Kobe Bryant: When the World Is Not Enough

Robert WilliamsContributor IJune 16, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers holds up the Larry O'Brien trophy and the MVP trophy after the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Game Five of the 2009 NBA Finals on June 14, 2009 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

As I look at Kobe Bryant win the NBA Finals MVP all I can think about is what life could have been for this guy.

He was supposed to have countless endorsement deals, basketball praises from the gods, wealth, fame, and be the face of the NBA. Then I snap out it and realize that this is really his life. His destiny has been fulfilled just like the millions who prophesied it would be.

So why do so many more love to hate him today? What has he done? Who has he killed? The same 17-year-old phenomenom basketball idiolators worshiped 13 years ago has had his reputation stoned to death.

Bryant's praises have gone from being the next torch bearer and all-time basketball great to being a terrible, selfish, ball hogging teammate. His detractors have labeled him as a player who could not win a championship without without Shaq. 

Now that Bryant has shattered that criticism, there is even more anti-Kobe murmuring. His team was to good, they were supposed to win, the Orlando Magic were not a worthy opponent. People can't give a great player his due. People can't leave off the court issues off the court. People can't leave the past in the past.

Many argue justly that Bryant is part or mainly responsible himself for having so many detractors in this world. Yes, Kobe did have his hand in souring a hell of a tag team. Kobe did burn some bridges. Kobe did think he could do it by himself. Kobe did request a trade from an organization and fan base who stuck by him during his scrutinized personal issues.

However, Kobe matured and stayed in L.A.

He did become a better teammate. Kobe did repair many of those burned bridges. Kobe did become a better leader. Kobe did work harder for the city of Los Angeles. Kobe did show LeBron, Carmelo, and D-Wade how a multiple champion works in the off season in Beijing last summer. Kobe did take it right on the chin last year against the Celtics only to get back on his feet, rally the troops and lead them to victory this year.   

Still there is a fixation of disliking him.

Many of his haters simply hate him because of events that have nothing to do with basketball. Maybe because he did not marry an African-American woman playing on a ridiculous stereotype that black athletes would rather marry someone of a different race after they have achieved stardom.

Maybe it is the well publicized sexual assault case showcased him as an adulterous bigot. Bryant faced the public and admitted his guilt and was acquitted of all charges. That still was not enough for some because the case involved a Caucasian women.

Michael Jordan, James Worthy, and most notouriously Magic Johnson all have had well pubicized realtionships with women of all races outside of their marriages. But some how Mike continued to be "Air Jordan," James didn't lose is moniker "Big Game James," and for Magic, well lets just say he is still Magic. Wilt Chamberlain even detailed his account of sleeping with over 20,000 women and it only added to his playboy image.

Many others say that it is Bryant's arrogance and his lack of respect for team. I thought he took everyone out to dinner and bought everyone on the Lakers roster $9,000 watches after winning the MVP last year. I thought he took the rap mainly by himself for his team's lack luster performance in the Finals against the Celtics. I thought he had hell of a time with team U.S.A leading them to gold in the Olympics.

Many of these critics forget that there was a time when Michael Jordan wanted out of Chicago. That he initially scolded Phil Jackson and that it took him a while to buy into the Triangle-Offense. People have amnesia when Jordan punched out teammate Steve Kerr in practice and had a hand in getting Doug Collins fired. What about Jordan's well known secret of his excessive gambling. All in all we forgave him.

Why doesn't Bryant get the same respect? Why is the world not enough? Only the man upstairs knows that answer. It seems that we rather crown a king without a championship. To quote a Lil Wayne song: "When it comes down to this recordin', I must be LeBron James if he's Jordan No!, I won rings for my performance, I'm more of a Kobe Bryant of an artist Same coach, same game been startin' Same Triangle offense."

You cannot question Bryant's desire, tenacity, confidence, will, competitiveness, and championships. So hate on him if you please; Kobe is now working on ring to put on his his thumb. HOLLA!


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