took 7 years to win a championship on a team built around him. Kobe is only in his fourth year with the team built around him, and the Lakers are considered the favorites. If they don’t win this year, it’s pretty much assumed they’ll win next year. Worst case scenario, they’ll win one out of the next four (including this year).

    When they do, Kobe will have accomplished the same thing as Jordan — winning with a team built around him — in an equal or shorter time frame. Where’s your one-liner for that?

    By the way, I could also point out that LBJ is in his 5th year with a team built around him, he still hasn’t won, and he won’t this year. You’d predictably point out that the Cavs have laid an egg when it comes to building around him. But in doing so, you would only succeeding in making my point about the past three years — the Lakers team built around Kobe for the past three years has sucked.

    put shaq in his prime on the cavs … if they can get to the finals barely any support whatsoever, they can win it if they had a big man even as close to totally dominating as shaq was.

    First, if they had played Phoenix in the first round last year, they wouldn’t have even sniffed the Eastern Conference Finals, let alone the NBA Finals. So don’t delude yourself — getting to the Finals in last year’s Eastern Conference was a decent, but not great, accomplishment. At best.

    And so what if LeBron won championships with Shaq? What does that prove? Kobe’s already done that. So even if he did do that, it definitely wouldn’t prove he was better than Kobe. Hell, Dwyane Wade did that, and it’s very obvious and universally understood that Dwyane Wade isn’t even in the same league as Kobe.

    And finally…

    u saw what happened when shaq got traded from the lakers.

    they didnt even make the playoffs.

    Actually, I saw what happened when the Lakers lost Shaq, Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Derek Fisher, and Rick Fox. And the previous year, they had lost Robert Horry and Brian Shaw. You know what it was that happened? The team was gutted, and the empty spots were filled with green kids, bloated contracts, and no-names. And one of the only good players we got for Shaq — Caron Butler — was traded for Kwame “Stonehands” Brown!

    I also saw Kobe hurt for about 20 games. Given how Cavs fans LOVE to claim that the Cavs’ record would be 6 games better had LeBron played, it’s really unfortunate — read: unashamedly hypocritical — of you to apply a double standard to Kobe. By that logic, the Lakers could have won over 50 games had he not missed nearly 20.

    So don’t talk to me about what happened to the Lakers. You see what happened to the Heat, even before Shaq was traded, in the pathetic Eastern Conference? They’ll be lucky to win 15 games this year. The fact that Kobe led the Lakers to 37 wins despite playing on a team that had been mostly mortgaged off AND missing 20 games is, frankly, unbelievably amazing. The Lakers didn’t deserve to win anything close to that many games that year. And they didn’t. Kobe did.

    That takes care of that. Now… would you like to suggest any valid arguments against Kobe?

  107. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 4, 2008 3:59 pm

    @Ethan B,

    In your reading, if you find anything I might be able to use — either something that contains support for a position you think I may take in the future, or something that I may respond to in the future — feel free to email it to me.

    I can’t get to everything, but you never know… something you send me might have a good quote in it that I can reference, and that I might not have found myself.

  108. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 4, 2008 4:04 pm

    @Ethan B,

    Speaking of Kobe’s performance since the ASG: Did you notice he shot 50.7% in February? And, as I’ve already pointed out, that’s a ridiculously high number for a shooting guard. His True Shooting Percentage is a ridiculous 62.1%.

    Where are the LeBron fans when both Kobe’s straight FG% and his (more accurate and relevant) TS% are higher than LBJ’s?

    Where have all the FG% arguments gone?
    Long time passing…
    Where have all the FG% arguments gone?
    Long time ago…
    Where have all the FG% arguments gone?
    They became irrelevant, one by one…
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they e-ver learn?

  109. Jeff says...March 4, 2008 4:22 pm

    Ok, Josh-  opinion on Hollinger chat today?  God knows I was somewhat perturbed.  He’s talking as though Lebron’s Far and AWAY the best player-  Complete B.S.  Even if Lebron is the better player, it’s rediculously close- It can vascillate between the two. 

  110. Ethan B says...March 4, 2008 5:08 pm

    @ Josh

    geez, i’ve been reading soooo many message boards and chats on peoples opinions/facts/stats that have made such great arguments for Kobe, hands down.
    I even went into a cbs-sports "Lebron: Best Player" message board to see what justifications his fans uses to declare him (without hestition) far and beyond the skill level of kobe.  Keep in mind, I’m not trying to play down Lebron’s ability during my research because i give him his props completely, but i did notice that there’s a consistent trend with Lebron fans and Kobe fans:

    * Lebron Fans:  Kobe is garbage/ball-hog/rapist/overated and Lebron is the best and will eventually be GOAT.

    *Kobe Fans:  Kobe is the best, but Lebron is really good too and possibly could be better than Kobe in the future, but not now.

    Overall, most of the info i came across are virtually the same facts, misnomers/misconceptions, and oversights that have been stated here.
    Although, i did find interesting comments pointing out Lebron’s unshelfishness as a facade, his intentional stat padding (which supposedly, one of Team USA staff member/coach stated that the pre-kobe team usa indirectly suffered because Lebron was trying to spread out his stat line instead of playing within the flow of the game), and ego-centric mentality.

    I’ll gather my info and list the general arguments that kobe detracters (both fans and media) uses against kobe later on tonight (after the sac game of course).

    As for Hollinger, my god, i think he dedicates his life to concoct stat formalutions to legitimize Lebron’s thrown and to disprove kobe’s real worth to his team, the NBA, and to the game of basketball in general.   If you read a lot of Hollinger’s writings, he would never directly give kobe any props or accolades, but would use stats to downplay his performances while reusing the same stats to display Lebron’s superiority over Kobe.  Out of all the ESPN writers/cast members, Hollinger is probably leader of the Lebron for President campaign, behind Chris Bossaurd, Chris Sheridan, Chad Ford, and J.A. Adande.  Chris Wilbon hates on Kobe a lot through the years, but has recently seem more apt to give him a positive appraisal.    The worst is Skip Bayless, he hates on Kobe like no man does, but he also hates on Lebron as well.  I literally think Skip is the only professional sports writer that wrote a column congratulating Raja for clotheslining kobe in the 05-06 playoffs…lame.

