Kyrie Irving won the 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year and has ultimately begun the process of feeling himself out. After a Team USA scrimmage, Irving thought it smart to challenge one of the greatest players of all time, Kobe Bryant, to a one-on-one showdown for $50,000 to the winner's charity.
Why Irving? Why must one of the earliest landmark showings of your career be a virtually un-winnable battle against the Black Mamba?
Why must you mutilate the perception of your game before it has yet to be adequately written?
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ new front man has the ignorance that comes with being a young player. The word “ignorance” comes with such a negative connotation that people have forgotten what the true meaning is, which is lacking knowledge or awareness.
It isn’t that Irving is ignorant to how great of a player Kobe is, or what he’s accomplishment throughout his career in the league.
Irving is ignorant to his own shortcomings. He’s ignorant to the areas in which he has yet to develop and in how many ways his talent is inferior to Bryant’s.
After dropping the first two games of the series against the Spurs in San Antonio, the Thunder were still in good shape in their minds. The perception from the public, filled with people who knew better, was that the Spurs were on their way to a sweep and subsequently the 2012 NBA Finals.
This didn’t affect the Thunder because this was a franchise plagued by the ignorance of their limitations.
The team played with the ease that comes with being comfortable. The Thunder are incredibly athletic, offensively potent and cohesive. Regardless of how the Spurs played, according to them, their best would consistently be enough to trump the effort from their competitor.
Back to Kyrie Irving. This is the same ignorance that he holds. He knows how great he is as a basketball player and, therefore, Bryant’s effort in a one-on-one matchup is irrelevant.
The rest of the world knows he’s not supposed to win, but he has yet to master the experience that comes with realization that this is a fight he doesn’t want to pick. He’s fearless.
The only problem? Kobe’s own fearlessness and ignorance to his limitations as well. Bryant is older, slower, less agile and less athletic than Irving.
Yet, this is a man who proclaimed that his 2012 Olympics squad would beat out the Dream Team. Fans know better.
Still, Bryant maintains the ignorance of a young baller that keeps him as the face of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise, though reports may put him on the downward slope of his career.
It’d be an intriguing game to watch, though I suspect we all know the outcome. Both are incredibly fearless, but only Kobe’s talent supersedes.