Kobe and kids

Note: Do little girls want to be dragged away from their My Little Pony playsets to be put on display at the NBA Finals? Based on this picture, the answer is "very no."

The Celtics in the first quarter: It was like a psychedelic flashback to Game 4, only without the singing pixies and dancing fruit (or was that just me?). Boston started the game out-of-synch both offensively and defensively (and that's putting it kindly). Kevin Garnett got in early foul trouble and had to sit. Kobe went kill-crazy (four three-pointers and 15 first-quarter points). Next thing you know, the Celtics were down by 19 points. The quarter ended Los Angeles 39, Boston 22.

Frankly, I place most of the blame on Doc Rivers. The Celtics optimum lineup right now is KG, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, James Posey and Eddie House. It's as clear as the nose on Michelle Kwan's face. (By the way, what was up with that potato sack she was wearing last night? You've got a figure skater's body, Michelle. Show it off.) But instead of succumbing to common sense -- like even the dumbest fantasy sports manager would have done -- and using what worked to perfection in Game 4, Doc started Rajon Rondo at the point and Leon Ka-Powe(for the injured Kendrick Perkins) at center.

It was a stupid move that had catastrophic results. By starting Rondo and Powe (who was quickly replaced by P.J. Brown), Doc played right into the Lakers hands. And those hands went straight around the Celtics' collective throat and started choking a bitch.

Like most coaches, Doc wants to stand by the guys who got him to the Finals. Which is fine...when it's working. When it's not, it's like watching somebody with a head wound try to read random words out of a medical text. In other words: Painful. And while a applaud Doc's loyalty, facts are facts: Rajon Rondo is killing the Celtics right now. The Lakers don't have to defend him, and Rondo knows it. He's completely lost confidence in his offensive game. In the first quarter, he drove to the hoop, had an uncontested layup, and then passed back out for a semi-contested three-ball. It was bad. Like, "it hurts when I pee" bad.

When Rondo's on the floor, he's "defended" by Kobe Bryant, who gets to roam around, double-team at will, and gamble for steals (and Mamba had 5 of them last night). And that disrupts everything Boston is trying to do on offense. End the charade, Doc. Bench Rondo. It has to happen. Maybe he'll spend the summer developing a laser-accurate jump shot. Which will be great...for next season. Right now, Rondo like a human bitchslap to his own team.

The Lakers in the second quarter: They had everything in their favor -- momentum, a huge lead, Jack Nicholson's man-boobs -- but it didn't matter. Let it be known that these Lakers are good enough to build a huge lead and then lose it lickety-split. Boston outscored L.A. 30-16 in the second stanza, with Paul Pierce (18 points on a jillion freethrows) playing the part of the One Man Gang. Pierce is good -- maybe better than any of us thought -- but the Lakers made him look positively legendary by playing matador defense, 7-11 defense, and every other kind of bad defense they could think of. And then they had a game on their hands.

Rajon Rondo: Shades of Sherman Douglas. (Yes, I said it.) Rondo played 14 and a half minutes last night, which is about 14 more minutes than he should have gotten. He bricked six of his seven field goal attempts, had two shots blocked, missed a freethrow, passed up an uncontested layup, and prevented his teammates from getting open looks because the Lakers can completely ignore his "offense." But the most crap-tastic sequence of Rondo's night happened in a 30-second span of the third quarter. First, he missed an open four-footer. Then he fouled Fisher on a jump shot, giving up an "unconventional three-point play" (as Mark Jackson put it). After that, he jumped in the air and threw the ball right to the Lakers, who ran it down court and turned it into a three-pointer by Vlaidimir Radmanovic. Disastrous is putting it lightly.

Kevin Garnett: KG had a double-double (13 points, 14 rebounds). He also grabbed 7 huge offensive boards. But he hurt the Celtic cause by getting into foul trouble in the first half. Sure, one of the fouls was of the ticky-tac variety, and there was no contact whatsoever on another. But he earned his third by foolishly slapping at a Pau Gasol shot. As much as I hate to agree with Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy at this point, KG shouldn't have tried to make that play under those circumstances.