  111. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 4, 2008 6:13 pm

    @Jeff,

    I have not yet read the Hollinger chat. However, I can tell you this right now: Hollinger relies almost solely on Player Efficiency Rating (PER) — a statistical measurement he created. (How’s that for arrogance, right?)

    The problem with that, as I have mentioned on this site, is that statistics should never be used in a vacuum. As a numbers guy, a self-proclaimed statistician — and, by implication, the self-declared best statistician (since he’s implying that his statistical measure is the best one) — John Hollinger should know this. This is Statistics 101 material. Numbers don’t tell the whole story. Not even close.

    This is magnified by the fact that Hollinger’s PER is a single number. If statistics don’t tell the whole picture when taken as a whole — meaning, evaluated in depth, from points and rebounds to assists and turnover and more — then it’s even more true for a single numerical statistic, that supposedly combines all things into one.

    What am I trying to say? Hollinger is either an incompetent statistician or an extremely disingenuous fan-boy who uses complex statistics to disguise his bias and pull the wool over the eyes of the ignorant masses who don’t have the education or statistical knowledge necessary to see through his shenanigans.

    So, at this point, I don’t need to see his chat. I know he’s going to base his entire conclusion on PER, and since LeBron has the best PER, he’s going to skip the formalities and crown him now. As such, he’s a disgrace to every sports journalists and every sports fan who understands the value of actually watching the games (something I’m not convinced Hollinger actually does).

    Take any of his comments regarding who is the MVP, best player in the NBA, etc., with an over-sized bucket of salt.

  112. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 4, 2008 6:45 pm

    @Ethan B,

    I think one of the main reasons Kobe fans give other players their due is because they understand the other side of the coin. We’ve been on the receiving end of comments like, “Kobe is garbage/ball-hog/rapist/overrated and LeBron is the best” for years now. They understand that it’s a ridiculous statement, and that it only makes you look like a fool. So they give other players their due, and then point out that as amazing as those players are, Kobe is better.

    I’m going to throw one more name out there, in terms of Kobe haters: T.J. Simmers of the LA Times. He’s a Kobe hater. Even in this year, when Kobe has done everything his critics demanded of him, and more, Simmers still finds a way to criticize him. He’s about as arrogant as they come (and probably about as insecure as he is arrogant, unless I miss my guess).

    But again, don’t take Simmers seriously, because he’s really just a bitter, bitter person. I mean, read that and tell me he doesn’t need counseling. Somebody call Robin Williams, T.J. needs some Good Willing Hunting time! “It’s not your fault, TJ. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault…”

    Ethan, on a personal level, I think I do believe that LeBron is much more of a stat monger, much more selfish, and much more ego-maniacal than his fans or the media (or the NBA, for that matter) would have you believe. Why? Because two of his stated goals are to become “a world icon” and to become the first sports billionaire. These are things he specifically stated as goals. Neither of these things are about basketball. They are about image (he won’t become a billionaire through sports contracts, no matter how lucrative — it would be about selling his image). And as such, it would make sense for him to do whatever necessary to be seen as the best basketball player in the world — maybe ever. If he can get people to see him that way, he can succeed in his (non-basketball) goals. Thus, it’s believable that these things that you are suggesting, that you have heard, are true.

    Again, I don’t have a problem with that, necessarily. Like I said, I don’t (unrealistically) expect superstar athletes to be humble. But I do prefer it when they’re real, and I think Kobe Bryant is real (though he hasn’t always been).

  113. lalball81 says...March 4, 2008 9:39 pm

    Hey have you guys heard of Bruce Blitz?  He has a channel on youtube that is dedicated to Jordan vs Kobe videos, and Kobe versus LeBron videos.  Basically the whole point is to prove Kobe isn’t as good as either of them.

    He’s also the founder of kb24overrated.com, which is a site to compare Kobe’s stats to Jordans.  Apparently, Jordan’s superior stats are what the "hype busters" are trying to point out.  They also are real big on PER, which I see has already been brought up.  Jordan had ridiculous PER in his playing days which they like to play up, but they don’t mention anything about TS %.  Bruce makes a big deal of Kobe’s ineffectiveness because of his 45% fg shooting and his PER rating but fails to mention that Kobe actually has a good TS%.  Higher than his beloved LeBron James for instance.

    Anyway, I thought I would give everyone a heads up.  Bruce Blitz doesn’t like Kobe all that much.  He has an avid fan base on his channels, and all of them like to point to Kobe’s fg% as him being an inferior scorer, which I find ludicrous.  It would be interesting to know what he thought about TS% or anything like that that this great site has to offer, but I wouldn’t expect Kobe haters to listen to reason.

    My two cents.

  114. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 4, 2008 9:51 pm

    @lalball81,

    All of it true, but none more so than your last sentence. I think I’ve demonstrated that I’m more than willing to concede a good point, if it is a good point. Alas, I’ve really never met a devoted hater that would do the same.

    How about that game tonight, eh folks? I must admit… there was a small-but-growing fear in me that we might lose tonight, around about the beginning of the 4th quarter. I guess it’s just been so long since Kobe has actually needed to do this that I begin to forget what “most clutch ever” looks like.

    Shame on me.

  115. Ethan B says...March 4, 2008 10:20 pm

    @ josh

    crazy game…lakers reminded me of the 2001-2003 team where they kinda lumber around for a few quarters and then turn it up b/c seriously, their defense was god awful…i don’t know how many layups the Kings had, but it’s all a moot point since kobe did his thing and they got the win.

    btw, Kelly Dwyer followed-up with another one.

    The funny thing is, what happens if Kobe actually ends the season with a higher scoring average than LBJ?  Then what will be the argument if that happens?  Leading Scorer on one of the Best teams in the league?  Most likely that wouldn’t happen, but man, if it does, what will the detracters use then?

    last point, there’s something oddly eerie and mystical about this Lakers season…with how they’re winning (not to jinx them), with what kobe’s doing, all this heated debated between Kobe and Lebron, and the one that gave me goose bumps today, when Arco Arena exploded with chants of M-V-P when kobe was giving the post-game interview, way after the game has ended…either this will be Kobe’s best year in his career thus far, or….well i’ll just leave that part in the air. 

