Kobe Bryant: Dumb Jock

Kobe Bryant is a great baller, not a great thinker. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

There are many great sports figures I respect, but only a few I admire. Among that small (and getting smaller) number are Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown and both for their achievements within their chosen endeavors as well as the bravery to stand up as proud and strong Black men no matter what it cost them (and it cost them both plenty).

We should celebrate these men while they are still with us and mourn them when they are gone. Not just because neither boxing or football are the games they were when Ali and Brown towered over them, but because whatever factory of courage produced these American idols has long since shut down the line, closed up shop, and gone out of business.

There are still great sports figures whose achievements want respect, but far fewer whose pride isn’t simply ugly egotism and whose strength fades away when they attempt to express informed opinions on matters they have no grasp of.

Which brings us to Kobe Bean Bryant, the “Black Mamba” and gradually descending star of the Los Angeles Lakers whose 17th season was limited to six games due to injuries. Bryant wasn’t able to slow the lottery-bound Lakers’ descent to the second-worst record in the NBA Western Conference.   Still, while he can’t knock down jumpers, he can lob bricks at his team, his coach, and rivals like the Miami Heat’s LeBron James.

Speaking in a New Yorker profile, Bryant slammed King James for a 2012 photo of the Miami Heat team dressed in hoodies, heads bowed in respectful homage to Trayvon Martin, the teenager slain by vigilante George Zimmerman. Bryant swatted away what he perceived as a knee-jerk attempt by James to show racial solidarity with Martin.

“I won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American. That argument doesn’t make any sense to me. So we want to advance as a society and a culture, but, say, if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society, then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.”

That should be easy.  When has Bryant ever asserted himself as an African-American?

Bryant was born in suburban Philadelphia, but his dad Joe “Jellybean” Bryant moved the family to Italy when Kobe was six. Kobe spent much of his early years outside of the U.S. speaks both Italian and Spanish and got his name from the Japanese beef his parents saw on a restaurant menu and maintains a love/hate relationship with the town of his birth.

 

Kobe’s not completely wrong.  Supporting someone just because they’re Black is the wrong thing to do, but LeBron and the Heat players didn’t support Trayvon Martin because he was Black.   They supported him because he was innocent.  They supported him because he was a victim.  They supported him because Black people who aren’t obscenely wealthy and totally clueless realize superstar status won’t protect them because they are still Black.

Did Kobe not notice there were a lot of White people who were rocking hoodies in support of Trayvon?

I’ve never warmed up to Bryant. Love his game. Hate everything else unrelated to his game. He’s never been a leader, never been an inspiration, never been anyone worth looking up to. He’s a “Me” guy not a “We” guy. It’s all about him and never about anyone else. Kobe, like Michael Jordan, has spent the majority of his life saying nothing about race in America.  He should  keep quiet about subjects he knows nothing about and he knows nothing about Trayvon Martin.

Bryant is a Black men whose identification with how African-Americans experience life is suspect.  This is something Barack Obama was accused of, but Bryant is living the dream where his wealth and success seemingly insulates him from harsh realities.

Brown caught heat last December for criticizing Bryant’s Switzerland approach to race matters.

“He is somewhat confused about culture, because he was brought up in another country,” Brown said on The Arsenio Hall Show . (Bryant spent part of his childhood in Italy, where his father played professional basketball.) “[Bryant] doesn’t quite fit what’s happening in America.”

In the 1960s, Brown pulled together a collection of top black athletes who shared his social activism. “If I had to call that summit all over,” he said, “there would be some athletes I wouldn’t call. Kobe would be one of them.”

Bryant took to Twitter to fire back at Brown with a sneering, “A ‘Global’ African American is an inferior shade to ‘American’ African American?? #hmmm. that doesn’t sound very #Mandela or #DrKing sir.”