Garnett also bonked two crucial freethrows when Boston was trailing 95-93 with 2:31 on the clock, and then he missed a kinda-sorta easy tip-in with 26 seconds left and the Celtics down four. Hey, if I can say Kobe didn't come through in Game 4 -- and he didn't -- then I have to call out KG for not coming through in Game 5. But I'll say this for Garnett; he didn't give any excuses or blame teammates. His personal assessment of his performance was spot-on: "It was trash. I played like garbage tonight. I can do better and I will." Let's hope the second half of that quote turns out to be as true as the first half.

Kobe Bryant, quarters two through four: After his fire-and-lightning first quarter -- 15 points, 5-for-8 shooting -- I figured Mamba was on his way to a 40-point night. But from that point forward, Kobe scored 10 points on 3-for-13 shooting and committed a game-high 6 turnovers. Still, with 41 seconds left and his team up by only two points, Kobe made the play of the game, knocking the ball away from Paul Pierce and then receiving a length-of-the-court pass from Lamar Odom for a gamebreaking dunk.

That said, it was was a dangerous, gambling play. And let's face it: There was a lot of arm and body on that "steal." Had he been anybody but Kobe Bryant, there probably would have been a whistle. And had he not "tipped the ball," Pierce would have been in great position to score or dish to an open teammate. So yeah, it worked and everything...but it was a bad play.

Pau Gasol: The Spanish Marshmallow had a fantastic game: 19 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, zero turnovers and a couple blocked shots. (And I'm telling you, it felt like he had three times that many rebounds.) But I have to say this: I am sick and bloody tired of Pau screaming and flailing after every shot he takes inside. At one point in the third or fourth quarter, KG slapped Pau's hand on a layup attempt, after which Pau wailed and flopped to the floor. Manu Ginobili would have been proud, but I just threw up a little.

The shooting of Derek Fisher and Sasha Vujacic: The two guards combined to miss 15 of 20 shots, which isn't exactly the kind of marksmanship that's going to spread the Boston defense and give Kobe room to work.

The incompetence of Luke Walton: As Basketbawful reader Jimmy pointed out, he had more fouls (5) than points (2) passed up on an easy alley-oop to Kobe in order to take a stop-and-popper. A couple of those fouls were committed at halfcourt. I can see that happening once, but twice?!

Ronny Turiaf and Trevor Ariza: They combined for 1 turnover and 2 fouls in just over two minutes of lack-tion.

Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson: Did the Lakers play great? No. Did they almost blow another game in which they jumped out to a ginormous lead? Yes. But this is the Finals, and whether you win by 1 or 100, it's still a W. But that didn't keep coach and mini-coach from freaking out on the Lakers after they had all but wrapped the game up. Said Van Gundy: "If you're the Lakers and want to win it all, you're disappointed in this game. Added Jackson: "You've got to close out games better. You're fortunate to go back to Boston." I guess they ran out of ways to fluff each other up.

Phil Jackson, quote machine: He's always good for a zinger or two. This time, it was aimed at his own team. Although, with him, I guess you never know whether it's supposed to zing or not. Anyway, regarding his team's chances of going on to win two straight in Boston, Phil said: "We're young enough and dumb enough to be able to do this." Young and dumb? Yes. Enough so to be able to break through twice in Boston? TBD.

The 2-3-2 format: As I pointed out last week, this format was instituted for the express purpose of increasing the chances that the Finals would last at least six games. Which is what happened. Because let's be honest: The Lakers would not have won this game in Boston. Somewhere out there, David Stern is being forced to deal with a 10-hour erection.

Larry Bird: As Evil Ted pointed out, it was mentioned on air last night that Larry Legend called Luke Walton to wish him luck in the Finals. Uh, Larry, I hate to point this out to you...but Luke Walton is a Laker. Larry wishing a Laker good luck is like Captain America giving Hitler advice on how to cook people. How far has Larry fallen when he's wishing Lakers players good luck? Don't bother answering that, I'll go ahead and tell you: Very, very far.

Doug Christie: The best thing to come out of the latest chapter of the Tim Donaghy scandal has to be Doug Christie crying about it on his blog (" am devastated to the point of feeling physically sick!"). Here's (to me) the money paragraph: "It's hard enough that you are facing the defending champs, hall of fame players and coaches, but you are also playing 5 on 8 (come on!). This is really disheartening. You work hard, play hard and it's all bull. But, it's what you see and the consumer believes it. Whoever 'they' say are the 'champs' are the 'champs' (deserving or not). 'They' are controlling the whole thing. What really makes me mad in the turn of events since then is the fact that these events have turned into what I consider a black balling of myself in the NBA!!" Huh. And here I thought his wife was the one who was black-balling him. Or maybe she's just blue-balling him...

