Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Monday, January 23, 2006

A little hatorade with my morning coffee?

Have I become a jaded basketball fan? Why else would I be less than enthusiastic about Kobe Bryant's 81-point performance last night? Obviously, it's impressive; 81 points is the second-highest scoring total in NBA history. Only Wilt Chamberlain has scored more in a game.

But I'm glad this happened on the same day as the NFL conference championship games. Kobe's been overshadowed, relegated to third place in the sports news of the day - at least on the broadcasts and web pages I've seen and heard this morning. Sorry, Kobe. I just saw the highlights on SportsCenter, and I'm reading the recaps of the game at latimes.com and ESPN.com, so I know this really happened.

And I probably agree with Marc Stein, who said that Kobe's 81 points is more impressive than Wilt's 100 because Kobe plays on the perimeter and can't just overpower opponents as Wilt did. Also, the Lakers were twice down by 18 points in the game, but came back to beat Toronto, 122-104.

Yet here I am, shrugging my shoulders. It's not that I'm jaded, though I'm not nearly the NBA fan I used to be. How can you not love basketball after watching our beloved Detroit Pistons (now 33-5) play? (And how sweet was that reverse dunk by Ben Wallace at the end of last night's game?) No, it's that I just can't stand Kobe Bryant. Have we seen a more outwardly selfish player? Dominique Wilkins often seemed more interested in putting on a show. And Allen Iverson's a ball-hog. But did either of those guys have the apparent disdain for his teammates that Kobe does? Here's a quote from Mike Bresnahan's story in today's LA Times: "As the Lakers seemed to be slipping toward a third straight loss, Bryant seethed and had little to say to his teammates."

Wouldn't the Lakers have given the Pistons more of a series in the 2004 NBA Finals if Kobe had made an effort to pass the ball to Shaq? (Not that I'm complaining, mind you.) Don't you get the sense that Kobe is scoring all of these points not because he has to, but because he wants to? It's not necessarily that Kobe thinks this is the only way the Lakers can win games. Judging from the boxscore of last night's game, it doesn't appear that his teammates gave him much help. But since Kobe took 46 shots, how would we really know? It seems like this is how Kobe wants to win games.

And as a basketball fan, I think that stinks. I don't want to see that. Sure, it's fun to see someone take over a game and have a dominating performance. But only when it happens within the natural flow of a game. Basketball is so much more fun to watch when everyone is involved, when there's passing, cutting, and motion around the court, when teammates set screens to get shooters open, when guys make great passes to set up open shots. That's not Lakers basketball right now.

You know what else shouldn't be Lakers basketball? Those hideous white home uniforms. Wear the gold next time you score 80, Kobe.

(Photo by Lori Shepler/ Los Angeles Times)

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27 Comments:

  • At January 23, 2006 8:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Isn't 81 Terrell Owens' number? Hmm. Just a thought.

     
  • At January 23, 2006 9:18 AM, Anonymous Evan said…

    I was thinking exactly the same thing this morning as I heard about it on NPR. They were doing a brief sports wrap-up, and they mentioned it... I did a double take, realized I didn't care, popped in my Bad Religion CD, and forgot about it until I read your comment here.

    Kobe is an ass. He wants to be the show. But "the show" has NEVER won a championship on his own. Even the Jordan and Shaq championship teams had decent supporting casts.

    The difference is that Shaq and Jordan made their teammates better. Kobe seems to get off on watching them languish, as though he needs to know that he's the best to such an extreme that he'd enjoy playing a team of one-legged midgets just to make sure the play had to run through him.

    That isn't going to get him, or the Lakers, anywhere. They'd have been smart to dump his ass when they had the chance. Kobe's a freak on the court, but he's also a freak inside that twisted head of his.

    Until he realizes that it's a TEAM game, the Lakers will continue to look like the shit show they really are. 81 points is impressive -- but I'm more impressed by Chauncey Billups' multiple 15+ assist games this year. Talk about making your team better...

     
  • At January 23, 2006 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sports fans, voice your opinion on the NHL and other sports...

    http://www.nhlfanfaceoff.com/R.aspx?a=14

     
  • At January 23, 2006 10:40 AM, Blogger Alex G said…

    actually i'm pretty sure that 81 is ridiculous and awesome. not that the lakers are going to do anything this year, but good lord.

     
  • At January 23, 2006 11:23 AM, Blogger the sports dude said…

    I have too many negative things to say about it, so I will try and keep it short and sweet.

