On Thursday night, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics, 83-79, in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. As a result, the Lakers won their 16th championship, one shy of tying the Celtics for the most titles by a NBA team.
However, the talk on Twitter and Facebook wasn’t about the sloppy play and poor shooting that will make this game one of the worst Game 7’s or deciding games in NBA Finals history.
It was the continued deep-seated hatred towards Kobe Bryant. That hatred is warranted, but there is no one who can’t doubt or rip how good of a player he is, even on a bad night like Thursday. I’ve said before and I’ll hearken back to it: you may hate someone, but you have to give that person props for achieving success, no matter how much you can’t stand it. No, his off-court transaction (rape) does not factor into his performance on the court. The NFL inducts players into their Hall of Fame for what they did on the field, not off of it. The NBA views their Hall of Fame in the same light.
Don’t get me started on Cooperstown. That’s a 600-word blog in itself.
As far as the discussion whether Bryant should be compared to one Michael Jordan, if Kobe shouldn’t be compared to Jordan, then everyone shouldn’t be compared to NBA legends. That includes LeBron James, who has yet to win a title. LeBron’s no Jordan, Magic, Wilt, or George Mikan either.
Kobe may not be in Jordan’s “rarefied air,” but he does exudes everything Jordan did on the floor.
-Killer instinct: Jordan put his foot on an opponent’s throat and crushed that guy’s windpipe. Kobe has his foot on an opponent’s throat and suffocates that guy long enough to make him pass out.
-Play to win: When it comes down to the playoffs, Bill Russell, Jordan, and Bird to name a few, played to win. Kobe doesn’t give a damn what you think of him, much like Jordan. He came to win the game. Not clown around like LeBron and his merry band of Cavaliers.
-The last guy to have the ball: either they make or miss the game-winning shot, superstars are not afraid to say “give me the ball” at crunch time.
You can continue to hate Kobe all you want. He’s not MJ, but you need to take that up with the so-called “experts” who have the stats and the history to back them up. Just remember two important stats of the night:
5th NBA title, 2 without Shaq.
You have to give Kobe Bryant props and some respect. I was never a Magic Johnson fan, but I grew to respect him as a player. I couldn’t stand Charles Barkley back then. Today, I don’t miss an interview he does because he’ll say anything to get my attention.
In due time, you’ll learn to do to same.
If you’re willing to.
Without being in denial.
Or something like that.