In Lieu of Sports, Let’s Talk NBA

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.

4 thoughts on “In Lieu of Sports, Let’s Talk NBA

  1. About the rape charges: Sitting here I don’t know if his accuser was a gold-digger, or a star-struck idiot who tried to reclaim her honor in her own head after the fact, or whether she said ‘no’ and lived through a horrible ordeal. None of us know.

    Kobe’s (I think at the time) fiancee forgave him. (There was a pretty impressive diamond involved, I heard somewhere.) He has satisfied the justice system. The hanging question:

    Was he accused only because he is rich, or did he get away with it only because he is rich?

  2. A second addendum:

    I’m pretty sure I saw Kobe playing later in the game (but I might be wrong; I wasn’t really paying attention – this is the NBA after all), and Dallas won pretty handily in the end. Make of that what you will.

  3. I will allow my kids to have a poster of a WNBA star (if they want), but not an NBA star. Tho the prospect hasn’t arisen yet, and they may just as soon prefer rock stars or (please!) the periodic table.

    • I read recently that the NBA is trying to divorce itself from hip-hop culture, with the glorification of thuggery and criminal activity. For instance, during a shoot for an ESPN commercial, one person was tasked with making sure none of the players were wearing jewelry.

      By your comment, I’d say they have a way to go, but if your kid put up a poster of someone who has risen out of tough circumstances to be a leader and a contributor to his community, that would be a pretty good role model.

      I’m sure there must be some of those. Right?

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