  116. Ethan B says...March 4, 2008 10:26 pm

    if you read the new kelly (hater) article, read post #122, i think he gathered his facts from here…hahaha

    also, another commenter there referred your MVP article…so good job yo!

  117. randomfan says...March 4, 2008 10:57 pm

    another fact that might reveal that Lebron’s more interested in keeping a clean corporate image and less of humanity’s issues is his refusal to sign the petition condemning china’s involvement with the tragedies at darfur. cavs team mate ira newble drafted the petition, and everyone on the team signed it except for damon jones and lebron james.  this is not a coincidence, for jones had some shoe deal with china and lebron is the face of nike who has close ties with china. lebron poorly "defended" his position by claiming he had not enough information to make a proper decision.

    i also find it very vain that he himself also completely buys into the notion that he is the "king" (his license plate reads ‘king of ak’, he refers to himself as the king, etc…). it’s comical that the people who claim kobe is selfish and arrogant don’t even realize this. when people criticize someone for something, they should at least be consistent in the cases they encounter. this is one thing many cav fans fail to do.

  118. randomfan says...March 4, 2008 11:43 pm

    what’s wrong with t.j. simers?

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/columnists/la-sp-simers5mar05,1,3968140.column

    does he have a personal vendetta against kobe? did he really have to write this article? what is he trying to prove?

  119. Ethan B says...March 5, 2008 12:39 am

    @randomfan

    Just another reason how kobe faces so much more adversity to succeed compared to any other athelete.  When he fails, the world steps on his throat and when he’s being as successful as he is this year, they still find ways to attack him.  If it’s not  by down playing his performance this year by hyping the Lebron propaganda then it’s by stating his higher negative public image as compared to everyone esles. I mean i know kobe isn’t the warmest person to get to know, even more, he’s probably really arrogant, but when a person works that hard for his profession, then i can excuse the arrogance b/c it’s not like we’re trying to annoint him the most likeable person, but rather, the best bballer in the NBA right now.

    I don’t know, but this year more than others, i feel like kobe is really getting the worst of it.  The "damn if does, damn if he doesn’t" is really an understatement now.  It’s so disheartening as fan to witness such unfair biasness for a performer that has given so much to the league these past years.  yet it doesn’t seem like it to most, but KB24 is really the underdog of the league.  Everyone wants to see him fail with the utmost passion.  Even if he does the unthinkable this year, win it all, gets MVP for the season and Finals, I still feel that the media won’t give him his due, conversely, they’ll add an asterisk and say that Pau won it for Kobe…Man i’m really rooting for KB24 this year…with all the spectacular things he’s doing thus far and if he continues to do even better, man, i can only imagine how many more writers will attack him.

  120. dtrip35 says...March 5, 2008 12:47 am

    A couple of interesting things:
    taken from the dwyer article (comment 14) – michael jordan averaged 34/8/8 with a 47 win team the year magic johnson won his last mvp, why? his team was more successful at 54 wins. it’s a team sport, and until lebron team performs above expectation he has only done his job, and you don get rewarded for doing your job, you get rewarded for going above and beyond.

    dwyer again looks at a subset of numbers to qualify his judgments , while conveniently ignoring others.

    second: hollinger’s comment -
    Jason (Upland): Who is your MVP for this season? Last week you said LeBron, CP3, then Kobe, despite Lebron only having a subpar 34-26 record (8 games over .500) in the WEAK East (who’s team won’t even be in the playoffs if they were in the West), while both CP3 and Kobe have their teams a whopping 20+ games over .500 on the TOUGH West. John Hollinger: First of all, a lesson on schedules — 58 of the 82 games are identical regardless of which league you’re in, so in terms of individual performance and team win-loss records they rarely make a large impact. Second, as far as MVP — LeBron James’ performance has been so far beyond that of any other player that, even with his team mired in fourth in the East, he HAS TO be the choice. Apologies to Kobe and CP3 and everyone else, but the guy is head and shoulders above the rest of the league right now.
    "58 of the 82 games are identical regardless of which league you’re in, so in terms of individual performance and team win-loss records they rarely make a large impact."
    i’m AMAZED at this statement, for someone who’s as statistically charged and who has a STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE metric in his calculations of team rankings, absolutely amazed. of course you should take into account the competition he faces!! what a load of BS

  121. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 12:49 am

    @randomfan,

    Like I said, T.J. Simers is an extremely bitter person. More interestingly, he seems to be extremely reactionary.

    It seems that every time Kobe does the unimaginable, answering his critics and raising the bar even higher, Simers finds a way to redirect, attempting to divert attention away from his positive accomplishments and focus it instead on embellished negatives.

    Funny thing? Simers writes that Kobe’s not a nice guy — but as bitter as he is, there’s no one I’d rather not meet than T.J. Simers. He’s about as far from nice as it gets.

  122. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 12:58 am

    @dtrip35,

    I’m really not sure which is more important to Hollinger: PER or LeBron James?

    To say that his performance has been “so far beyond” Kobe’s is just plain ignorant. Kobe has done more, with much bigger obstacles, all with a pinky that, lest we forget, is so badly injured that John Hollinger strongly feels he should get surgery immediately.

    Whether it’s PER that’s more important to him, or LeBron James, is really inconsequential. Either one makes the case for the other.

    Regarding Strength of Schedule, you make an excellent point: John Hollinger is the one who came up with a statistic for Strength of Schedule. Funny that now, for LeBron’s sake, he’s contradicting himself. But if you hear from anyone trying to propagate Hollinger’s ignorance — saying that schedule doesn’t matter that much — feel free to link them to my previous article, Location, Location, Location. It breaks down with precise math exactly why the schedule actually does have a very large impact.

    But, like I said: Bucket of salt.

  123. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 1:02 am

    @Ethan B,

    Interesting thought: Kobe as the underdog. Never thought of it that way, but not sure I’d disagree, either.

    But I’ve got something to cheer you up: Today, on ESPN’s NBA home page, there was a poll with a simple question: “Who’s better?”

    There were two possible answer, and you can guess what they were. And out of nearly 17,000 voters (last time I checked, before it was pulled down), the results were overwhelmingly in Kobe’s favor.