It’s impressive Bryant knows who Mandela and King were but he doesn’t get how they laid their lives on the line for the cause of racial and social justice.  Jim Brown did too.  Bryant believes he floats about mundane trivialities of being Black in the post-racial paradise he made for himself.  Kobe is in La-La Land.  His above it all attitude mirrors that of another L.A. based superstar,  O. J. Simpson.

The hoodie is not the problem. The perception of the hoodie is.

Not a Black thing. More like a human thing.

The late sportswriter Ralph Wiley deconstructed the Juice’s attempted Escape From Blackness fantasy in an ESPN column and it still applies to the Black Mamba. “O.J. tried and almost succeeded at being everything but a black guy — and, more important, his own guy.”

“He fooled himself. He fooled white people. But he didn’t fool very many black people. Not the ones who knew him well, anyway.”

Who really knows Kobe Bryant?   Kobe has never before taken a stand on any social issue or controversy in the news.  This is why he kept his mouth shut.  He knew something stupid would fall out of it.

Bryant took to Twitter again, but this time there was a decidedly different message dribbling out of his brain.

“Travon Martin was wronged THATS my opinion and thats what I believe the FACTS showed. The system did not work #myopinion #tweetURthoughts”

Bryant hasn’t asserted himself on yet is the proper spelling on George Zimmerman’s victim. It’s “Trayvon,” notTravon.” You would think a guy named “Kobe” would sweat a detail like that.

It is undeniable Kobe Bryant is among the select few in the history of NBA who as an athlete and winner belongs among the few, the elite and clearly superior talents of the game.

It is equally undeniable he is a supreme jerk off it.

"So what was up with the hoody, man?'

“So what was up with the hoody, man?’

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Bynum Busts Out

The star of “Space Jam” is tanned, rested and ready!

I have a long post I’m working on in observance of the ten year anniversary of the Iraq War and it’s not finished yet,  but I wanted to briefly follow up on  Mr. Andrew Bynum, the Greatest Center Never to Play for the Philadelphia 76ers following the news he will undergo season-ending surgery on is chronically crappy knees.

Philadelphia now has to decide if it will offer the former All-Star center any kind of long-term deal without him ever playing a second for the franchise.

Bynum’s season is officially over, and he’s set for season-ending arthroscopic surgery on both knees Tuesday. He has not played this season because of bone bruises in both of his knees. The 25-year-old is an unrestricted free agent and may never play a game for the Sixers.

Bynum last talked to the media on March 1 and said he would not play in pain or be pressured into playing and risking a potential nine-figure payday.

“I think being healthy is more important than everything else,” Bynum said. “If I am healthy, I’ll get a deal. I have to be able to play and I need to get to the point with my body where I’m able to play, however long that takes.”

“Huh?”

The Sixers can offer Bynum more years and more money than any other team.

They would be damn fools to do so.  Which means they probably will.

I do not care that Andrew Bynum‘s season is over.  What season?  This stiff never played a single solidarity second as a Philadelphia 76er.    I visited the official website of Andrew Bynum at andrewbynum.com.  The site is a big piece of crap like the lazy bastard its named for.  Want to read Andrew’s blog?  “There are currently no blog entries.  Check back soon.”   Yeah, I’ll be sure to do that.  Want to get up to date on Andrew Bynum news?  The last entry is dated December 11,, 2011.   Under the category of “Gameday” there’s a drop-down menu including “Breakfast With Bynum.”  Oh boy!  That sounds exciting.

There are no entries under “Breakfast With Bynum.”  But they are coming soon!

There are  a few small pics of Bynum rocking the gear of his ex-team, the Los Angeles Lakers.   There isn’t a single picture of Bynum in his Sixers colors, which makes sense considering he never played for the Sixers and possibly never will.

Here is a list of NBA 2013-14 free agents.   Find a center and pick one.   Anyone you choose—ANYONE–would be a better player for the 76ers than Andrew Bynum.

I would rather see  J.J. Hickson, Chris Kaman, Tiago Splitter or Al Jefferson rocking the Sixers colors than Andrew Bynum.

