Check out this post that ran on TMZ today. Alternate title: "LeBron gets totally owned."


Oh snap! Not too surprising, is it? This is pretty much the kind of pompous assery you'd expect from a man who speaks in third person and doesn't shake hands when he loses. The money shot, of course, is the direct comparison dis: "For the record -- you won't see Kobe Bryant wearing a shirt with his individual accomplishments plastered on the front of it during his championship parade today -- he's gonna let the trophy do the talking." (Note the wording "his championship parade." Because it's for him and not the entire team, right?) Uh, yeah. There's just one problem with that slam. Take a look at the shirt Mamba was sporting during said parade:

Four Rings

Whaaa...?! Let's take a closer look at that "I'm so team-first" t-shirt.

Four Rings 2

Why, I do declare! That looks like a puppet hand with four rings. Oh, and you'll notice in the parade pic that Kobe's holding up four fingers. Huh. I guess he wasn't content to "let the trophy do the talking" after all. Kobe wants -- perhaps even needs -- the world to know he has not one, not two, not three, but FOUR championship for each finger of his puppet's hand. Impressive. Most Impressive. But it's still all about him.

And please, please, pretty please don't try to use the "he's celebrating a team accomplishment" defense. That would fall somewhere between the Chewbacca defense and the Twinkie defense. The fact is, if the shirt was meant to celebrate a team achievement, it would have had 12 hands, or caricatures of him and his teammates, or whatever. No, this was Kobe saying, "I've got four rings," not "We have four rings," or "Phil and I have four rings together." I mean, when Phil held up his 10 fingers after the Lakers won, do you really think he was saying, "Me and Michael, Scottie, Shaq, Kobe, Jud Buechler, etc. have won 10 rings together."? Hardly.

Plus, let's take a peek at the official description of this t-shirt: "In celebration of Kobe Bryant's achievements during the 2009 NBA Finals, his 4th NBA Championship Title, and his first ever NBA Finals MVP Award, Nike created a limited selection of graphic t-shirts, including the 4 Rings Tee seen above." That doesn't exactly scream "team achievement," does it? In fact, I don't see the word "team" or any of his teammates names mentioned or even alluded to there. As always, I'm just sayin'.

Thanks to Wild Yams, Buck Nasty and chris, all of whom were all over this issue in the comments.

Update! To be clear, I don't have a problem with Kobe's shirt. Or LeBron's, for that matter. People wear things that celebrate their achievements. If someone earns honor cords when they graduate from college, they wear them. Many college grads prominently display their diplomas. When people finish marathons, they usually put on the medal or t-shirt they get at the finish line. I once bought my grandpa a "World's Best Grandpa!" coffee mug, and guess what? He drank out of it! It's really not that big of a deal. I wrote this post because I was amused by three things in order: 1) TMZ using Kobe's "selflessness" to mock LeBron, 2) Kobe immediately doing exactly what TMZ said "for the record" he wouldn't do, and 3) the auto-Kobe defense that his puppet hand shirt was a celebration of team rather than self...which is ridiculous.

Update, Part 2! As Jundi noted, TMZ owned up to their goof.

Update, Part 3! From Wild Yams: "For what it's worth, the announcing crew who covered the parade yesterday for Fox Sports West (including Rick Fox and Norm Nixon) were saying that when the players all gathered in Staples Center before coming out to board the buses, there were corporate sponsors down there giving them shirts to wear for the parade (just like the NBA passes out shirts and hats at the championship celebration). That's why Kobe had a white shirt on under the puppet hand one, it's why Fisher had the same shirt Kobe did, and it's why every other Laker was either wearing a Nike/KB24 "Carpe Diem" champagne cork shirt or a 2009 Champions "caricature" shirt."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
you do understand that kobe was at an event celebriting his 4th championship, while lebron was shopping in NYC?

Now if you had paid attention to anyone other than kobe, you would've noticed that fisher was wearing the same 4-ring t shirt during the parade.

By the way, any idea where I can buy this 4-ring t shirt. It's so cool.

Anonymous Jack said...
I think you're confusing what TMZ said with what Kobe said. __TMZ__ said it was "egotistical" of LBJ to wear that shirt - Kobe, I'm sure, doesn't care what LeBron wears.