    Look, it is a ridiculous feat that was done by a ball hog, plain and simple. I guess that is the best way to put it and not really go into a rant.

    People like him are the reasons why so many people are turned off to professional sports nowadays. I mean, look at the Pistons, look at their record and look at what people are talking about. The Pistons are 33-5 and just keep winning as a team, one guy has an off night and others pick up the slack. Look at the Christmas day game... you had a rematch of last years Finals playing second fiddle to "Kobe .vs. Shaq." Excuse me, isn't it suppose to be the Heat .vs. the Lakers? Then, a couple weeks back or so, you had a TNT double header again with the Pistons. First game it was (again!) the Pistons against the Spurs followed by "Lebron against Kobe." I pray the Pistons win the title again this year, I really do, because maybe they can do something to help bring the NBA back from this "superstar" pimping shit that is just getting way too out of control.

    Oh, and Rob Parker is an ass too! He could write Kobe's memoirs someday, now that would be a match made in heaven (or hell, depending on your perspective!).

     
  • At January 23, 2006 12:00 PM, Blogger Greg Eno said…

    I agree about the boatload of points. Doesn't get me all that jazzed up, either. Yes, it's impressive, but impressive as far as what? As far as ball-hogging goes?

    Fitting also that the Pistons won last night with everyone and their brother scoring in double digits, as usual.

    Eno

     
  • At January 23, 2006 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    man. y cant ya'll accept greatness as it is? he single handedly won the game for the lakers. he went out in the 2nd quarter and wat happened? the lakers played like crap. they were down by 18!!! who was gonna bring them back? Odom??? Chris Mihm? Parker??? kobe could have averaged 10 assists if those guys make a shot or layup once in awhile.

     
  • At January 23, 2006 1:24 PM, Anonymous Kevin A. said…

    I was impressed. That's a bunch of points to drop in one game.

    That said, I just didn't give a flying flip when I heard the stat-line. I guess I miss the days of King vs. Thomas, with both dropping 40 a game.

    James threw in 51 the other night and was the fastest to 5,000 - but it meant nothing to me.

    Give me a 33-5 TEAM. THAT gets me going.

     
  • At January 23, 2006 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    According to the stat sheet Smush was 5-8 from the field and Mihm was 5-11.....pass the ball Kobe.

     
  • At January 23, 2006 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Blah blah blah. I have done my fair share of Kobe-hating over the years, but all this negative stuff about the 81 is just pathetic.

    He is the only true scoring option on a mediocre team and he has been putting the team on his back night after night. He brought them back from 18 down last night to win, and all I hear is whining about hogging the ball.

    Sure he could give the ball to Mihm, George and Parker so that they lose again or put it up and win. There's not another player in the NBA who could take this dismal Lakers team and carry them to the playoffs. Period.

     
  • At January 23, 2006 2:28 PM, Anonymous William said…

    I don't understand everyone being "down" on Kobe for being a "ball hog" while praising Jordan for his stellar "supporting casts" he had while in Chicago. Consider this stat: in 1992-93, Jordan was 992/2003 from the field over 78 games, for a field goal percentage of 49.5%, and an average of 25.7 field goal attempts per game. Kobe, so far this year: 489/1082 through 39 games, field goal percentage of 45.2%, average field goal attempts per game of 27.7. That's 2 more FG attempts per game than the last year of Jordan's first threepeat with the bulls with an admittedly less-skilled cast of characters surrounding him than what Jordan had.

    So, to be on par with Jordan, he needs to pass instead of shoot twice a game. Huh? So he'd average six assists a game instead of four (assuming those passes turned into assists)? Seems to me like he should shoot more, not less.

     
  • At January 23, 2006 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Haters need to shut up

    1. Kobe is a legend now
    2. Shaq never won without kobe in ORl or MIA
    3. The pistons got their ass handed to them by the spurs.
    4. Kobe is playing with people who can't play. Why should he sacrifice wins to make you morons happy by passing the ball?
    5. Hating on a performance like this when you didn't even watch the game makes you look like a dumbass.
    6. Congratulations, duchebags, everywhere else people are finally waking up to the realization that they're watching one of the all time greats play. You idiots are still being bitter. It ok though, we're loving it without ya!!