    Kobe Bryant: 74%
    LeBron James: 26%

    So, take heart. The minority is extremely vocal. But the majority are understanding what they are seeing, and recognizing Kobe’s greatness. And despite the T.J. Simers and the Kelley Dwyers of the world, my sense is that among the voting media, Kobe is actually a heavy favorite to win this year. At least, up to this point.

    And that was before these last two games!

    So cheer up, man! Things are looking up in Kobe’s world, and with the potential for more winning than should be allowed and several more rings over the next few years, this should be only the beginning.

  124. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 1:03 am

    @randomfan,

    Now, that right there is interesting. Those are a couple things worth taking note of. And I will note them. We get more of this, and there may be some article-worthy material here.

  125. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 1:05 am

    @Ethan B,

    Ethan,

    Amazing game. And I posted a new article about it.

    I haven’t had a chance to read Dwyer’s newest yet, but it’ll have to wait until tomorrow. I haven’t gotten enough sleep lately, and I’m already not going to tonight. So I’m out. But tomorrow, I will look into this more.

  126. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 1:07 am

    Hey all,

    New article posted just a few minutes ago. Check it out:

    Kobe Bryant: "Remember Me?"

  127. randomfan says...March 5, 2008 1:10 am

    dtrip:

    hollinger’s "support"- "LeBron James’ performance has been so far beyond that of any other player that, even with his team mired in fourth in the East, he HAS TO be the choice"- isn’t really even a support. this is supposed to be his claim, which he should follow up with evidence, but he simply ends it there. how is lebron truly outperforming everyone? does he explain? no. without supporting his case, the above statement is nothing more than a baseless opinion. not only this, he goes ahead and says "the guy is head and shoulders above the rest of the league right now" without even backing it up. if he’s going to resort to this, i can just vacuously say that kobe has performed far superior than anyone else and use that to conclude kobe’s the mvp. he knows the evidence is not in his favor (except, not surprisingly, his own, biased statistical model), which is why he ends up with hand-waving assertions. truly weak.

  128. randomfan says...March 5, 2008 2:45 am

    wow. i’m flabbergasted. if you go to nba.com’s poll at the bottom of the page, 85% voted for lebron as the mvp. i wonder who these people are.

  129. Brittney M says...March 5, 2008 9:09 am

    Hey Josh Tucker (The Apologist)

       I was just on ESPN.com and I came across this message and a response from John Hollinger and I wanted to know whats your take on his response. I copied and pasted the message below.

    Jason (Upland): Who is your MVP for this season? Last week you said LeBron, CP3, then Kobe, despite Lebron only having a subpar 34-26 record (8 games over .500) in the WEAK East (who’s team won’t even be in the playoffs if they were in the West), while both CP3 and Kobe have their teams a whopping 20+ games over .500 on the TOUGH West. John Hollinger: First of all, a lesson on schedules — 58 of the 82 games are identical regardless of which league you’re in, so in terms of individual performance and team win-loss records they rarely make a large impact. Second, as far as MVP — LeBron James’ performance has been so far beyond that of any other player that, even with his team mired in fourth in the East, he HAS TO be the choice. Apologies to Kobe and CP3 and everyone else, but the guy is head and shoulders above the rest of the league right now.

  130. Brittney M says...March 5, 2008 9:27 am

    @Ethan
    Thanks again for the article, I think that one was the worst I’ve read yet. I actually like the fact that Kobe came out and demanded the lakers do something or they would lose him. And what do the lakers do??? They did something this year so that article was just not needed.

    Ethan B says…

    March 4, 2008 3:40 pm @ Brittney Mlol, yeah, pretty much Kobe needs to average a Triple/Triple, cure cancer, stop the war in Iraq, and have the lakers winning 60+ games before he gets any consideration for MVP ahead of Lebron.  Did you read this one posted by Pipo?

  131. Ethan B says...March 5, 2008 10:53 am

    @josh

    thanks for the pick-me-up, but i just saw the poll on NBA.com referred from Randomfan so it’s still a toss-up between KB24 and LBJ.

    but this makes me a feel a bit more positive.

    as for hollinger, it’s funny, you know why he wanted kobe to get surgery, right?
    so he could miss 6-7 weeks of the majority of the second-half to solidify Lebron’s MVP chances…

    let me know what your opinion on these topics:

    * for the past 2 years up until now, the MVP debate hasn’t seem this controversial as it does this year since Kobe actually has a legitimite chance to win.  Although in 2005-06, he had off-the-wall scoring average and historical performances, his team didn’t have enough wins to seriously consider him a favored candidate, the same thing in 2006-07.   From what i remerbered, there wasn’t as much commotion b/c it was clear that team wins is what counts.  However this year, Kobe has the wins, a great overall stat line, memorable performances, and the intangibles, playing through all assortment of injuries.  So perhaps i’m just dellusional, but i feel that because his chances to win are great this year, that a lot detracters are using Lebron’s stat line to rob kobe of his chances…they’re trying to skew the criteria to fit lebron while publishing columns that attacks kobe’s public image, annoiting pau/bynum as the only reason for LA’s success, and even bringing up kobe/shaq relationship to deter his chances.

    *Pau is being labeled the only reason why kobe’s successful and i’m not going to argue that, but the Lakers were winning prior to Pau with Bynum and compared to last year, the lakers have the same returning squad, minus Fisher.  So isn’t it obvious that since the virtual same squad improved and played better this season as Kobe’s numbers dipped and his teamates numbers improved that that should mean something?  While LBJ had virtually the same squad, but his numbers improved while his teamates numbers went down and his team overall, did medicore, in the east for that matter.  Yet it’s the same squad that went to the finals last year.

    *lastly,  it’s funny how people are saying that this is his worst statistical season in the past 3 years which is why he shouldn’t deserve MVP.  The thing is, he’s only 2 points lower than LBJ in points.  Just because LBJ improved his scoring average that that means he’s having the automatic better season and he’s the MVP.  So i find it convenient that they don’t bring up the fact that in 2005-06, kobe improved his average to 35ppg, a whooping 7+ points from the season before.
      

  132. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 1:01 pm

    @randomfan,

    Exactly right, random. And that’s why I make a deliberate effort to make sure that all of the positions I take in articles on this website are fully supported, to create a stark contrast when compared to unsubstantiated blanket statements made by people like Hollinger.

