Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kobe the Leader.

Lakers celebrate 15th NBA championship with a parade in Los Angeles

Watch Kobe.
Please do.

There is no better closer, no better player, and we are all witnesses to that in this upcoming Finals. Could he lose? Absolutely. Could he win? Surely. But either way, we must appreciate the player he is, and not constantly break down his game into various understandable parts, because that is not an honest way one can examine a player whether it be Kobe or Michael Jordan. We must accept, Bryant's successes and his failures, the good with the bad, and as we can see from so many NBA superstars, simply duplicating Bryant's good qualities isn't enough.

For the past month and a half, we've heard how much better better Kobe made Lebron during the Olympics, because Bron was able totake notes on Kobe's work ethic and seeing how much Kobe committed himself to the defensive end. The results were clear, the simple tweaks to Lebron took from Bryant made him into an MVP, and as Bill Simmons noted, everyone from that team reached some level of Superstar status. That's great.

Kobe's best competitors were able to pick his brain, and takeout things they liked the most, but leave other parts behind. The simple idea being, individually I'll be more like Kobe, however I hate the teammate that Kobe is, so I'll leave that part out. We apply this principle to most things in life, women, jobs, cars, because upgrading is fun. But in basketball its a big mistake.

This is why Lebron is sitting at home and Kobe is in the NBA Finals. Lebron, upgraded his game, but decided that Kobe's team mindset was too hard on his teammates, and his ability to not trust his teammates, was nothing to replicate. So instead, Lebron made everything fun, and happy for his sidekicks, and in return his teammates liked him.

Lebron literally made friends. However, this is probably the worst perspective you can ever have on a team game. If every teammate you have is your friend, and everyone likes to have fun that is fueled by you're success, that's not a team. That's a Lebrontourage:

I bet that there is rarely any accountability, for anyone in that locker room because Lebron's buddy buddy relationship with everyone, keeps him from telling others when they screwed up. When times are good, everyone is happy, but when Lebron has basically given up all that he has, and its not enough, no one has focused enough on their own game to be able to step up. Simply, everyone is merely standing around watch Lebron vs. Box and 1.

Kobe on the other hand, demands winning from his teammates. Is he their friend, yes, but rarely. Is he their leader who demands perfect exectution? All the time, and this is the way it should be. There should be no goofing around during pre-games (see pregame introductions) and no accompanying you to clubs and basking in your glow (see Damon Jones last year). This causes other players to over value their worth, really why do they deserve to have a make believe camera placed on them during warmups? What did they ever accomplish?

And second, if causes your teammates to rely on you on the court, the same way how they rely on you off the court? Allow them to become their own people and establish their own fan bases who'll love that one cog so much that they'll admire literally a role player. The ancient saying is, "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link." Well what exactly does it say when your weakest link, believes that he's now a star who's mere presence on the court has earned him a reputation.

So what exactly, does Kobe do differently? Bryant does exactly what all the rest of the greats do, yell, scream, and bark, at teammates until they eventually get the point that execution is the only thing that matters. Micheal Jordan was by far one of the worst teammates ever:

But they still won! Fun, can only be had after you get yourself a ring. Kobe knows this. Even fun lovable Shaq went all Ivan Drago on his mates before winning, and guess who received the brunt of it? You guessed it, Kobe:

“What surprised me about Shaquille during our early days in Los Angeles was how frustrated he got,” said former Lakers GM Jerry West. “He was not fun to be around. The shortcomings of our team and his teammates made him angry because he knew he was going to be judged on how much we won.”

How angry?

Just months before Jackson arrived, O’Neal had slapped Bryant during a pickup game at the Laker practice facility.

So now to win on his own, Kobe must inflict the same pressure, and demand for perfection on his own teammates. Its almost a right of passage for winning in this league when you're the top dog who's sniffed the title and the rest of your teammates are just along for the ride.

Next year, after seeing Kobe potentially win another title, Lebron will change. Yes, he'll shake hands after games, but really you'll see a different Lebron. One who is let's his emotions control not only his own play, but also of the entire team. You'll see a Lebron who is a leader.

[Shaq slapped Kobe]

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