It's no secret that we at Basketbawful hate Kobe Bryant, but our hatred is usually the result of things he's actually done, as opposed to things we just imagine him doing. But for some people, fantasy hatred is more fun than reality. Case in point, ESPN columnis Chris Sheridan is ragging on Kobe for referring to Team USA as "they" instead of "we." Kobe's words, delivered after attending Team USA's scrimmage against the Puerto Rican National Team, went something like this:
"The waves with which they play [are] something that's amazing and fun to watch. They come at you in waves, and it's non-stop, the pressure they put on full court," Bryant said. "The quick hands, the quick feet that they have, one through five out there on the court, everyone is extremely athletic and physically gifted. They're all playing well together, doing well defensively. I think defensively is really their area of emphasis."Immediately after this quote, Sheridan points out that "For those keeping score, that answer included six references to 'they' and its variants, zero references to 'we.'" While this proves that Sheridan can count words, it doesn't prove anything else. I mean...so what? Knee surgery has prevented him from playing with Team USA right now, but he's given every indication that he intends to fulfill his obligations once he's healthy (team director Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski mostly want him for the Olympics anyway). I mean, he showed up to a meaningless exhibition game, didn't he? He's even gone on record as saying "I wish I could play right now" and "I really want to be out there with them." Those quotes, which come from the same interview session Sheridan attended, were (surprise, surprise) omitted from Sheridan's article. Must've been an oversight.The point of this post isn't necessarily to defend Kobe (although it unintentionally does just that). The point is this: reporters need to stop making up stories out of thin air. Paul Pierce hasn't even had his elbow surgery yet, and he didn't show up to the game. If Sheridan was going to dis somebody, wouldn't Pierce have made the better target? Well, no, and Sheridan knows that. More people are going to read an article titled Kobe's knee problem leads to a "we" issue than one called Pierce stays home for exhibition game. It's smart marketing on his and ESPN's part, although, as it turns out, a trifle unfair.Look, I'm as excited as anyone for the next time Kobe says or does something stupid, but I'm not going to just start fabricating stories. Well, I might, but they would be cool stories like Kobe found in midwestern corn field eating live goats or Kobe teams up with Hitler's brain to go on violent rampage. You know, stories with journalistic integrity.The funny thing is, you just know that if the situation had been reversed -- had Kobe talked about Team USA as "we" instead of "they" -- Sheridan or somebody else would have blasted him for including himself in the team despite not being able to play. Like, "How dare he talk as though he's part of the team when he can't play?!" But I guess that's what happens when someone spends years being a douche bag: He becomes damned if he does, period. Fortunately, we all know Kobe feeds off of hate. And small children. Seriously.Kobe's taken yet another hit.Only he didn't deserve it. This time.