Suns-Lakers: Kobe Steals the Show

Tim CroleySenior Analyst IFebruary 21, 2008

Shaq made his debut last night with the fourth NBA team of his career.  One slight difference with this debut than the previous three was that his team lost.

Kobe continued the same magic he always has with his one and only NBA team, the Los Angeles Lakers.  He scored 40+ points for the 90th time in his career while gaining another win.

Yeah, everyone loves the feud that has come between these two super egos.  Everyone eagerly awaits to see what one will say about the other, as their teams square-off.  Both have apparently tired from the trash talk and now refuse to say anything at all when prompted by the media.

It was only a few years back when Shaq could be quoted as saying that Kobe was the best basketball player in the world.  He further went on to say that he would never play for anyone other than Phil Jackson, but I guess that was all in the heat of the moment.

Kobe remained silent through most of this; his performance on the court spoke louder than words.  I wouldn’t say he’s the best model citizen by any means, but he has done nothing but continually push himself to become the best NBA player, a feat that grows harder with each new class of young athletes entering the league.

After teaming up with Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat, Shaq’s fourth NBA championship seemed to finally allow the water to pass under the bridge; at least from his viewpoint.

Kobe still remains the face of the Lakers’ franchise, with new talent thrown into the mix every year.  His intensity has further been fueled by the fact that he has yet to lay hold of the championship without former “big brother” Shaq.

Now as Shaq joins the star-studded Suns’ line-up, similar to the one he had around him in Los Angeles, it appears as if he has been reborn to make one last run at the glory.

Kobe, as with last night’s game, may have the last laugh in the end.  He has two things in his corner that Shaq does not.  Kobe still has several years of playing left, while Shaq may have two good years after this one (if he’s lucky).   Also, the talent surrounding Kobe is younger than the surrounding talent of Shaq’s team.

Don’t get me wrong, Shaq looked like a man reinvented last night.  His numbers were not the best, but he did offer a solid contribution.  He seemed to play with a little reckless abandonment; most notably when he dove for a lost ball and ended up in the front row.


The game was very entertaining, even for a guy that's thought the NBA has been sub-par for several years.  I must admit that was the best performance I have seen from the NBA in a while.

I was thoroughly impressed with what I saw from every angle.  Young guys draining shots and old guys swishing the net as well.  Sharp passes, the way they are supposed to be made (even a couple of great passes by Shaq himself).

Kobe made his usual ridiculous three-point shot with the shot clock expiring, and in the end, he stole the show that was to be Shaq’s coming out party.

The Suns have seemed to own the Lakers, and Bryant, for some time.  But now, even with the Big Man on board, Kobe stepped it up and declared that he no longer fears the Suns, or any other team in the NBA.  Kobe is simply a man on a mission with much to prove.

Shaq was the story leading up to the game but in the end Kobe simply took over.