    The funny thing is that, from my perspective at least, I think Hollinger eats away at his own credibility with each move he makes. Reference JTbatakh’s comment on my newest article, where the Average Joes call him out for his bias. The readers recognize that he refused to recognize Kobe’s individually and statistically dominant season two years ago, but is now changing the rules for LeBron. And they’re calling him on it.

    Meanwhile, he digs himself deeper with statements like “the guy is head and shoulders above the rest of the league right now” — even most reasonable people who choose LeBron as their MVP over Bryant aren’t foolish enough to claim James is “head and shoulders” above Kobe. When he says things like that, he shows his hand.

    Weak, indeed.

  133. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 1:24 pm

    @randomfan,

    This was a surprise to me, given the results of yesterday’s ESPN.com poll. However, I have two thoughts:

    1. I’d like to see a geographical representation of where these votes came from. Is Ohio over-represented? Is there some other strange inconsistency? 277,660 votes is no small number, especially considering the ESPN poll got pulled yesterday after receiving 17,000 votes. Does NBA.com experience that much more traffic than ESPN.com? I smell fish.
    2. More significantly, it’s important to understand the subtle difference between the two polls. The first, asking which player is the best, had Bryant winning in a landslide. The second, asking which one is this year’s most valuable, strongly favored James.

      Why is this significant? Because it was voted on (presumably) by fans, every day people, many of whom may not necessarily be very well informed as to how the NBA’s MVP Award works. They’re still operating under the traditional definition of the “Most Valuable Player” — which is understandable.

      Why is that significant? Because it is not the masses that vote. It is the media. And, by and large, most of them, are well informed as to the true nature of the NBA’s MVP Award. And while there are vocal holdouts, I honestly believe that the majority in the voting media recognizes that they have no excuses left for denying Bryant the MVP Award, and that if they gave it to James, they’d risk a major scandal. So, whether they like it or not, I believe that the majority of the voting media will give it to Bryant, simply because his play has left them without excuses and is forcing them to adhere to their own rules.

    Yeah, it’s unfortunate that Hollinger has a vote. But I still think he’ll find himself in the minority come May.

  134. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 1:36 pm

    @Brittney M,

    Well, I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth saying again.

    First, I’ve previously written up a detailed analysis of why conference matters a great deal.

    Second, I’ve got a question for John Hollinger, the self-anointed mathematical sports analyst: If x = 82 – 58, where do the remaining x games fit into your lesson?

    Third, it’s curious (read: convenient) that Strength of Schedule and Home vs. Away both factor into Hollinger’s automated team rankings this year, yet at a time like this he figures out a way to remove them from the conversation.

  135. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 1:39 pm

    @Brittney M,

    Exactly. Many don’t want to recognize Kobe’s galvanizing effect on the team this, from ownership and management right down to the scrubs on the bench. But I would simply point to Kevin Garnett: Because he was the anti-Kobe, refusing to speak out against management, Minnesota was allowed to waste most of his career. Now, he has probably one shot at a championship. Maybe two, but in my mind, that’s optimistic. Kobe Bryant, by not being satisfied with the KG approach, has refused to allow management to do the same to him — and now has the opportunity to win several more rings for himself, and several more banners for the city of Los Angeles.

  136. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 1:53 pm

    @Ethan B,

    I feel your pain, but I put it to you again: Cheer up!

    As I explained to randomfan, I think there’s an understandable explanation for the NBA.com poll results, and I don’t think it has much bearing on who will actually receive the MVP Award. Unless things change dramatically in the final twenty-or-so games of this season, I really do think Kobe wins it. Remember, you may read endless negativity on message boards and article comments, but it is the media that votes. And I really get the sense that, aside from a few holdouts that refuse to release their hatred for Bryant, the overwhelming majority has Bryant in first place, right now.

    And remember this: Success breeds success. Should Bryant win the MVP Award this year, as I think he will, it will be one more thing that will improve his image overall. Meanwhile, winning in the playoffs and possibly even making it to/winning the Finals will go even further towards that end.

    If they can pull it off, an MVP/NBA Champions/Finals MVP triumvirate would dramatically alter common perception about Bryant. Even more so if he continues, as he has all season long, to say the right things, praising his teammates and deflecting compliments, etc.

    I think it’s all very possible. And if it happens, I put it to you now… watch the transformation begin, before our eyes.

  137. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 1:56 pm

    @Ethan B,

    Your point about the difference between last season and this season, for LeBron’s and Kobe’s teams, is a fantastic one. It may be one that I use in the near future.

    Damn… too much to do.

  138. randomfan says...March 5, 2008 6:36 pm

    josh:

    truly. by this point, the mvp voters have completely run out of excuses to prevent kobe from winning an mvp. i don’t mind if the mvp doesn’t go to kobe, as long as the reasoning is solid, but if given to lebron, this will expose the voting process’ clear bias against kobe, and the award will lose complete meaning (not like it already hasn’t in the last several years).

    one sad thing i foresee might happening is that if kobe wins the mvp this year, kobe haters will counter that by saying "oh, he only won it as a grievance award, not because he deserved it, like the oscars."

  139. dtrip35 says...March 5, 2008 7:42 pm

    Lebron had a pretty ridiculous game tonight – so good for him, what I find extremely interesting is the number of 3′s he put in the last moments of the game.  Perhaps I’m grasping at straws here but it felt like Lebron was patting his numbers to try and get past Kobe’s recent 52. His last 5 shots were all 3 point attempts

  140. Brittney M says...March 5, 2008 8:28 pm

    Hey not to take ya’ll away from this great site I would like for ya’ll to check out these other links about Kobe and the MVP race. If ya’ll haven’t already seen them.
    1. http://freedarko.blogspot.com/2008/03/clarity-in-cataracts.html
    2. http://jonesonthenba.blogspot.com/2008/03/kobe-everywhere.html

  141. randomfan says...March 5, 2008 9:25 pm

    here is a rather ridiculous article:

    http://mvn.com/nba-cavaliers/2008/03/05/define-mvp/

    the comments on the page already do much work so i’ll leave it at that.

    but one thing that really makes me very upset is the following video:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=T6SpBM8dB4k

    dtrip: yeah, it does feel hypothetical, but i do find it odd like you that lebron would do this after kobe’s game.

