Kobe Bryant: Claims MVP Is a Team Award, But Does He Mean It?

Joel HarriganCorrespondent IMay 12, 2008

Kobe Bryant accepted the (surprisingly) first MVP award of his great career on May 7th 2008 exactly as a super-star should.  He emphasized in the post-game press conference that “this is not an individual award”, giving all the credit to his team mates and even at one point referring to them all as his “brothers.”  His answers were humble, well phrased, polished—exactly what they should have been.  It really proved to a lot of basketball fans out there that Kobe is really starting to mature as a player.  Right?

Am I the only one that didn’t believe a word he said? 

Kobe’s MVP award comes a little less than one year after he demanded a trade from the Los Angeles Lakers and his supposed brothers.  Are we expected to just forget the Kobe from a year ago who requested a trade on the Stephen A Smith show instead of going to his organization and handling the matter privately?  

The Lakers had recently been knocked off by the #2 seeded Suns in the playoffs when Kobe went on the air saying he would like to be traded.  The role of the most valuable player of any team is not to insult or give up on their “brothers” when things become difficult but to support their fellow team mates in any way that they can. 

In Kobe’s case, expressing to the media that he wanted to leave the Lakers was far from the best way of demonstrating his leadership skills. 

I believe that it is when a person is going through a low point in their life that they show their true colors.  So when Kobe sits comfortably with the #1 seed in the West, behind the podium with the MVP trophy he has been waiting his whole career to win, it neither impresses nor fools me when Kobe says that the Lakers have won as a team. 

It is amazing that 15 more regular season wins and a #1 instead of a #7 seed in the playoffs is all it took to turn the team Kobe wanted no part of a year ago into the family he cannot do without at the present.

Did Kobe play like an MVP this season?  Absolutely.  However the only reason his team mates are his brothers right now is they are playing well. If they were not, Kobe would be throwing them under the bus and demanding out of LA.  Some MVP.