Nike Basketball’s new ‘Count on Kobe’ commercial is receiving positive responses from Kobe’s fans, Kobe’s skeptics and even people with nothing invested in NBA basketball.
The official video has nearly two million views on YouTube and is on its way to 6,000 likes. Thanks to Kobe Bryant, one of the NBA’s most marketable stars in a league loaded with talent, Nike Basketball has no trouble being a juggernaut in terms of selling merchandise.
If we were to pit the script of the ‘Count on Kobe’ commercial against reality, though, would some of the claims stack up accordingly?
For those of you who have never seen the commercial, or perhaps for those who simply want a refresher, here’s the video:
“This is how the world works: the sun shines, the grass grows, Kobe Bryant arrives to practice at 3:00 (p.m.)… the other 3:00 (a.m.).”
There’s no logical argument available if you’re trying to denounce Bryant’s work ethic. Bryant is having one of the best seasons of his entire career at 34 years old. That doesn’t happen if you have the work ethic of a guy like JaMarcus Russell.
I doubt that Bryant’s routine is to arrive at practice at 3:00 a.m. (because that’s insane). However, he’s been one of the hardest workers in the NBA for a long time, and it has shown with his career performance. His conditioning and footwork at his age are unmatched (except for perhaps Karl Malone, who played at least 80 regular season games in 17 of his 19 professional seasons, which is inhuman).
What sets Bryant apart is the fact that he prides himself on his work ethic. According to Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld, Bryant once said, “Now, honestly, I don’t know why I work as hard as I do. I guess I enjoy it. I think that’s the thing that I’m most proud of, is that I enjoy it and work hard, it’s been a lot of years that I’ve worked.”
Not only does Bryant have a great work ethic, but he’s also kept the trend going over a long career.
As a matter of fact, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times, even Bryant’s former teammate Shaquille O’Neal respects and admires his work ethic via his book, Shaq Uncut.
Considering that Shaq and Kobe don’t see eye to eye (and maybe never did), it’s telling that O’Neal would admit to admiring an aspect of Bryant.
Finally, in the Kobe-being-Kobe quote department, Bryant said in November that the younger generation of NBA players have similar work ethics because they grew up watching him play, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
"Just by observation of some of the younger players that I face now, they wind up having a similar mentality that I had," Bryant said when asked how he has changed the sport during his time as a pro. "Because growing up, they were obviously watching me when I was 21, 22 years old and just kind of by any means necessary get things done, not afraid of the big moment and extremely competitive. They all have these work ethics now and most of them get up at five in the morning to train like I do. It’s pretty cool."
Egotistical? Yes. But true? Most likely.
“Chickens bock, bock, bock. Broccoli can fight cancer. Rice provides energy. Kobe eats rice, broccoli, chicken, and the world turns.”
There’s really not much to say here, as I’ve never sat down at the dinner table with Bryant. In fact, according to former teammate Smush Parker, even Bryant’s Laker teammates didn’t get to sit at the same table, via Rafe Bartholomew of Grantland.com.
Anyway, on a recent interview with Colin Cowherd of ESPN, Bryant detailed his diet consisting of lean meats and cutting down sugars. His eating habits are just one more contributing factor to his longevity in the league.
“Earthquakes shake. Bakers bake. Kobe Bryant shakes and bakes defenders.”
You don’t need me to detail Bryant’s ability to shake and bake defenders, usually while breaking some ankles in the process. I’ll let this video provide that (but note the travel when he crosses up Tayshaun Prince):
“Philosophers ponder existence. Scholars read. Kobe Bryant takes everyone to school.”
As Bryant gets older, more mature and wiser, his game just seems to get better and better. There will be a time when Kyrie Irving, John Wall and others will take the proverbial NBA torch. However, right now, Bryant is the professor and other NBAers are his students.
“Rain falls; waterfalls dump water; Kobe owns the bucket… That bucket.”
30,726 points and counting… Need I say more?
“Snakes are light, low and fast. Kobe’s shoes are like snakes.”
Well, the commercial does a nice job of making Bryant’s kicks look like snakes. Additionally, sneakerheads will agree that Bryant’s shoes are among the few that still embrace the low-top style.
“Bees sting when threatened. Kobe Bryant is never threatened.”
For the most part, it’s true to say that Bryant is never threatened on the basketball court. He’s a five-time NBA champion who never shies away from taking clutch shots to either tie or win the game.
However, according to 82games.com, from 2003-2009 Bryant shot 14-of-56 from the field in game-tying or game-winning situations. That equates to a field-goal percentage of 25 percent. That was a lower percentage in crunch time than Vince Carter, Ben Gordon and even NBA has-been Ricky Davis over that same span.
Additionally, Bryant had five turnovers versus one assist in those scenarios. So while Bryant isn’t “threatened” per se, that doesn’t mean he always has success when the game is on the line.
Even so, that doesn’t mean Bryant doesn’t petrify opposing fans when he puts up a potential game-winner.
“Best is ahead of better. The basket is ahead of the ball. Kobe is light years ahead of them all.”
As far as an all-time scale is concerned, Bryant may have reached top-five all-time in NBA history. Regardless of whether he’s unanimously in the top five or not, I think it’s fair to say that Bryant has secured a spot in the top 10.
Considering that Bryant is probably not even the best Laker ever (behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson), saying that “Kobe is light years ahead of them all” is a stretch.
When we narrow the scope even further to current NBA players, ESPN.com’s ranking of every NBA player locked Bryant in at No. 6 overall. That rank puts Bryant lower than LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Derrick Rose.
I encourage you to disagree with that ranking. However, even if Bryant was bumped up a few spots, he can’t be “light years ahead of them all” if he’s not even leading the pack.
“This is the way it was, this is the way it is, this is the way it will be.”
It doesn’t appear as if the struggling Lakers will achieve lofty expectations by winning a championship this season (assuming they make the playoffs first). Another championship for Bryant would give him six rings, tying him with Michael Jordan.
Although that’s certainly Bryant’s goal before retirement, he doesn’t need another ring to be considered one of the best basketball players ever.
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