     
  • At January 23, 2006 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I dont know why all u guys out there hate on Bryant so much. MJ had his haters in his days with Chicago too. I guess one big reason that many overlook is that as good as MJ and Kobe is, the wins they stack up over their respective years are at the expense of heartbroken fans on the other side. Knicks, Jazz, and other hapless fans hated Jordan because they are on the brunt end of his assault. Same thing applies for Kobe. And imagine all those die hard Sacramento, San Antonio, and Philadelphia fans felt. Hate him all u want, but both are great players nonetheless.

     
  • At January 23, 2006 2:50 PM, Blogger djej1 said…

    "But I'm glad this happened on the same day as the NFL conference championship games. Kobe's been overshadowed, relegated to third place in the sports news of the day - at least on the broadcasts and web pages I've seen and heard this morning. Sorry, Kobe. I just saw the highlights on SportsCenter, and I'm reading the recaps of the game at latimes.com and ESPN.com, so I know this really happened."

    I TiVo'ed sportscenter and they led off with Kobe's 81, so that statement is not completely accurate.

     
  • At January 23, 2006 3:57 PM, Anonymous rod said…

    Ummmm. This is probably just straight out Kobe hating. The article was obviously written by someone who didn't watch the game. The Lakers were DOWN by 18 when Kobe decided that enough was enough. The team basically stank it up. You think Kobe dropped 55 in the 2nd half to get his jollies off? Complete stupidity from the writer. Kobe has the will to win as Lebron said in ESPN mag, "Kobe wants to go out and just kill everybody." I dare you to watch the last 10 games and then speak. Did anyone say anything about David Robinson scoring 71 in the last game of the season in an attempt to cement an MVP? Note the difference people: David's game plan from the beginning was to drop as many points as possible. Kobe decided to takeover the game when they were down 18 and he was NOT going to lose that game. Fact is, if Kobe didn't take over, the Lakers would've lost.... I beg anyone to argue these points. Whether you like him or not, Kobe is a fierce competitor who will do anything to win...

     
  • At January 23, 2006 4:07 PM, Anonymous Kevin A. said…

    Dang, Ian. The Deadspinners are out in full force, spewing their SweatyHating. That's right, I coined a new term.

    If you can't stand Ian and Sweaty Men no matter what they do, then you have a major case of SweatyHating.

    Print it.

     
  • At January 23, 2006 4:28 PM, Blogger the sports dude said…

    Look, sorry you all, I am coming to the defense of the sweaty one here and will say this, it was ball hogging plain and simple. Good bye and thanks for the long ass comment string here people. Also, why are all of you "Kobe Lovers" anonymous? Where is the love in that? Peace.

     
  • At January 23, 2006 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    81 is impressive, but im still not sold. Kobe can have great nights and he will have nights when he struggles. The problem is, he doesnt seem to realize or refuses to. Case in pt: 2004 finals against pistons, when KB shot 39% from the field and appeared exhausted against Prince's defense: "I will just have to shoot through the slump"..It didnt work. They went on to lose the series in 5.

     
  • At January 23, 2006 6:57 PM, Blogger Ian C. said…

    Kevin, as long as you don't bottle it SweatyHating as SweatyHatorade, I think that'll be good for all of us. Who would drink that? And what color would it be?

     
  • At January 23, 2006 10:25 PM, Blogger mayday said…

    These people just don't get it. They never will, but I feel obligated to expel my vitriol anyway. Yes, Kobe is a great player. He's the best one-on-one player since Jordan. But it's less impressive for a great player to score 81 when said great player shoots like a drunken sailor pretty much EVERY single night. As long as Kobe stayed in shape, it was inevitable he was going to drop 70 or 80 eventually, shooting at the insufferably promiscuous frequency he does.

    When David Thompson went for 73, that was more impressive, because he wasn't somebody who always took THAT many shots, but was just in an incredible zone that night. When Jordan scored 63 in a PLAYOFF GAME (against a great team), that was way more impressive.

    The Kobe lovers say, "But Kobe has nobody else worth a damn on his team. Do you expect him NOT to shoot every night?" Well, this is the most hypocritical knob-polishing I've heard since I last read the National Review. Apparently these amnesiacs forgot that Kobe was SOLELY RESPONSIBLE for putting himself in this situation. He could have worked things out with Shaq; if Shaq were still on the Lakers they'd be hands down the second-most-feared team in the West. (Since the Spurs habitually tend to fall off the year after winning a title, the Lakers would stand a damn good chance to make the Finals.) He could have signed with a team with a bonafide decent roster when his contract expired. Nope, max money was worth missing the playoffs, never winning another title, and showering next to Chris Mihm.