I would rather see former Sixers Samuel Dalembert, Marreese Speights, or Elton Brand COME BACK rocking the Sixers colors than Andrew Bynum.

I would rather see Zaza Pachulla, Johan Petro, Andray Blatche, or Ryan Hollins rocking the Sixers colors than Andrew Bynum.

“Hi, I’m Primoz. I got mad skills.”

I would rather see Isaac Austin, Primoz Brezec, Calvin Booth, Zendon Hamilton,  Manute Bol, Sharone Wright or Tony Massenburg rocking the Sixers colors than Andrew Bynum.

I would rather see Mark McNamara, Jeff Ruland, Todd McCullough, Matt Geiger, Efthimios Rentzias, Christian Welp  or Shawn Freakin’ Bradley rocking the Sixers colors than Andrew Bynum.

I would rather see Dwight How….naaaaaaah….can’t do it.

I do not care where Andrew Bynum plays.  He can play in the NBA, the WNBA, the NCAA or NASCAR.  Who cares?

Just don’t pay this zombie a max contract to turn in a performance worthy of Ron Jeremy.

Cut your losses.  Turn the page.  Lose his phone number.   Let someone else play the fool.   Let somebody else be the sucker that gives this occasionally brilliant, but mostly lazy, unmotivated, disinterested, $16 million dollar slacker to loaf, groan he’s in pain and cash his monstrous paychecks.

Do the Sixers need a reminder what the definition of insanity is?    They tried to make a big move and it blew up in their faces.    The Bynum experiment was a complete and total failure.    Thankfully, they had insurance to cover their losses with Bynum, but having avoided a crippling financial blow, do they now want to turn around and stand on the firing line again with this dude?

Goodbye and good riddance Andrew Bynum.  Now the trade of Moses Malone is only the second-worst trade in 76ers history.

“Sure, I suck. But I don’t suck as much as Andy Bynum.”

From Lakers to Fakers

Nowitzki has been called "soft." Soon he might be called "champion."

There’s no shame in losing.  Everybody does.  It’s how you handle the loss that matters.  The Los Angeles Lakers being blown out and swept in four by the Dallas Mavericks means there will be a new champion this year.   It’s just too bad the Lakers decided simply playing terrible in being a lopsided 122-86 massacre wasn’t enough.  They had to humiliate themselves and legendary coach Phil Jackson in what was likely his last game.

Even more remarkable to me was this was the first time I can recall in many years sitting in a room full of family watching a NBA playoff game.   I’m not a Laker hater, but I have grown tired of them.   As I settled into a chair in my brother’s living room I said I expected the Lakers to stave off elimination and win at least one game to send the series back to L.A.

The Mavericks had other plans and executed them to perfection.

Nothing could save the Lakers.  The Mavs strafed them from the outside and penetrated the paint at will as the Lakers’ big men flailed helplessly at the streaking guards.   They looked old, old, old and slow playing lethargic, ugly basketball.  Even Kobe Bryant seemed to know there was no point in trying.

There was no denying the Mavs who essentially gave star player Dirk Nowitzki the afternoon off.  Nowitzki finished with 17 points, but it was the bench players who carved up the non-existent Lakers “D.”  Peja Stojakovic was 6-for-6 in dropping three pointers, but even his perfection took a back seat to Jason Terry’s monster 32 points and 9 out of 10 daggers from deep.   The Lakers never seriously threatened to make the game close and even if they had, they were totally outgunned by the Mavs shooting 60 percent.

The Mavericks not only won, they SWEPT the defending champions!   The Fakers kept saying they let the Mavs off the hook in Games Two and Three.  Pride goes before the fall.  The Mavs  were OFF the hook in Game Four and nobody more so than Jason Terry and J.J. Berea.   If they weren’t stroking sweet threes from the outside, they were slicing up the soft interior of the Fakers in the paint.

Terry shocked the Lakers and shot them right out of the playoffs.