And here's some bonus Christie, regarding why he's, you know, not playing. "Last season ('07/'08), I go in the gym with the Sonics and Trail Blazers (not to mention the GMs that I spoke to personally) and outplayed 90% of their guys. The only thing my agent told me they were interested in was my relationship with my wife, what happened before, or why did I leave the Clippers??? Truth be told, my family and I were dealing with the same old lies and workers starting trouble with us. I'm not willing to deal with that! I just want to go and play the game that I love. So, that makes me weird, huh?!? Maybe if I was fighting with my wife and flirting with people, I would still be playing or at least going out on my own terms!" I have no comment.

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Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful, let's cut right to it: is Kendrick Perkins going to play again in this series? His presence is severely underrated I think, especially against the Laker frontline which is mainly a finesse group that has really been bothered by the size and strength of Perkins and Garnett. The Celtic bench in the frontcourt is also going to be very thin if they have to play PJ Brown that many minutes. Don't get me wrong, Boston can beat LA without Perkins, especially at home, but his absence is huge, IMO.

I'm glad to see the officiating in these last two games finally seems to be more even. There's still plenty of blown calls going both ways, but at least it doesn't seem to be discernibly leaning one way or the other. I was really expecting some questionable officiating last night to try to help get this thing back to Boston, but it's tough to feel that way when both teams had the same number of fouls (28) and free throw attempts (31).

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Yams -- I would guess that Perk is done for the series. A seperated shoulder is not something you come back from quickly. He's done. It'll be interesting to see if that injury turns the series...

Other than the typical blown calls, yeah, I'd say that the officiating has been pretty even the last two games. But then, the NBA is on Deafcon 1 after the latest fixing allegations. I'm sure Stern has let the refs know "no funny business."

Anonymous Anonymous said...
why is that photo in the WotN???? ridiculous...

Blogger Basketbawful said...
ezum triste -- Why is your name "ezum triste"????? Ridiculous.

To answer your question, because he's kissing one daughter that looks terrified, and the other just looks annoyed. And frankly, that struck me as funny.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I dont really think the "" was necessary for the Kobe Bryant steal. I mean granted, bad play, lakers cant seem to defend the pick and roll, or just the pick. They werent even doing a moving screen like they usually do. But I don't think that play should be singled out, when the collosal skidding Pierce wasnt called for a travel when he set up Posey for that three that kept them in the game. That steal was relatively clean, I dont think he hit his arm.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
But seriously, can we talk about Dick Bavetta's old man breasts for a moment?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
No comments on Radman? "Space Cadet" has to be the worst and most clueless finals starter in history. That guy (and Walton on the bench) have been the main culprits in the inexcusable defensive lapses and PP's efficient scoring. Most of the time he looks like he doesn't even know where he is. 6'10" waste of space. The only thing he's good for is hitting a wide-open 3. Pathetic.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful, if Perkins is done that is a HUGE storyline in this series. I wrote the other day that I had picked the Celtics to win it all before the playoffs started because I didn't think that a team like the Lakers would be able to handle their size, but if Perkins is out then the Celtics really aren't that big of a team anymore. PJ Brown and Garnett is a combo that's about the same as Kurt Thomas and Tim Duncan, in that PJ Brown is going to have trouble handling Odom or Gasol for extended minutes, and Gasol can use his length to make KG work a lot harder in the post without having another big body in there to help out. I don't think the games that Gasol and Odom had last night are a coincidence: Perkins' presence not being there really helps open things up for the Lakers' bigmen on both ends of the floor.

Also, with the way Rondo is becoming almost a non-factor, if Perkins is out then the Celtics' rotation is suddenly severely shortened. Tony Allen's re-emergence is a huge boon for Boston in light of this. I think Doc needs to seriously consider starting Glen Davis at center next game so he can try to body Gasol away from the basket, allowing KG to go back to neutralizing Odom. It'll be interesting to see if Rondo can get it going again and to see how Rivers shuffles the rotation without Perkins there.

