It is terribly difficult to try and put yourself in the gargantuan shoes of Kobe Bean Bryant. Sasquatch's feet have nothing on the size of the shoes Bryant wears everyday.
To begin to understand what it must be like to be Bryant, here's a scenario for you:
You're a high school graduate who discovered alcohol, cigarettes, pot, and women too early, nearly flunked yourself out of sophomore year, and had to go to the local community college to right your wrongs.
When your parents decide not to fund your schooling until you get your act together, you get a 3.9 GPA while graduating on the dean's list, and get accepted to NYU.
Unfortunately, your sister has done this all along, and as a result you're held to her standard no matter how good you do, and the fact that you're working on your dissertation for a doctorate.
Need I say more?
Can we say, "resentment?"
That's what it seems like. Bryant resents the public because what they have collectively done to his psyche.
He doesn't smile at the media as much as he used to. His comments are always serious, short, and extremely concise to the point where there's not really much to dissect.
When Bryant speaks at the podium, don't expect Phil Jackson's sly humor, LeBron James' hubris, or Dwyane Wade's heartthrob-like charisma.
Bryant's just a man on a mission—a mission to not have to hear about his past failures, such as being an underachieving high-school freshman, but to be revered for his attention to detail and contributions to the game.
A mission to finally stop comparisons to the game's best player of all-time, Michael Jordan, and to just be No. 24 for the Lakers.
A mission to evolve as he evolves, and to let his past failures speak for his present and future development.
For now, it's resulted in a sixth NBA Finals appearance, and a chance for a fifth ring, one behind Jordan.
As the Los Angeles Lakers get ready to square off in the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics tonight for the second time in three years, there's many myths going around about Bryant that need clarification.
As the best player since Jordan (James needs WAY more time) Bryant has had to endure an enormous amount of controversy and negative perception due to nothing.
Maybe it's his on-court swagger, or undeniable will to win.
Whatever it is, people love to hate a man who has done nothing but hold a multi-billion dollar business in the palm of his hand.
Out of the many myths the media and naysayers would like you to believe, here's five that are circulated the most, but bite the "tru" out of truth.
5. Kobe Bryant Talks the Most Crap On the Court
Not true. Period.
In fact, this title belongs to the Celtics' Kevin Garnett, hands down.
Media and players alike have criticized Garnett for using profanities, and the "n" word on the court repeatedly, and always having something to say when he does something good.
Bryant on the other hand has been known to bark at his teammates, but has evolved as a subtle assassin in regard to himself.
Instead of talking, Bryant has patented the "Bryant Face," in which he does when he is abusing your defense (see Game Three vs. Utah) or doing something obvious to your coach (see what he does to Alvin Gentry Game Six vs. Phoenix).
Talking, though? Not much as people think unless you're Joey Crawford.
4. Bryant Aspires to Be Michael Jordan
Yawn. No he doesn't.
If he did, he would've bolted from L.A to Chicago, suited up with the number six to pay homage and tried to make Derrick Rose Scottie Pippen and Joakim Noah Horace Grant.
Sounds potentially like someone else we know...
3. Bryant Is A Rapist and Terrible Role-Model
Really? Where's the conviction, then?
The court of public opinion notwithstanding, no court in America has found the man guilty of rape, but the public still blames him for it.
There's no rationale to that.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the case, Bryant did something many men refuse to do.
Publicly embarrassed himself on national television, crying and admitting he committed adultery but absolutely did not rape that woman.
Would someone want their child to be an adulterer? Absolutely not.
Would someone want their child to have the conviction of humiliating himself in front of a national audience to vent their sorry's and frustrations. Yes.
2. Bryant Was Just A Sidekick to Shaquille O'Neal For Their Three Titles
This myth is a popular one. Here we go.
Kobe Bryant Playoff Statistics- 2000-2002
57 Games, 25.3 PPG, 44 percent FG, 6.9 RPG, 5.1 APG
Shaquille O'Neal Playoff Statistics- 2000-2002
58 Games, 29.2 PPG, 55 percent FG, 14.1 RPG, 3.1 APG
What sidekick averages 25-plus points per game and nearly seven rebounds per game on a championship team for the entire playoffs?
Pau Gasol? Nope. Manu Ginobili? Nope. Ray Allen?
You get the point.
1. Bryant Wouldn't Be the Star He Is Had the Lakers Not Traded For Him
This myth is the new way to diminish Bryant's accomplishments, but is actually the least feasible and least potent debate ever.
There's absolutely no way to interpret this or figure it out where it is debatable in any arena amongst people with no bias and common sense.
In other words, you have to either be someone who is speaking out of lack of knowledge or just a low-down, dirty hater. That's it.
How could this make any sense?
Let's examine some scenario's that would fit this silly criteria:
What if Michael Jordan would've been drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers and not the Chicago Bulls?
What if the Atlanta Falcons never traded Brett Favre?
What if Michael Vick wasn't just plain dumb?
What if ESPN hadn't hired Bill Simmons?
What if Bryant "Big Country" Reeves wasn't drafted by the then Vancouver Grizzlies?
You can get together with like five sports-friendly debaters and do this all day, but there's something my mom said that I actually listened to as a child.
"Don't focus on what-if's. Only on what is."
As it is, Bryant has had the best career in the NBA since Jordan and may win his fifth ring in two weeks or less and is in the discussion for best Laker ever.
My friend, that's no myth.