So saying : "I guess [Kobe] wasn't content to 'let the trophy do the talking'" is kind of a straw man. I mean, are you seriously gonna hold Kobe accountable for what a gossip rag says?

And honestly, _both_ shirts are fine. They're just celebrating incredibly difficult accomplishments. It's the same as a bumper sticker saying your kid's on the honor roll. Nothing bawful about it really.

It's kind of silly to use a _T-shirt_ of all things to draw the conclusion that "Kobe wants -- perhaps even needs -- the world to know" his accomplishments.

You're a lot funnier when you focus on people's blunders on the court than when playing arm-chair psychologist.

Anonymous Brizzle said...
Everyone who got their 4th ring was wearing one of those t-shirts.

Plus Phil was wearing his 10 championship "X" yellow hat his kids made for him. and Kareem was wearing a jacket with the banners from the 80's

Kobe JUST won this a couple days ago. He has a right to celebrate his accomplishments right now.

Don't hate on Kobe for showing off his bling at a CELEBRATION PARADE. Hate on TMZ for hating on Lebron.

I it was shaq who had one the MVP and was wearing this shirt the day after the Lakers won, people would rip him apart and label him insecure. But since it's Lebron it's a totally different story. Lebron, apparently, can do no wrong. Or maybe he's the lesser of two evils because he's put next to Kobe, and if given the oppurtunity, Haters will hate.

But in the end it does sort of scream "Hey look at me! I'm the one that won the REGULAR SEASON MVP. Don't forget about me! I'm supposed to be the king! REMEMBER?! Don't you know you're all witnesses??!"

Bad move, Lebron.

In the eternal words of the buffoon Mark Jackson " You're better than that."

Anonymous Brizzle said...
And for the supersticious...

When Robert Horry made his season-saving shot against the Sacramento Kings in 2002, when Derek Fisher hit his "0.4" buzzer-beater against the San Antonio Spurs in 2004 and when Fisher drove a dagger into the heart of the Orlando Magic last week, Hedo Turkoglu was playing for the opposition. . . .
-LA times writer Jerome Crowe

Mere coincidence, I know.
I'm just sayin.

Maybe the Lakers should hope they get to face Turkeyglue teams more often in the postseason

Blogger Bobbo said...
oh my god i had totally forgotten about Jud Buechler!

he was the glue that held those Bulls championship teams together. Along with Bill Wennington.

Blogger Jundi said...
tmz comes clean ..

Anonymous Anonymous said...
To celebrate my achievements, I'm wearing beer can shoes, taco-bell wrapping paper sweatpants, a D&D cloak, mardi gras beads, and a hat with a pair of boobs on it. Yay me!

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
Nice one B.D.

I personally like the way you covered it, McHale. Although I do hate Kobe, so my view is skewed.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
P.S. -

I just read the Anonymous post in the McHale comment section and the guy made the suggestion that the 'Bawful Header needs some new guys put in. The Machine most definitely included.

Blogger Steve said...
It may be viewed as arrogance for both Kobe and Lebron to wear such shirts, but I would call it marketing instead.

People don't like the fact that Lebron has embraced nicknames like "Chosen One" and "King James", but those are practically Nike brand names.

Kobe is pretty clearly wearing a Nike shirt. It wouldn't surprise me if his marketing agent told him to wear the shirt.

Lebron's shirt is less easy to "defend" (I'm not sure if selling yourself out is really a defense) in terms of marketing. But certainly the persona of extreme, uhh, confidence is useful for marketers.

The main reason I bring this up (and I will use Lebron as the example but this goes for Kobe too) is I have actually argued before that Lebron is remarkably humble given that multi-million (and billion?) dollar companies are spending a lot of money to produce commercials that tell people to "Witness" the greatness of Lebron. Arrogance is relative.

It is easy for me to be humble because I suck, and there is no one (let alone a corporation) trying to tell people otherwise.

Blogger chris said...
Buck Nasty: We gotta get Jake Voskuhl and Todd MacCulloch on there too...and of course, a crustacean with a crown on it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
How about a broken crown, or a crown with a mamba in it?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Steve -- Yup. That was actually why I titled the post "Most Valuable Nike Puppets."