    Kobe made these choices because he doesn't like anyone else on his team to get any of the credit, ever; he only tolerated it until he could get Shaq out of town. So now Kobe has his fantasy situation: scoring 81 and getting run off the floor in the first round of the playoffs by the Suns. Excuse me if I don't feel sorry for Kobe, having to suffer with subpar talent.

    And the only way Kobe is ever going to get his team to achieve beyond their present mediocrity is to get these not-so-great players involved in the flow of the game, to bring their skills along over course of the season as they develop "chemistry" and play as a "unit." This is what Jordan, Hakeem, Duncan did, winning titles surrounded by players that in pure talent terms weren't even playing the same sport. (Except David Robinson, but even he was past his peak when the Spurs won their first title.) Kobe could integrate Lamar Odom, who if he bought into the team's direction could develop into at least as much of an offensive force as Pippen. He could contribute to the development of Andrew Bynum and Brian Cook and Sasha Vujacic. (I agree that Mihm and Kwame are hopeless.) He has a couple of so-so veterans mostly stuck on the bench. It all doesn't sound like it adds up to much, but they could add up to more than they currently does if Kobe cared about being a winner and a leader. But he never will, so they never will. Maybe he cares about glaring and posing like a "leader" so his shills in the media will consider him such, but that just shows he doesn't even understand the meaning of the word.

    I compared Kobe to Jordan above, but only in one-on-one. Unfortunately, Kobe doesn't get paid to play one-on-one. Jordan may have been a prick, but Kobe isn't worthy to vacuum up his toe lint in BASKETBALL terms, because Jordan was never interested in anything but winning, and showed the greatest dedication to winning of any basketball player ever, and backed it up. Kobe doesn't care about winning. He only cares that he gets to take the final shot. If he doesn't make it, at least someone else didn't get the glory. Mentally, he's more like Pippen than he is Jordan.

    As an actual basketball player, Kobe barely cracks the top 5 post-Jordan. I don't even watch his games anymore, because he's such a waste of his skills. I'd rather watch Iverson, who at least has respect rather than contempt for his teammates, and understands intellectually that he needs them, even if sometimes he forgets in the flow of the game.

     
  • At January 24, 2006 1:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Its pretty damn sad that no matter what kobe does he is still gonna get hated on. If it would have been A.I,lebron, or t-mac with the exact same stats people would be calling them the greatest of all time, not ball hogs.

     
  • At January 24, 2006 9:56 AM, Blogger the sports dude said…

    Again I say this... if it would have been A.I., Lebron or T-Mac I would have said the same thing... ball hogs. I do not like that type of "glory" ball, that is all it is!

    What was the last thing A.I. won? The only coach he ever had that tried to get him to play "team ball" was Larry Brown. Even A.I. admitted last year that "you don't know what you got until it's gone".

    What was the last thing T-Mac won? Oh, that's right, a bunch of numbers, a bunch of back spasms and a bunch of bullshit. "Oh, you guys aren't helping me win anymore Orlando, trade me somewhere that I can win!" Pussy! Oh, and the other number I love is a 3-1 lead to the Pistons that his bitch ass choked away.

    Kobe is no different, no better, and I am glad he and Phil Jackson get to rot together in Laker hell beccaue they both are overrated if you ask me.

    Lebron, well, I actually like him, but that is because he plays (DECENT!) defense, where Kobe and T-Mac seemed bored at the thought of sweating on defense. Lebron gets rebounds, he gets assists and, a shocking thing here, he actually gets his teammates involved.

    Later.

     
  • At January 24, 2006 10:41 PM, Anonymous rod said…

    Sports dude and Mayday

    Sorry man. I have to say both of you have to get your facts straight before you start firing out comments.

    Mayday - David Thompson was a straight gunner. If you look back, it was the last game of the season and he was trying to obtain the scoring title. He had over 50 in the first half alone. You think that's not pure selfishness? But when Kobe drops 55 in the 2nd half when they're down by 18, that's pure selfishess? Did you see the game? Did you see how none of his teammates could score? Did you know Lamar was 0 for 6 and couldn't hit the side of the barn for his life? The reference to Jordan's game and I think you have to include Magic's final game of his rookie year when he played center to win the championship as much more of an accomplishment than what Kobe did. People need to understand that they need to distinguish this feat as a stand alone and must compare it to Wilt's 100. If you analyze the Wilt game (he shot 60 plus times, you would see that his teammates were fouling the Knicks just so they could get the ball back to Wilt to hit the 100 mark. Is that not selfishness?