Blogger Unknown said...
Sounds like Doug Christie needs to get back on his meds.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
If the Kings decided to open a "hall of crazy," I bet Ron "Snake Eggs" Artest and Doug Christie would be the first two inductees.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
For the people criticizing Doug Christie, go easy on the man. He was sentenced to life in marriage jail with no parole and it seems to be taking its toll on him.

Blogger Nick Valluri said...
To be honest, when I saw the slow motion replay, I thought that Kobe did hand check Pierce, but Pierce also simply lost the ball dribbling with his left hand. I don't know if there's any video of it on YouTube or anything, but it seemed to me that Kobe's hand had no effect on Pierce losing the ball.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Kobe the family man: Kobe really creeps me out. I mean, REALLY creeps me out. This is one of the most insincere people I've ever seen in pro sports. His relationship with his teammates is totally unnatural and uncomfortable, and the fact that the entire Lakers organization tries to whitewash it only makes it creepier. We've seen his true nature come out on and off in this series, and it's enough to convince me that he is the same petulant, prima donna brat that checked out or demanded trades in seasons past.

But the worst is his awareness of how his psychopathic nature turns off viewers, and his totally contrived means of dealing with it. The game after we see what a real dick the man is in his post-game 4 interview, he trots out is daughters and acts like Mr. Sweet Disposition. Bawful, you tend to over-use the "throwing up in my mouth" riff. THIS is where it needs to be applied. OK, granted that it is fathers day. But who here thinks that having your kids in the limelight is in THEIR best interests? Yeah, me neither.

Having a pro athlete father with cranial rectosis is probably enough to make a girl grow up to be a Lindsey Lohan type. Growing up with both Kobe and his shrewish wife as parents is probably enough to make these kids grow up with Michael Jackson like dysfunctions. God, but I pity them.

KG foul trouble: A ticky-tack touch foul, a foul with no contact at all, and a perfectly clean strip of Gasol constituted Garnett's three first half fouls. THAT is why people think the NBA is rigged, because THAT is all you need to do to change the outcome of a game. 2 or three bad calls on the right guy and it's all over.

Granted, Van Gundy was correct that Garnett shouldn't have gambled on the clean strip that gave him foul 3, but even Van Gundy, eager to keep his lucrative broadcasting gig, had the balls to say it was a perfectly clean strip. Perhaps it is asking too much to expect players to know that the refs are trying to get them out of the game? They aren't crash test dummies, but humans whose drive to compete has taken them to the highest level. If Garnett is naive enough to go for an in your face strip when he knows he's got it, I'd rather be Garnett and lose to the NBA's dirty officiating. The alternative is downright emasculating.

And yes, I'm thinking of how Arvydas Sabonis would get called for fouling Shaq when standing motionless with hands straight up in the air, a 320 pound traffic cone being battered by Shaq's elbows and shoulders

Doug Christie: OK, the guy's out of touch with regard to basketball. He was a great role player once on a team that came within a quarter of a real championship shot. Clearly that is no longer the case, and he hasn't accepted it.

But let's recognize that the whole thing about his wife is totally distorted. Most NBA players treat their wives like crap, cheat on them constantly, then dump them soon after they look like something other than a firm twentysomething. I recognize the humor of the situation, but when I think about it, Christie probably deserves more respect on the subject than mockery. The fact that all he gets is rolled eyes and snide comments says more about misogyny in pro sports that it does about his qualities as a person.

[/soap box]

Anonymous Anonymous said...
No mention of Sasha's WWE style "throw-down" at the hands of Cassell, a man 10 years his senior.

Even the commentators were giving it to him.

Blogger acnefighter said...
Sometimes I wonder how the Lakers even got this far. This team is barely scraping by, and I'm a huge Lakers fan. I expect them to be blown out of the building in Game 6if they continue to play this way. Thier chemistry has faded, their reserves have sucked, and Kobe Bryant seems human once again. Not to mention that Ray Allen and Paul Pierce have somehow turned 2008 into 2001 and you have the perfect recipe for a 4-2 victory in the series by the Celtics.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I don't really think that Kobe's steal was a foul, but I do agree that if it was someone else it would have been whistled as a foul...

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Wormboy - "But let's recognize that the whole thing about his wife is totally distorted. Most NBA players treat their wives like crap, cheat on them constantly, then dump them soon after they look like something other than a firm twentysomething. I recognize the humor of the situation, but when I think about it, Christie probably deserves more respect on the subject than mockery. The fact that all he gets is rolled eyes and snide comments says more about misogyny in pro sports that it does about his qualities as a person."