Blogger Wild Yams said...
For what it's worth, the announcing crew who covered the parade yesterday for Fox Sports West (including Rick Fox and Norm Nixon) were saying that when the players all gathered in Staples Center before coming out to board the buses, there were corporate sponsors down there giving them shirts to wear for the parade (just like the NBA passes out shirts and hats at the championship celebration). That's why Kobe had a white shirt on under the puppet hand one, it's why Fisher had the same shirt Kobe did, and it's why every other Laker was either wearing a Nike/KB24 "Carpe Diem" champagne cork shirt or a 2009 Champions "caricature" shirt.

Come on guys, it's so simple maybe you need a refresher course. It's all ball bearings nowadays :)

Blogger starang said...
Kobe is a terrible person. And I am slowly but surely loosing respect for LBJ. Overall, I don't think either of them wearing either of those shirts makes a difference. The only off court crap I care about is if it hurst the butt raping people. I don't think wearing a pompous shirt hurts the game...just the individual player.

Now you prepare that Fetzer valve with some 3-in-1 oil and some gauze pads. And I'm gonna need 'bout ten quarts of anti-freeze, preferably Prestone. No, no make that Quaker State.

Blogger Drake said...
I'm a fan of caricature shirts myself, and I'm glad they're making a comeback. But is that Adam Morrison on the top right corner of that shirt? Pretty ghastly, is I may say so myself....

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm surprised no one has commented on the fact that LBJ's shirt is a variation/shout out to one of the greatest Hip-Hop duos of all time - RUN DMC!!!'s kinda not all about him...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm not sure i heard it right, but were Luke Walton & Sasha Vujacic being bood during the introduction in the stadium?

And if so, why's that?

Blogger Wild Yams said...
In truth, Vujacic probably was booed somewhat (stay classy, LA) - he's not too popular amongst many Laker fans due to his 0-fer in the Finals after a really poor season. Luke wasn't booed though, the crowd always yells "Luuuuuke" for him. In the past he's been unfavorably thought of by Laker fans, which always made me wonder if he was "boo-proof" due to his name; but considering he actually played quite well in the playoffs, they were almost certainly cheering him (or at the very least, were yelling "Boo-urns").

BTW, did anyone notice which players were singled out to make speeches at the parade yesterday? It was almost random. IIRC, it was Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher and Kobe. I couldn't help but wonder why Farmar and Son of Walton got to speak but not Odom, Bynum or Ariza. In the old days everyone got to speak, and that led to some high comedy when you got speeches from guys like Stanislav Medvedenko or Mark Madsen yelling in Spanish at the crowd. Also, yesterday it wasn't really "speeches" the players gave, but rather it was interviews, as they were being asked questions by Joel Myers and Stu Lantz. Very odd.

Blogger chris said...
Sheesh, the Machine wants to share in the fans' joy early by being Phil Jackson's human victory cigar for the clincher, and that's the reception he gets!!?!?


Anonymous Brizzle said...
Yams, I think they asked the most articulate Lakers to speak. You'll notice Lamar and Trev are almost always awkward intheir interviews giving short answers and using lots of "Um"s

Blogger mg said...
They should be wearing t-shirts with Chris Wallace's face on them.

Anonymous Al James said...
Clearly Lebron is just supporting the Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. I see nothing wrong with that shirt.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Fisher wore the same shirt Kobe has on.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Adultery =/= Rape

Unless there's iron clad proof that Kobe raped the girl, I really can't see how you can straight up say he raped her.

As for the shirts, I think they both deserve to wear them. They've both worked hard for them and I think their contracts with Nike has something to do with it as well.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Bitter cetltics fan. You couldn't wait to jump on the Kobe is all about me angle, huh? Oh well. It's better than hearing Kobe can't win without Shaq.

MG, the Celtics should have worn a Kevin McHale shirt last year. Lurch donated Kevin Garnett to the Celtics.

Blogger dunkfu said...
LeBron's LBJMVP shirt is so last week,

New shirt is Check My $tats

Blogger Yxl Ian said...
oh,it looks so cool.I like Kobe and the t shirt.

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