NBA Conundrum: Hating LeBron And Loving Kobe?

After writing a piece on why in my estimation LeBron James was the league MVP, it wasonly natural for me to expect a huge contingent of Lakers fans to throw jabs at me telling me to get off LBJ’s scrotum, not because they felt as though I was biased towards him; but rather because I chose to write a piece detailing the Heat star’s place in the league without mentioning Kobe Bryant. I fully comprehend that not all Lakers fans are as such; but far too often they get defensive when praise is thrown at the Akron product. It seems as though they take it as personal attack to the Black Mamba that people might potentially see that the best player in the league is someone other than Bryant.


So as a result, I feel compelled to include Kobe Bryant’s name in the discussion but not for the reasons mentioned above. Instead, I’m throwing a nice little curve ball to Lakers fans: the reasons for which you hate LeBron James are the exact same reasons why you love Kobe Bryant. As Tupac once said: “this is the realest sh*t I ever wrote”.

The other day a Lakers fan (I won’t post his name and give him any type of publicity) posted on his Facebookwall that he had no respect for LeBron James because he quit on the Cavaliers in last year’s Eastern CofnerenceSemi Finals against the Celtics. I then posted a reply stating that Kobe Bryant had done the exact same thing a few years ago in Game 7 against the Phoenix Suns. His reaction? This person proceeded to block me on Facebook because I struck a nerve. Imagine what would have happened if I had mentioned Game 6 of the 2008 Finals against the Celtics.But wait there’s more.

In the summer of 2007, it seemed as though Kobe Bryant had granted interviews to practically every sportswriter out there in which he stated his desire to be traded from the Lakers because they had failed to surround him with adequate talent. Mitch Kupchak then orchestrated a coup in acquiring Pau Gasol, which more than satisfied Kobe’s thirst to have quality elite help on his team. James left Cleveland to go to another team with the hope of having the same quality elite type of help on his team in order to win a championship; and yet he was branded as a sidekick that just could not carry the load.

In 2007, Kobe emptied every bullet in his gun as he tried to shoot his Lakers past the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs as he averaged 32.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists in five games. The sad reality was that Steve Nash’s Suns were just too talented for the former Lower Merion star to take them all alone. But he was still treated with respect for trying his damned best to will his team to victory against a team that completely outmatched his. Coincidentally, the same happened to LeBron’s Cavaliers in the 2009 playoffs as he averaged an insane 35.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 7.3 assists through 14 games but was defeated by a Magic team that just seemed to have more talent than the Cavs. And yet, James was treated as a loser because his team lost to Dwight Howard’s Magic.

Aren’t the similarities intriguing? Let me put it to you this way: just because we refuse to accept the similarities between say Justin Bieber and Michael Jackson; it doesn’t mean that they are not there. Hate him or love him, Biebs (as the people in the streets call him) has captivated the world at a young age with his music and has become a global icon. Once again, some of you might not like the comparisons, but they do hold up to a certain extent (you know the apocalypse is near when Justin Bieber has a street name).

Before we go, let me make the comment all of you: “Hey, at least Kobe didn’t have the ridiculous idea for The Decision”. Fair point, but then again LeBron James was not accused of sexual assault. Let the record show that Mr. Bryant was never actually exonerated from all charges. So I ask you Lakers fans, just who exactly is it that you despise so much? The facts seem to prove that you despise a player that is individually the mirror image of the guy you root for. Just food for thought.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at Shyne@Sbgorillas.com. You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name ShyneIV.

2 Comments:

All Day E'ry Day Sportz said...

"In 2007, Kobe emptied every bullet in his gun as he tried to shoot his Lakers past the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs as he averaged 32.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists in five games. The sad reality was that Steve Nash’s Suns were just too talented for the former Lower Merion star to take them all alone. But he was still treated with respect for trying his damned best to will his team to victory against a team that completely outmatched his. Coincidentally, the same happened to LeBron’s Cavaliers in the 2009 playoffs as he averaged an insane 35.3 points, 9.1 rebounds and 7.3 assists through 14 games but was defeated by a Magic team that just seemed to have more talent than the Cavs. And yet, James was treated as a loser because his team lost to Dwight Howard’s Magic."

Kobe had entered that 2007 season with the Lakers as a 3-time champion, playing for a franchise that is no stranger to victory. I think alot of fans cut Bryant slack for a few years, 'cause they weren't hungry for a title like Cleveland was/is. Furthermore, it was only his third go in "the man" role that year. If Kobe and the Lakers to date hadn't won any 'chips since Shaq left, I think Kobe would've got much similar treatment to LeBron if he proposed a trade and made a decision to form a super team. (And it's easy to say that the 2009 Orlando Magic 'seemed to be more talented than the Cavs' after the fact but VIRTUALLY NO ONE had them winning that series. The Magic got pushed to Game 7 against the Celtics w/o K.G. while Cleveland, owner of the NBA's best record, swept through the first two rounds of the playoffs unblemished.)

J.M. Poulard said...

I feel your points but I for one saw that Orlando was much more talented than that Cavs team at the time. Cleveland benefitted from the fact they played a few weak teams that season. The reason the Magic always struggle against the Celtics is because the Cs have terrific interior defenders (even without KG) to "limit" Dwight.

My main point is that LeBron's new found status as a villain has caused several people to become revisionists and now claim that Kobe has always been the standard of excellence which he has not been. Both players are flawed and have displayed this to us in many forms and yet we now glamorize one at the expense of the other because the public opinion has shifted because of "The Decision". I liken it to Terrel Owens a bit: extremely talented but very controversial. Consequently, we forget about all of his gifts and instead focus on his transgressions (no matter how small) as opposed to giving him credit for some of his accomplishments.

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