Let me tell you, it is absolutely great for Kobe's sake that he FINALLY won a championship without Shaq. While watching this year's finals, I realized something. Kobe is no longer the best player on his team. In fact, considering his potential at this point, he's not even the second or third best player on his team, let alone in the NBA. I don't know why anyone even argues that he can even conceivably be the best player when he's NOT EVEN CLOSE to being the best player on his own team. That honor would go to Pau Gasol, who is also the most talented big man in the game today, and top 3 all time. That says a lot. There have been great passing big men in the past, great shooting big men, big men who had strong post games, big men who were good rebounders, big men who were good at defense, big men who shot a high percentage, and big men who were clutch. There have even been good big men who were good and 2 or 3 of those aspects. But RARELY before have we ever seen a big man who possessed ALL of those aspects.
Much like Gasol, the second best player on the Lakers is far underrated. Lamar Odom is what we in the writing business like to call a franchise player; someone who rises to the occasion time and time again. Combine size, athleticism, precision shooting, a high basketball I.Q., and a knack for coming up with the big play, and you have someone you can win a championship with. How many PFs/SFs are 6'10", long, and can handle the ball like a point guard? How many PFs/SFs are 6'10", long, and can shoot like Larry Bird on fire? How many PFs/SFs are 6'10", long, and are probably the best perimeter defender in the world, and one of the better post defenders?
Combine arguably the two best players in the world with a bunch of great role players who know their role and fit into the system perfectly? A walk in the park for the Lakers against any other team. We're talking about a team flirting with 72-10. We're talking about a team that scores 140ppg a game, and allows only 84ppg (and that's only so high because these guys are such class acts and aren't playing to be bad sports).
With that said, what happened to this year's Lakers? How in the heck did they finish SECOND in the NBA in overall wins, and lose any games in the playoffs? They without a doubt SHOULD HAVE swept Utah and the RIDICULOUSLY DEPLETED Rockets, and still should have swept a tough talented group of Nuggets. How did they almost lose THREE games to the Magic?!?! The Magic were horrendous. Don't let their record fool you, they were bad. In a year the NBA in general was down, how did the Lakers underperform so much?
The answer to all this is (cover your eyes Laker fans) Kobe Bryant. He is notorious for forcing shots, yelling at teammates, trying to scream over Phil Jackson in time outs, causing dissension, killing puppies, and raping women. (Unfortunately, only one of those things is untrue, or at least unsubstantiated. But this is Bleacher Report, so we'll just assume it's true.) Kobe Bryant is the sole reason that North Koreans are starving right now.
And do you know what? All this is coming from a Kobe Bryant FANATIC! I love the guy. Like all other Kobe fans, I would die for him. I try to justify his behavior by any and all means necessary, including passing along rumors to demean other professional athlete's credibility to justify the Black Mamba's, regardless the degree of truth there is to them, which there is no way I could know anyways. I would die for Kobe Bryant. I would kill for Kobe Bryant. I would prostitute myself out for Kobe Bryant. This is how much I, and every other Kobe Bryant fan's attitude is toward him. I have just had an epiphany about him.
But regardless of all this, Kobe, I want you to know that I still love you unconditionally (even if you do something heinous like rape some defenseless woman) and I hope you play forever.