  142. Ethan B says...March 5, 2008 10:00 pm

    @josh

    again, thanks for the support yo and sorry for sounding like a downer…just a bit perturbed with all the growing kobe-hating each time he does something good.  I mean, crap, i’m bias, but even when lebron has a great game, i still pay him his dues, but with Kobe, it seems like every great game comes with a flurry of negative criticism.

    So in all in all, i’m trying to believe in the greater good of the situation and trying to see the same thing you see, that this should be Kobe’s year.  It seems like the stars are aligned for kobe to rock the sports world this season…either he hits a home run (i.e. mvp, title, finals mvp, and gold medal) or he’s striking out…and i personally think, as phenomonal and incredible kobe is and could be, if he fails this year, critics and haters alike will never let him live it down.

  143. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 10:42 pm

    @randomfan,

    In the immediate future, perhaps. But does any one of us wonder whether Kobe will win over the next several years? And does any one of us think he will do it only once? Of course not. It is not a question of if, just of when and how many?

    So they may criticize him if he loses this year. But they can’t keep him down, and win he wins — and then wins again — they will forget they ever criticized him.

  144. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 10:45 pm

    @dtrip35,

    I have to disagree. And I want to caution everyone against hating too much on LeBron. James had a fantastic game tonight — give him his dues. He deserves credit.

    As for his numerous 3-point attempts: LBJ took 12 three-pointers tonight. However, he made 7 of them. That’s unusual for him, since he’s usually a pretty poor 3-point shooter. So how can you blame him for putting them up when they’re going in? We would expect the same from Kobe — when they’re going down, by all means, keep putting them up.

    Great game by LeBron — no ifs, ands, or buts.

  145. Ethan B says...March 5, 2008 10:55 pm

    @ Brittney

    lol, i was reading Jones article before you posted it here and i caught your comment…man, he’s given me faith in the media again and I personally think that writers like him could balance this unjust hatred for Kobe, let along, Kobe vs. Lebron.

    hopefully you all catch the article too, it basically exemplifies the overall essences of this site.

  146. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 11:08 pm

    @Brittney M,

    Those look like fantastic articles, from the brief perusal I gave them. I will have to read them in full tomorrow.

  147. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 11:15 pm

    @Ethan B,

    Nah, it’s cool, man. I understand the temptation to feel negative. The negativity of the present can feel overwhelming. And for the last three years, we have seen no light at the end of the tunnel. It’s hard to get out of that mindset, sometimes.

    But we have to shake ourselves, pinch ourselves, prove to ourselves that we’re not dreaming… and once we’re certain that we’re awake, realize that time is, quite suddenly, on our side. And on his. Kobe no longer has to do everything under the sun, and now. Simply winning will cause people to forget. And there is so much time, and so much opportunity for winning. And no one better to take that opportunity, seize the moment, and refuse to be denied, than Kobe Bryant.

    Yeah, we’ll have to put up with haters for the time being. Probably a lot of them. But I’m in this for the long haul, because it is time that will tell, and I’m certain that time will find me laughing hysterically.

  148. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 5, 2008 11:20 pm

    @Ethan B,

    I had another thought:

    downer…just a bit perturbed with all the growing kobe-hating each time he does something good.

    On the contrary — take it as a good sign. The haters are becoming more vocal now… and why? Because they are being proven right? Were that the case, why would they be trying so hard, so desperately? No, it’s because they see themselves being proven wrong. And they’re compensating. And the more Kobe does to distance himself from the rest, including LeBron, and to approach his next championship, the louder they will scream, attempting to distract from the present manifestation of his greatness with outdated criticisms that were bogus in the first place.

    Trust me… the more you hear them scream, the more you should smile, because there is a direct correlation between their vociferousness and the return of Kobe Bryant.

  149. Ethan B says...March 6, 2008 10:38 am

    @Josh

    i always appreciate your positive spin and i have to admit that for the past week i’ve been getting way too obsessed with what the media/haters think about KB24 this season. The funny thing is, I (used to) know that opinions are opinions and people, no matter who or what, will always have his/her own personal influence.  After revisiting you-tube clips of kobe in the first-half of his career and some of the San Antonio Playoff games and etc, i no longer feel stiffled by these negative media writers and haters alike.  My final revealation is this, he’s done so much in is illustrious career that even me being an avid fan, I almost forgot that Kobe has dominanted for a decade now and still, he gets no love.  So, echoing your same sentiment, KB24 is gonna do what he’s gonna do, and by gully, if he does the unthinkable this year then we as fans shall applaud/appreciate with a thunderous cheer…Yet, if he fails, we’ll still get his back, because if 10+ years of Kobe has taught us anything, that he never ceases to amaze us.  So i’ve reached my peace and i’m just gonna sit back and enjoy the rollercoaster season and see what esle KB24 can do this year.

    thanks for your site and hardwork man…  

  150. Anonymous says...March 6, 2008 1:48 pm

    It just upsets me when ESPN continues this political crap of hoisting Lebron as the best player in the league. As I was trying to fall asleep last night, Stuart of ESPN stated, "stay tuned to see what lebron did tonight that has never been done before in NBA history." My first thought was, man he scored 110pts against the knicks or he hit 10 threes in a half, or he scored 40 in the 1st qr. All of these things were going on in my head during the commercial. When they finally showed that he only scored 50, I was irate. They even tried to hype him up too; "Lebron has won 2mvp all star awards."(Are you kidding me? ESPN stop trying so hard). After all that hype, it was lebron’s 5th 50pt game in his career. I just sat there listening to them going on and on about how unstoppable he is and how he shot a jumpshot from half court like he was shooting a 15 footer (I quickly flashed back to a game in boston a year ago, a game the lakers played the knicks the night before and kobe couldn’t play because he was suspeneded; kobe came back and lit boston up for 43pts and shot a half court jumpshot at the buzzer to end the half. I was fortunate enough to be at that game where the entire garden cheered for Kobe).
     It never fails! ESPN has an agenda. It is to continue drool over Lebron and crown him while  purposefully dismissing Kobe’s achievements as just another Kobe performance. It makes me so sick. At least stephen A. Smith gives Kobe the credit he deserves! WHo is this stuart kid?! The biggest Kobe hater ever!!!

