Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Kobe Kaboom

So maybe L.A.'s just too small a town for two Kobes.

S.O.L. picked an interesting week to be down here in LaLa Land.

Well, y'all know the Kobe of which I speak, the poor under appreciated L.A. Lakers superstud. He's got a new teammate in Los Angeles this season -- George Karl's son Coby, who incidentally was NOT named after either Kobe or a Japanese steer.

The big question is how long the two will actually share a uniform. Since the younger Coby is a rookie draftee, you can rest assured if he goes anywhere, it will be the developmental league. So yeah, crazy as this world is, it's getting crazier here in L.A. while As the Kobe World Turns continues.

For those of you living under a rock, Kobe Bryant announced in a frenzied 24-hour period that he was sick and tired of the Lakers losing ways and he wanted out of Lakerland unless they replaced GM Mitch Kupchak with ex-GM and Kobe father figure Jerry West. Only since West was under an expiring contract with Memphis and since he and Mitch K. are buddies, the Logo got bent out of shape when his protege was called out by his once favored son. Then Kobe seemed to diplomatically back away from his trade request only to raise it again, only with no ifs, ands or basketballs. Whew. Must've been quite a day in the Kobe crib.

The long summer pushed on. Kobe went to play for the U.S. National Team and demonstrated to his superstar teammates that he could actually pass the ball. This news flash did not go unnoticed by his new running mates, some of whom the Black Hole was campaigning Lakers management to bring to L.A. by any means available. No matter that in doing so he completely dissed his current teammates.

The blockbuster trades got done this summer, but the Kid went to Beantown and the other O'Neal stayed put in the Midwest.

So Kobe arrived at Lakers training camp determined to put a happy face on his predicament and collect his paycheck (which is more than tonight's lottery payoff). Poor Kobe. Poor, poor Kobe.

Behind the scenes, apparently, Kobe and the Lakers had agreed to keep the trade request matter under wraps. Then early this week, team owner Jerry Buss told the L.A. Times that he would entertain offers for his disgruntled superstar, not that he expected to get even close to even value in return. However you read it, it was a compliment to Kobe but Kobe cried foul.

In one of his now famous punk ass moves, he asked out of practice three straight days. Philip claims it was "leg fatigue". Right, S.O.L. is having excuse fatigue. The rumor mill went on tilt at the news that Kobe cleaned out his locker, a story he flatly denied. His agent said he was "just organizing" it.

Here's S.O.L.'s take: I think Kobe got wind of the comments and blew a a major gasket. I think he absolutely did clean out his locker in a fit of churlishness. (Looking back from our current perspective of the real Kobe psyche, can anyone now believe that he didn't mail in that second half against Sacramento four seasons ago? Or the 2005 second half in Game 7 against the Suns? Wake up people.

Instead of facing the music like a man and understanding that his own erratic behavior started this whole trade story nonsense, he took his ball and went home.

I think a person could argue that Kobe has about as much talent around him as LeBron James has in Cleveland. Maybe Cleveland is slightly better and plays in the weaker East but if the roles were reversed, James would be thinking about how his talent could make his teammates better not how much better he is than his supporting cast. He certainly wouldn't call out his boys in public, not like this.

I've said it before. Kobe hastened the end of the Shaq era and he's getting exactly what he deserves in return. The Lakers haven't won a playoff series since Shaq left. If Kobe's the best player on the team than why shouldn't he take some of the blame?

Further, his immature blabbering this summer was directed at the team that stood by him in his darkest days, that rehired Phil Jackson to appease him and didn't flinch when he "tested" the free agent waters with the crosstown Clippers when he knew all along he wasn't going anywhere.

I hear fans in L.A. cry that Kobe should be mad that the Lakers haven't done much to make the team better. I agree that Mitch is a lousy GM but how come nobody asks who would want to play with the second coming of Pistol Pete? A moody, selfish, jerk who hogs the ball in the All-Star game so he can improve his own legacy.

If Kobe wants to know what's wrong with his team, all he has to do is look in the mirror.

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