I’m at a sports bar, but tonight’s hockey is over and they have to show something on all these hi-def tv’s, so why not NBA? It resembles a sport in many ways.
One thing about the NBA: it’s about the personalities. It’s not Team A versus Team B, it’s Star A and his faithful sidekicks versus Star B and his scrappy companions.
I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the game, but I’ve picked up a few things about the league thanks to writers who are able to make the activity sound way more interesting than it actually is. One thing I’ve learned: Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers will never lose through lack of effort, and he’ll never sit when he can play. You have to respect that, even when sometimes he probably should sit. He would rather lose actively than win passively.
So tonight sports gave way to the NBA, Dallas vs. Los Angeles. I don’t know the numbers of any of the stars, but I watched the ebb and flow of the game with slightly-unfocussed eyes and… I couldn’t spot Kobe. Dallas was winning and I could imagine no scenario which would keep Kobe off the court but one: he was hurt even worse than he was usually hurt (the dude has played through some shit). In response, Dallas has a bunch of tiny little guys running all over the place. They’re fun to watch, even if they aren’t terribly effective.
Interruption from my story: NBA refs are watching a TV monitor to review a call. Really? The only thing this little game has going for it is its flow (until the endless timeouts at the end). Now you want to introduce video review?
To continue the interruption: This game is woeful. It’s close, but only because neither team seems to be able to stop being stupid. It’s not basketball, it’s 1-on-1, 1-on-1, 1-on-1, 1-on-1, 1-on-1.
Back to the original topic. Kobe Bryant is not playing at the moment. He’s sitting with a towel over his shoulders, between men who are obviously not his teammates. So I gotta figure he’s hurt pretty bad. And I have to think he’s not close to his teammates. No sort of “I’m with you all the way, boys!” vibe coming from Kobe’s seat away from the rest of the team.
As I’ve written this, the Lakers have come from behind and overtaken the kids from Dallas, without one of the best players in the history of basketball. And I wonder if, to Kobe’s credit, he knew he wasn’t the guy tonight, and put a towel over his shoulders and sat one row back.
Kobe Bryant hasn’t done much over the years to earn my respect (rhymes with: rape charges settled with money), but if he can learn when to sit during a basketball contest, accept that there are others who can do better (at least for a moment) then perhaps further growth is possible.
But seriously, that’s not going to happen.