  151. dtrip35 says...March 6, 2008 10:58 pm

    @Josh

    I think my tone was more negative then I intended.  I actual thought he had a great game

    @ Anonymous
    To be fair to Lebron, the 50 points by itself certainly is good, but not amazing.  however alongside 10 assists and 8 rebounds his performance was impressive. 
    regardless ESPN and the NBA does have a tendency to oversell him

  152. Ethan B says...March 7, 2008 11:42 am

    hahahaha, did any read this from NBA.com?

    relating to Lebron’s game against the bulls:

     "After LeBron James dropped 50 on the Knicks in the "World’s Most Famous Arena" on Wednesday, there was the requisite outpouring of adulation, including some from the folks on Harmon Meadow Boulevard. There was plenty of hype as LBJ was slated for a national TV appearance Thursday, but a trip to the Second City saw LeBron’s team end up second-best. James appeared headed for another 50-point game as he rang up 26 in the first half, including a pair of buzzer-beaters. But he banged his funny bone early in the third quarter and missed five straight shots. By the time he rediscovered his rhythm, it was too late and Cleveland was headed to a 107-96 loss. James had 39 points on 13-of-27 shooting, maintaining his status as scoring king."

    My god, how blatant can they be to provide any, all excuses for Lebron…so they’re saying the cavs lost cause lebron banged his funny bone and that’s all…Kobe doesn’t give excuses for his mangled pinky….lame.

  153. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 8, 2008 2:48 pm

    @randomfan,

    I agree. If LeBron gets it this year over Kobe, then the award will be meaningless. However, I don’t think it’s been meaningless over the past few years. I think that we’ve seen it that way because we’ve wanted it to be defined literally: most valuable, period. However, they’ve been consistent in their criteria for MVP, following a 25-year precedent. In the last couple of years, they followed that precedent. So we may question the criteria, but at least they have been consistent. It will become absolutely meaningless if, this year, after 25 years of precedence which was reinforced the past two years, they break this precedent and give it to LeBron.

    Yeah, if the Lakers don’t win this year, they haters will hate even more. But I’m still very optimistic about the next several years, and I think what matters most is what they have to say once he’s done.

  154. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 9, 2008 1:36 pm

    @Ethan B,

    Hey, I appreciate your perspective, too, and have been there as well. It’s a lot easier to be hopeful now that the Lakers’ fortunes seem to have changed so abruptly. But after so many years of frustration, it can be hard to remember that we can have hope, now.

    I just think that being a fan of Kobe should be a joy, not a burden. I cannot but marvel when watching him, and the joy that brings leaves no room for doubt, and therefore no room for anything negative.

    I, too, have recently watched some Kobe Bryant clips on YouTube. And yes, he has already been so abundantly and consistently and overwhelmingly great that it can be easy to forget many of his great moments. And yes, people are quick to forget.

    because if 10+ years of Kobe has taught us anything, that he never ceases to amaze us.

    Exactly. If recent history has taught us anything, it is never to doubt Kobe Bryant.

  155. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 9, 2008 1:50 pm

    @dtrip35,

    That, I think, is the point. And it is the correct perspective.

    Don’t hate on LeBron for having a great game. And it was a great game. (Who cares if it was against New York? Kobe’s 81 was against Toronto, but that doesn’t make it less impressive, because in and of itself, it is an impressive feat, regardless. Same is true of scoring 50 points while handing out 10 assists and 8 rebounds.)

    However, feel free to be outraged towards ESPN and the NBA for unfairly hyping what, for Kobe, would just be considered another game.

  156. Pipo says...March 11, 2008 7:06 am

    I’ve heard some guys saying that Lebron makes his team mates better, but did you know that "Wally’s PER has plummetted from 15.8 to 9.1 while Larry Hughes’ has soared from 11.8 to 15.3. Wallace’s has dropped from 12.0 to 10.9 while Drew Gooden’s has gone from 12.7 to 15.0." and don’t forget about joe smith… Is there anyone who belives  that Bron Bron makes his team mates better?
     He’s game is like "get out of my way", and if this doesn’t work there’s allways someone free to kick the ball out… That’s a hell of a unselfish game…

  157. Marcus says...March 13, 2008 11:05 am

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-GreatestSGs
    Kobe was named #2 on greatest shooting guards behind only MJ, ahead of the Logo. I think what they wrote about each player (especially Kobe) was pretty true, and interesting.

  158. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 13, 2008 11:08 am

    @Marcus,

    I actually enjoyed that article quite a bit, and agreed with most of what was written. And I can even handle those who put the Logo before Kobe (for now… I think it won’t even be a discussion by the time Kobe’s done).

  159. Marcus says...March 13, 2008 11:34 am

    I wonder where Lebron would rank in the top small forwards as of now? Even better question, where will he rank once his career is over? Past Dr. J? Past Scottie Pippen? Past Larry Bird? Past James Worthy? Not to knock on Lebron…but I wonder how high he would rank?

  160. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 13, 2008 3:09 pm

    @Marcus,

    That’s a great question, and I’ll be interested to see what they do with that. Looks like they’ve done all four of the other positions already, so the SF position must be coming soon. Honestly, if LeBron makes Top 5, I’ll be disappointed. We’re talking not just skill, but greatness. 5 years with no rings and one easy trip to the Finals, in which you got stomped and didn’t perform well, doesn’t make greatness.

    Dr. J, Pippen, and Bird, at the very least, are all ahead of him. And I’m certain there are several others who should be on that list, as well.

    I await the final position rankings with baited breath. Don’t disappoint me (again), ESPN.

  161. dtrip35 says...March 13, 2008 6:44 pm

    @pipo

    very interesting observation… i would how hollinger would react to that, man that guy kills me

  162. Josh Tucker (The Apologist) says...March 13, 2008 9:05 pm

    @Pipo,

    I agree, that’s a great observation. I’ve looked into that a little more, and found that Larry Hughes’ performance dropped significantly once he joined Cleveland, and he’s not the only one. There are several players who played very well before coming to Cleveland, “mysteriously” dropped off in Cleveland, and then “got better” after leaving Cleveland.

    I’ve also briefly looked into the same for Kobe, and in the limited instances I looked at, the opposite was true. Hmmm…

    There is definitely an article in this. And soon.