Dude, you are WAY off on this. Clearly you haven't read what is going on there, and don't know what people are referring to when they talk about Doug Christie's bizarre relationship with his wife. Do yourself a favor and read up on it, then you'll understand why people make fun of him for it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
does any die hard laker fan truly believe that the lakers have the celtics beat in the talent pool? at no point since the day the celts acquired garnett and allen has boston been anything but the overwhelming favorites to win the grand prize this season.

everybody's been giving sasha too much credit. he's a streaky, flopping slow footed euro two-guard. walton's been stealing money from dr buss since he signed his $30 million contract. radman is beyond brutal aside from the nights he has his downtown stroke going; on those day's he's upgraded to just 'bad'. i can't stand pierce and allen as much as the next fanboy but you have to give credit where it's due. they know they've got mismatches and as the series has progressed, they're taking it upon themselves to punish LA for them

do i think that LA can still steal this series? absolutely, however a LOT of shit is going to have to fall in the right places to do so. i'm actually not looking forward to allen getting more minutes because he can stay in front of kobe, allowing pierce and allen to save their energy for offense.

go doug christie. someone's got battered wife syndrome. and those man boobs have seen so much 'X generation younger" ass that it makes me cry out of jealousy

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@ Wild Yams: Yes, I recognize that the Christie's relationship is on the weird side (but let's be honest, so is that of many people, I reckon--it's just kept private because they aren't in the limelight). But given the standard -not occasional, but STANDARD- treatment of NBA wives, I can't really say I a) blame her, or b) blame Doug for accepting it as a way to show his commitment to/reassure his wife. Sure, they go too far, even comically so, but the near ubiquitous and rampant cheating on wives is quite a stimulus to having a different lifestyle. So I stand by my statement.

Besides, there were several blatant hacks of your Wikipedia article with mocking comments about the Christies. I'd say that does more to support my thesis than disprove it. I think it's telling that little is said about the treatment of NBA wives, yet a huge deal is made about somebody who takes serious measures to counteract that.

Like I said, I'm not a Christie fanboy, though I did enjoy the quirky flavor of those Sacramento teams at their peak. An exceptional collection of characters, which always makes a team charming to me. But I smell a double standard here. A big, brown, steamy, stinky one. And so I'll say something.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
PS Yams I totally agree with you about Perkins. He has been critical to them in this run, and hasn't received enough credit. He matches up particularly well against the delicate Lakers frontcourt--Bynum probably could have played with him, but definitely not Gasol and Odom.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
wormboy can you explain your remarks about kobe and his daughters? you just say what you want to say... and asume what you want to be the truth, but the truth is you dont know shit about kobe's family!

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Wormboy, I think you have a rather unrealistic and idealized image of NBA wives (or wives of other sports stars, rock stars or celebrities in general). While some no doubt have "normal" relationships, I think it's safe to assume that some (maybe even "many" or "most") enter into those marriages with full understanding that it's mainly a business decision for them: their husband is rich and not around a whole lot (off touring, shooting a movie, traveling with the team, whatever), while she is home alone with all his cash, the cars and the mansion. She probably met him as a "groupie" and understands he's out there messing around, but all she's really interested in is being able to spend his money. Rather than just thinking that all wives of rich, famous men are these poor put upon women who have to tragically deal with the added stresses that being married to someone rich and famous can bring, you should consider that for some of them they probably know full well what the deal is and are OK with it as per the (probably unspoken) agreement they have with their husband.

Take Kobe and his wife, for instance. Kobe publicly admitted to cheating on her, it's well known the two of them do not have any kind of pre-nuptial agreement, they have kids together and are married in the state of California. If she wanted to she coulda taken him to the cleaners, but she didn't and instead just stood by him and has never complained about it. She's not even done anything to suggest she's upset by the rumors that Kobe was having an affair with a Laker girl this year. Why do you suppose that is? I've always assumed it's cause they probably have that worked out: she gets all the financial and glamor benefits of being married to one of the world's biggest (and richest) sports stars and he gets to keep screwing around. Why should we assume that rich athletes are any different than any other rich guy who marries some supermodel-looking woman? It's quite possible (even probable) that some of those marriages are examples of the girl being a gold digger and the guy looking for a trophy wife. After all, what did Kobe reportedly tell the police when he supposedly threw Shaq under the bus: not that he shouldn't have cheated on his wife, but that he should just get hookers like Shaq does.