Andrew Bynum’s cheap foul was a punk move and deserving of a nice long suspension and fine next season (if there is a next season.  Pau Gasol played small.  Ron Artest was garbage and Derek Fisher is ancient.   He shouldn’t be a starting point guard anymore.  The bench is garbage.

Kobe needs to hang a “Help Wanted” sign outside the Staples Center.   This team has gone as far as it can go.  Nobody’s scared of the Fakers anymore.  Well, unless they’re afraid of catching a stray elbow somewhere it might hurt.

I watched the game in a room full of people including some kids and we were ALL disgusted by  Bynum’s thuggery and the sore loser cheap shot from Odom.  Apparently, whatever crazy pills Artest takes (suspended from Game Three after he clotheslined Mavs pesky point guard J.J. Barea), he shared a few with his buddies Odom and Bynum.

Los Angeles was already getting embarrassed by the way the Mavs exposed them as old, slow and soft.   Then they upped the ante and decided they could embarrass themselves even more.

I watch pro ball to see a good game and it WAS a good game if you enjoy watching a guy like Jason Terry get in the zone and impose his will upon a game. Unfortunately, Terry’s great game was overshadowed by Bynum’s bitch move.

I call them “the Fakers” because REAL champions exhibit grace (and class) under pressure and when they’re losing.  Anyone can be classy when they win.

Phil Jackson’s Lakers and Chicago Bulls teams won 11 championships and Jackson never had a losing season as a coach.  He’s going straight to the Hall of Fame as arguably the greatest coach in NBA history, but Sunday he got completely outcoached, his team was outplayed, and the organization outclassed as the Lakers unraveled into dirty goon ball.

The saying goes “Sports doesn’t build character, but reveals it.”  Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest,and Lamar Odom revealed they have no class.   That makes them not just losers, but fakers.

Throwing an elbow and then walking off like a punk is something a first-class organization like the Lakers should not tolerate and I bet they won’t.

The Lakers lost their cool, their championship, and their coach.   Nice way to start what’s likely to be a long and difficult summer.

Jackson is a winner, but went out as a huge loser.

True Confessions of a Kobe Bryant Hater.

"DAMN, I am GREAT! If you don't believe it just ask me."

There’s no single reason I’m such a Kobe Bryant Hater.   It’s a whole grocery list of reasons.  I hate Kobe because he plays for the Los Angeles Fakers, the most corporate and soulless franchise in sports not named The Dallas Cowboys.   I hate Kobe because he’s a whiny little bitch who has never fouled anyone in his life but screams and tries to show up the refs if they don’t blow the whistle when someone looks cross-eyed at him.   How many times in a game will you see him screaming for a foul and not bothering to get back on defense?  Too many times for me not to roll my eyes in disgust as he pouts like a baby who’s had a binky pulled from his mouth. 

 I hate Kobe for showing up his teammates by going entire quarters without taking a shot and when the Fakers fall behind, he’s yoking up shots from all over the court.  The guy is the original black hole.   He passes it when he feels like it, but God help you if you don’t knock down the shot when Kobe Bean decides you’re worthy to play with his basketball.  Screw it up and the next time you’ll see the ball is during morning shootaround.   

I hate Kobe for being mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan.   No doubt that Kobe is the best postseason player in the NBA (since Lebron only raises hell in the regular season).    I hate his swagger.  I hate his “me first” attitude.  I hate that he’s a gunner, a black hole and as selfish a player to ever step on the hardwood and I really, really hate the way he jabs at other players so he can feed his ego. 

I hated Kobe when he went to Denver, screwed some 19-year-old hotel clerk, lied about it and threw Shaquille O’ Neal’s big butt under a fleet of Greyhound buses trying to save his own sorry ass.   

But forget about all that.   Kobe and the Fakers have triumphed again.  Cue up “We Are the Champions.”   Nail the plywood over the windows for the victory parade.  Let the good times roll in the City of Angels.  

Hoo-rah and ho-hum.   Bryant the Brat,  the most unlikable superstar in a league full of unlikable superstars, and the L.A. Fakers won their second NBA championship in a row.  I’m just soooooooo excited.   Now go away.   I’ve had just about all I can stand from the David Stern Dog and Pony Show for this year. 