  163. [...] Kobe hater is the fan of another great player. I’ve mentioned in the comments on my site that it’s natural for a fan to get excited when they see one of their own becoming one of the greats. The natural reaction is to want that to [...]

  164. rana says...March 21, 2008 10:01 am

    This will be my first time to post on this site, though I am sure it won’t be the last. The reason I took so long is that I made it a point to read through all the comments before commenting myself.

    I am a Kobe fan. I have been a Kobe fan since he got drafted. I have been a Kobe fan through the rape case, the flying elbows, the parking lot rants, etc, etc. I do, however, respect LeBron James and recognize him as possibly the best athlete in the world – but not the best basketball player in the world.

    Looking at LBJ’s size, and especially the way he plays, I believe he is more suited for football. In fact, he did play football in highschool. I think he quit because he did not want to be injured. Kobe, on the other hand, is a pure basketball player. I can bore you with the details but the bottom line is that right now, as of this moment, KB24 is the best basketball player in the planet. This has been said by the coaches, the players, the GMs, even by the media, as biased as they are.

    What really perplexes me is how whenever Kobe does something bad, it is magnified about a million times. I remember when he was undergoing trial, it was plastered all over the news. And then, when LeBron got checked for that ticket, all it got (at least here in the Philippines) was a microscopic newspaper piece. What I remember most about this affair is how Kobe publicly apologized about the rape case, in front of the media, with his wife, while LeBron sounded rather unapologetic and in fact admitted that he MIGHT commit the same offense in the future (I’m not sure of the article but I do remember what he said). To me, that does not sound like the clean cut, I’m-a-saint LeBron James that the NBA has cultivated. Of course, a speeding ticket and a rape trial are of very different magnitudes, but the bottom line is that Kobe was humble enough to admit his mistake, while LeBron probably thinks that Kings deserve special attention.

    Also, whenever LBJ does something remarkable, it is so magnified that people begin to think that it is amazing. Case in point: the 50 point game against the Knicks. In case people had forgotten, Kobe scored 52 points the day before – against a significantly better team  – the Mavs. I mean, come on. It’s the Knicks. It’s not like he did something superbly magnificent. Kobe, on the other hand, scored his season high against a winning team, and further solidified the Lakers position in the ultra-competitive West.

    Which brings me to another, albeit washed up, point. If Kobe did not win the MVP award last year and the year before - when he led a bunch of nobodies to the playoffs in the WEST – then LeBron does not merit the award this year. He’s doing what Kobe has been doing for the past years, and if he gets the award when Kobe did not, it would not only be a serious miscarriage of justice – it would show that indeed, there is a conspiracy to deny Kobe the award, which I believe he has more than earned this season.

    To conclude, I just want to say that Kobe Bryant, the best player on the planet, deserve the MVP this season. And if he does not receive it, then I would like to see him go all the way to the Finals just to spite all those who shunned him.

    Thanks very much.

  165. <SPAN class=comment-sorter-author>kbdisliker</SPAN> says...March 26, 2008 2:32 am

    First, great site!  I don’t agree with many of the opinions, but at least there is a structured attempt to back up the highly subjective opinions.

    The fact that so many people idolize Kobe is a disgusting reflection of our society…maybe even deeper…a disgusting reflection of the selfishness within humans.  Kobe should be abhorred, but instead he is revered by many because he is an individualist.  In Kobe’s mind the end justifies the means, the same goes for all Kobe lovers.  Let me explain

    A few days ago the Lakers played Golden State.  Fisher took the final shot in regulation.  I believe it was a good shot, given the circumstances.  As Fisher was shooting it, Kobe was already throwing his hands down in disgust.  As he was shooting it… What kind of teammate does this? I have seen Kobe behave this way countless times.  For some strange reason it is accepted and it is not talked about often.  Why?  Are these characteristics of a leader?

    I wish their was a statistic kept for how often a player overtly displays emotions that are counter to team cohesiveness.  I guarantee Kobe would win (at least when we are talking about the greats)

    Ironically I think the Lakers are playing well partially because Kobe is so selfish.  I think the team (everyone minus Kobe) has become closer because of Kobe’s negativity…it has nothing to do with Kobe being a leader (he does have a few characteristics of leader, but he is missing some very important ones.)

    I hope nobody forgets about how Kobe wanted to leave the Lakers.  Now the Lakers are playing well and it is somehow his team.

    How wrong was Kobe about Bynum? Shouldn’t that be factored in when we speak about great players?

    Sure Kobe has said some really nice things about his teammates…he even defended Kwame, but taken as a whole he is very inconsistent with teammate support.  You never know what Kobe is going to show up.  Just look at Kobe’s reactions over the last three years towards his teammates.  Would a true leader be so volatile?

    I know many players complain about not getting foul calls, but does anyone do it as often as Kobe? I know many players complain and even so called "good guys" such as Duncan, I can see his eyes popping out of his head right now.  But if we quantified it I believe Kobe would have more complaints than any other comparable player and not only that he is blatantly wrong half the time! 

    The last time I checked he was leading the league in T’s.

    Last thought
    I have seen Kobe screw up on defensive rotations many times, what sickens me is how he does not believe he makes mistakes.  Watch him on defense and observe him talking to Lamar or Luke after he thinks they are the ones who made the rotational mistake.  This is why I love Tivo…in the replays it is obvious Kobe does not know what he is talking about.

    Kobe is an extremely gifted basketball player, but his self centeredness is at an even higher level, which is why he will never be the consummate basketball player.

  166. khandor says...March 26, 2008 6:21 am

    re: Kobe’s reaction to Fisher’s last shot attempt

    IMO this action resulted from the fact that D-Fish broke the original play call and, in the process, ended up taking a much more difficult shot than what was dictated by the specific situation … i.e. by stepping through the double-team and shooting a 25′ runner when Fish had teammates open for an uncontested ‘Catch & Shoot’.

    Was it a reaction of frustration?

    No doubt.

    In this instance, however, one not born of selfishness … but from the need to make the ‘right play’ as dictated by the situation … which is what Phil teaches and expects of his players.

  167. MVP, But Not Without Weakness : Respect Kobe says...May 15, 2008 11:00 pm

    [...] in the life of RespectKobe.com, reader Pipo made an interesting suggestion for a future article: Kobe Bryant’s weaknesses. I thought it was a great idea, because this [...]


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