Back to Doug Christie though: you claim that his wife may have good reason to make those demands of him, and you are probably right about that, but I never criticized her, I criticized him. I can see why she'd want him to be in check like that, but what possible reason does he have for submitting to such absurd demands as not ever looking at or speaking to another woman, even if she works for the team he plays for? She's a little nuts for demanding those things of him, but he's way nuts for going along with it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Sure man. I didn't mean to imply any narsty gross family stuff about Kobe (was that what twigged you?), but rather that I really dislike the man, and find him to be one of the least genuine NBA players out there.

I don't pretend to know crap about his home life or the life of his kids. His wife is clearly a little unhinged, based on occasional articles about her public conduct. Maybe she should get together with LeBron's mom. Then again, I have some sympathy for somebody a) married to a dick like Kobe Bryant, and b) living her life under a microscope. But it's a fact that she creates her own problems--the press is generally very respectful about families and don't drag them through any mud that the families themselves don't plant in the public domain (e.g. Jason Kidd and his wife).

Back to Kobe. I found his interview after game 4 to be exactly what I expect from the guy. He's been all sweet and lovey pretty much from the day the Gasol gift when through. But his true character, which we've come to know well through past seasons, is coming out again now that things aren't going his way in the Finals. In other words, he's reverting to type. I think he's plastered a happy, shiney veneer over his personality to please the media, but underneath he is the same dick he's always been.

So what did I mean about his kids? I mean that he was widely criticized and mocked for his comments after game 4, so he comes out after game 5 with a cute little family tableau. I found it contrived and calculating, and totally fitting with the way the guy operates. Sure, it's father's day, but a lot of guys manage to avoid parading their children in front of the press on father's day. Fact is, I think a caring parent would err on the side of not sticking them in front of the cameras. I am so not surprised to find that Kobe was willing to use his daughters to repair his image.

As for my comments about them growing up to be screwed up, that is just based on looking at their butthead father and their hysterical mother. Sure, they might have a happy, Barney-and Bluesclues-esque homelife where everything is tender and nice. Do you believe that to be likely? No, me neither.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
My previous comment was directed at Rapaz

@ Yams: Yeah, I realize that many NBA wives are gold diggers, and that they SHOULD expect what's coming to them (though I also think a lot of this goes down when they are late teens, and I don't have a high opinion of one's judgment at that age). My working assumption is that many of them are either stupid/naive, or calculate that they've got looks but no brains, and hooking up with some sort of star is their best ticket to the "good life." That doesn't change that I feel there are some pretty serious double standards wrt stars and their wives.

I also realize that your beef was primarily with Doug, and therein I find the greatest double standard. Because I think that the parsimonious explanation for his acquiesence to her demands is that the man truly loves his wife, nutty as she may be. The enormous amount of flak he gets for what appears to be sincere integrity never ceases to amaze me. Apparently a guy is considered "whipped" and less than a man if he's a pro athlete and doesn't act like a tom cat on steroids. (OK, I confess that most of them ARE on steroids, so there may be something deeper to that metaphor). Frankly, I find Doug Christie's marriage somewhat refreshing, albeit slightly odd in its particulars.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I must have missed 60 Minutes, what comments did Kobe make after Game 4 that he was criticized for? He said they "wet the bed" and that if before the season started you'd have told him that they'd be in a position where they had to win three games in a row to win the title he'd have taken it in a heartbeat. Far as I've heard he didn't say anything controversial or shocking and he didn't blast his teammates or anything. Keep in mind that most of the stories that Kobe is being such a prick to his teammates on the court are coming from Curt Shilling (a Boston sports star) and Bill Simmons (a Boston writer and a homer to the nth degree). Maybe those stories should be taken with a grain of salt. He's probably an ass, but we don't know if he's more or less of one than any other major stars have ever been. Jordan punched out his teammates before, you know.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I thought Kobe exuded dickery throughout his press conference. Most stars pissed off about losing simply use the "dead eyes, monotone voice, and monosyllabic answers" approach to end it as quickly as possible. Kobe forgot that he had recently forged a facade as a nice smiling player, and reverted to the arrogant prick we've seen for most of the last 4-5 years. Presumably that is why he exploited Father's Day and his daughters to burnish his nice guy, shiny happy image after game 5.