"You get to call one foul on me. Got it? ONE!"

Take your rings and your trophy and your stupid scowl and your crappy “Damn, I’m Great” attitude and lock yourself away in a vault somewhere with a bottles of Grey Goose, some porno skanks and a truckload of money from your Nike endorsement.    

What is there to brag about a game#7  where the Fakers shoot 32 percent and the alleged best player in Crunch Time bricked 18 of 24 shots?  That the referees kindly escorted Kobe Bean Bryant to the free throw line 15 times and helped him limp to a just-okay 23 points?    Yes,  Bryant grabbed an impressive 15 rebounds, but when you’re clanging them off the rim the way the Fakers did, you’re going to get plenty of opportunities. 

Back-to-back championships are something to brag about but despite the MVP award going to Bryant,  big man Pau Gasol had just as big of a contribution the Fakers dumping the Celtics.   Coach Phil Jackson will get to inflate his own insufferable egotism a bit more, but this is not a great Fakers team.   They happen to be the most dominant team in a league full of fatally flawed and talent-starved franchises. 

“Just got one more than Shaq,” Kobe said after downing the Celtics in a 83-79 slog through some of the ugliest basketball  ever seen, “You can take that to the bank.  I don’t forget anything.” 

Sensing perhaps that he was forgetting that he was coming off as a petty, arrogant and sniveling little asshole, Kobe tried to clean it up a bit. 

“It’s tough for me to really put that into any kind of context, because 90 percent of what I’ve learned and what I’ve figured out comes from him,” he said. “This is not a situation where it’s a me-and-Shaq rivalry kind of thing. It’s a genuine love that I have for him and what he’s done for me.” 

Genuine love?   There wasn’t anything remotely like love between the Bean and the Big Aristotle in 2003 when Kobe whined to ESPN’ Jim Gray: 

GRAY: What was your reaction to Shaq saying the Lakers are his team, and everybody knows it? 

BRYANT: It doesn’t matter whose team it is. Nobody cares. I don’t, Karl [Malone] doesn’t, Gary [Payton] doesn’t, and our teammates and the fans don’t either. There’s more to life than whose team this is. But this is his team, so it’s time for him to act like it. That means no more coming into camp fat and out of shape, when your team is relying on your leadership on and off the court. It also means no more blaming others for our team’s failure, or blaming staff members for not overdramatizing your injuries so that you avoid blame for your lack of conditioning. Also, “my team” doesn’t mean only when we win; it means carrying the burden of defeat just as gracefully as you carry a championship trophy. 

The beef between Kobe and Shaq really took off after Kobe’s rape bust in Denver when he told police detectives he should have just done like Shaq does with his women, pay them off so they don’t rat him out.   Eagle, Colo., Detective Doug Winters wrote in a police report  how Bryant ripped into his then-teammate:  

“Bryant stated he should have done what Shaq does. Bryant stated that Shaq would pay his women not to say anything.   He stated Shaq has paid up to a million dollars already for situations like this.” 

Bryant, 26, also insisted he hadn’t thought of a payoff because he treats women much better than his gargantuan teammate. 

“He stated he, Bryant, treats a woman with respect, therefore they shouldn’t say anything,” Winters said. 

“Respect” apparently including asking women if he can bust a nut in their face.   Keep it classy, Kobe.  

Enjoy your one for the thumb Kobe.  Now you can buy wifey another $4 million dollar, 8-carat diamond so she doesn’t walk out on your ass and rape  your bank account like Elin is doing Tiger.   Sell some more Nikes made in sweatshops by child laborers.   Sneer some more and boast about how great you are while the servile L.A. sport writers ride your jock. 

You still aren’t  better than Jordan.  You still aren’t a better player for the Fakers than Magic Johnson.   You still are a flaming asshole.  

"Rocky Mountain High?" I HATE that song!