I know Jordan was a dick. I expect the best to be--nice guys don't compete that hard or do the dirty little stuff it takes to be a champion. But I'm surprised when they are stupid enough to broadcast it to the world, and transparent enough to try to manipulate the system further after the fact. That is where Kobe has blown it over and over. The whole world knows he's a spoiled prima donna asshole because he his largely incapable of acting otherwise except when he's in a good mood. You forget that Kobe feels ENTITLED to a championship with himself as solo star.

PS I actually didn't read Simmons latest column until just now. Me, my only connection with Boston is having traveled through Logan airport a couple of times, and I hate bandwagons (Yankees, LAkers and Duke, top 3 in that order). I tend to treat basketball as the male equivalent of the soap opera: if one of my teams ain't there, I go for the personalities and plots I like. Boston has those in spades, and the only thing LA has going for them is Kobe as anti-hero. This team was made to hate.

My teams historically are where I've lived the longest combined with a decent run while I was there. I grew up in downstate IL, so the Bulls were the only team to root for, and I spent much of the 90s in Seattle, hence my love of the Sonics. Given the slime-covered departure of the Sonics to Oklahoma City, Jesus Shuttlesworth is my only Sonics connection. Plus, I've always been a Garnett fan, cause really, who doesn't like a guy who plays that hard all the time?

In other words, I'm a complete non-homer. It's just there's every reason to hate Kobe and his Lakers, and equally many reasons to like these Celtics.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Wormboy, there's no double standard, at least not from me anyway. You're assuming I think that NBA players should act like a "tom cat on steroids" and you're also assuming that I think any normal guy with a marriage like Doug Christie's would be OK. You're wrong on both counts. Married NBA players should act in whatever is going to be the best way for their marriage to survive and in whatever is going to make both people the most happy, same as anyone else. At the same time, anyone (famous or not) who has a relationship like the one the Christies have is dysfunctional in the extreme - you're talking about co-dependency raised to the highest levels. It is totally insane to expect your significant other to have no contact with the opposite sex, even to the extreme that you never lay eyes on them. Any person who demands that of the person they're in a relationship with is a control freak to an incredible level and clearly has enormous insecurities; but the person who submits to that must clearly be insane. These are a pair of genuinely crazy people we're talking about, with an incredibly bizarre relationship, and that fact is true whether Doug Christie is rich and famous or not. If you really think that relationship is "refreshing" you either need to get yourself checked or you're actually Doug Christie (in which case, you need to get yourself checked).

Speaking of getting yourself checked, let's move on to Kobe. While you find Doug Christie's craziness to be refreshing, you look at Kobe kissing his daughters and think it's so unlikely that he's doing it just because he loves them as their father that you never even consider it, and instead think he's "exploiting Father's Day" (what does that even mean? Exploiting it for what?). The shock and outrage you display over the possibility that a public figure like him may actually have a persona that they hide from the public is laughable. I mean, hello, this should not be surprising to anyone.

Ignoring all that though, what precisely did Kobe say in his Game 4 press conference that you were so upset about? What did he say in his Game 5 press conference that made you think he'd reverted to being a dick?

The reality is that none of us knows Kobe, nor do we know any other NBA stars. We have no idea what any of these guys are really like, and honestly, why does it matter to us in the first place? Kevin Garnett may be the biggest asshole of all time to everyone on his team or off the court, but since I never interact with him it doesn't really matter. All that matters is the guy is a great player. I'm always befuddled at the truly bizarre reasons people invent for why they hate Kobe Bryant so much. Why not just say what the real reason is: cause he's a good player on a team you dislike. That's the best reason to hate any player anyway. I don't know if a bunch of rabid Kobe jockers have pushed you into thinking you needed to have more reasons to hate him or something, but really you don't. Who cares what his personal life is, it's his life. Just root for him to lose tonight and let that be the end of it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow, do I smell a Lakers fanboy? Because I do believe you are taking many of my statements farther than what is actually there, or downright getting them wrong (e.g. I said the game 4 press conference was dickery, and the game 5 press conference transparent media manipulation).

Thanks bro, I don't need anybody to "push me into thinking" anything I think. I've been watching hoops for decades. I liked Shaq (and Magic) even though they were on the glitzy Lakers, but it's been apparent for ages to anybody who isn't a) living in LA-LA-Land or b) a bandwagoneer extraordinary that Kobe is a dick. It's pretty clear cut, and it goes way beyond yelling at his teammates for plays where he is at fault.

I added qualifications to my Father's day indictment, but apparently you can't accept those. Let me restate: the guy was a throbbing penis Thursday night, then was sickly sweet fawning over his daughters Sunday night. I don't buy it. I think it was a staged "look, I'm a nice guy" media stunt. I'd being willing to give other guys the benefit of the doubt (since I'm sure Kobe isn't the only one who's had his kids on his lap on a father's day press conference), though I'd still question their judgment in putting their kids in front of the camera at that age. But Kobe has a long and illustrious track record. Just because you swallow his media stunts doesn't mean the more skeptical of us will.

And yes, I realize he is the most skilled offensive player in the league. He's also a good one-on-one defender, and an even better help defender. He's a great competitor. I see all of that. And you're right that we don't know a lot about players' lives other than what's right there on the TV screen, do we? But here's the kicker: that's true for everybody. You don't really know much about your neighbor except what you see in public, do you? For all you know he could be another Jeffrey Dahmer. But if somebody is frequently a dick in public, well then, he took care of the ambiguity for you, didn't he?

So I hope you'll excuse me for concluding that Kobe is a bigger dick than, oh, much of the NBA. And given the proclivities of pro athletes, that is truly saying something.

And maybe I base some of my opinions on what Phil Jackson says, since I've admired the Zen master's style since before he was winning in Chicago. It's not like I pulled "Kobe is an ass" out of MY ass. It's been obvious for years, and much of the country agrees with me. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's probably a duck. Unless you're a fanboy of the glitzy Lakers, of course.

I'll bet you like the Yankees, Duke and Man U as well, eh? Maybe Florida State football as well? The rationalizations sound familiar....

As for Doug Christie, THE GUY SEEMS HAPPY in his marriage. Seriously, that's the only thing, isn't it? The treatment they get by the media is reminiscent of the gender-related double standards applied to Hilary Clinton (and no, I didn't vote for her. I'm simply capable of assessing data outside of the purview of partisanship. Unlike, perhaps, you.) Plus, I think there's a lot of exaggeration in that story. But it was good of you to illustrate what a crappy source Wikipedia makes for internet debates.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
PS Seems a little strange for you to be defending the private lives of NBAers on one hand, then judging Christie's marriage on the other. I'm just sayin'.

At least I stick to judging Kobe's public life.

Blogger Joel said...
The answer is clearly this: Kobe is a happy drunk. Thats why his daughters were loving him so much on Sunday.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
@ wormboy:

Not to start a war of words with somebody who actually knows the definition of "proclivities", but, dude, double standards of the media aside,... Doug Christie's wife is a certifiable mega-C(*&^.

If I were the owner of an NBA franchise, I wouldn't touch him(/her) with a proverbial ten-foot-pole either.

Hell, if I SAW her on the street, I would probably cross to the other side (of town) just to be safe from the hurricane-force bitch-out with a 2-mile blast radius which she is able to release at any given moment.

I understand your point about bigotry and male-dominated views on marriage etc. etc., but, as a man, you HAVE to admit that she, and anybody remotely like her, scares the hairs right off your scrotum.

This is a woman who would gouge out Doug's eyes if she could, just to keep him "honest". Be afraid- be VERY afraid...there are more of them out there...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yeah, she's crazy. But I make it my policy not to judge others' relationships, particularly when they appear to be happily married. One rarely knows what goes on in romantic relationships, unless they air all their dirty laundry. What I keep returning to is that Doug doesn't seem to mind. That suggests to me that it ain't for me to judge.

Besides, isn't it axiomatic that the crazy ones are the best in bed?

I owe a sincere apology to Yams. I bitched all over him and was out of line. My excuse was that I was just coming off a 5 day scientific conference where I think I slept a total of 20 hours, then my flights were delayed getting home. Some more sleep and the Celtics treating the LAkers like a litter pan has restored me to my usually phlegmatic self. Anyway, sorry for being a dick.