    Kobe hoisted up those shots to WIN. The last 12 pts or so were definetly shot attempts to get to 80. Would you or any other allstar pass up that opportunity? I think not.

    Sportsdude -

    Lebron does not play better D than Kobe. He has limited lateral movement that weakens his ability to guard quicker players. Stackhouse was quoted as saying that Kobe was the better player because lebron doesn't put in enough effort on the defensive side that Kobe does.

    Final words: Whether you like him or not, Kobe does not take off a play ever. He may not make his teammates better and he does require a lot of improvement in that area, but lest anyone forget, Michael was the same way until years later in his career. Let's wait a few years without Shaq for Kobe to finally understand the big picture. Until then, just enjoy his talents...

     
  • At January 25, 2006 12:04 AM, Blogger mayday said…

    I'm not saying Kobe did wrong to go for 80 once he was in reach. What the hell else is he going to do, once he's come that far? I'm just saying it doesn't impress me like it would if someone else had done it; he was bound to break the non-Wilt record eventually, shooting every single night at his insane frequencies. I will agree with you that Kobe is a very strong defender. He won't have anything left on that end for the playoffs, assuming he keeps taking this many shots, but yeah, he has the skills.

    I am not impressed with observations that Odom's shot was off. Yours would be too if you were frozen out of the offense to the degree Odom is. He gets 6 or 8 shots a night, and after each one he has to cool off watching Kobe take on double-teams half-a-dozen times, hoping to get a rebound so he won't go the quarter without touching the ball again. He probably misses shots because he's busy trying to suppress thoughts of beating Kobe with a folding chair.

    I appreciate the info about David Thompson. I'm not saying he was being a team guy to score 73, I was just saying I find it More Impressive, because the zone DT found himself in was much more unusual for HIM personally. Kobe was fresh off having been headed for 75 or 80 against Dallas before he left the game. As long as he keeps playing this way he'll be on pace to score 70 2 or 3 times a season, and I still won't care, because it's always been obvious Kobe could do this, multiple times, if he focused on it. I repeat: it's a waste of Kobe's skill for him to play like this. Jordan was at least TRYING to figure out how to play with his teammates after considerably less experience in the league than Kobe has now. (I thought it was a good move for Kobe to take himself out against Dallas; it showed an awareness of how meaninglessly easy it would be for him to keep on scoring that night. A player as talented as he should be pushing himself in more challenging directions...but apparently, on reflection, he couldn't think of any.)

    I realize the Lakers were well behind against Toronto before Kobe really kicked it into gear. It's not news to me, and I'm not saying Kobe was being selfish by taking that many shots on Sunday. I'm saying he's selfish to average as many shots as he does, taking 35 or 40 shots on MANY nights. I'm saying he's selfish to put himself in a situation where that's his team's only chance to win. Remember, he wanted that situation; it was obvious as soon as he re-signed with the Lakers that this is how it would be. Apparently that's what his fans want to see him do. Enjoy it; I'd rather watch basketball.

     
  • At January 25, 2006 1:23 AM, Anonymous Rod said…

    Mayday - good comments. I agree with pretty much everything you said except I'm going to add a few things about Lamar. Lamar is no doubt a talented player. However, he is a fairly one dimensional player when it comes to scoring. The knock on Lamar is that he can only go to his left and that he is terrible in moving (getting open) off the ball. His outside shot is also fairly average. Forgetting about Kobe for now, Lamar's offensive game does not fit the triangle offense much like G Payton didn't fit two years ago. Both players require having the ball for a significant portion of each possession. Now, where Lamar does fit into the triangle offense is as a facilitator which Phil wants him to play. Unfortunately, when you have to pass the ball to the likes of Smush, Devean, Kwame, Sasha, B Cook and L. Walton, Lamar's overall game suffers as well. The only bright spot(if you can call it that) is Chris Mihm. He has the potential to become a 15/10 guy if he can stay out of foul trouble.

    On this note, I agree that the Lakers and Kobe are doomed if they continue to play this way. To be honest, I agree with you that the Lakers should play more team ball and try to balance themselves in preparation for post season play. Unfortunately, if they do that, the Lakers will not make the postseason. This is the dilemma that Kobe faces. He does not want to miss the playoffs two years in a row and his will will not allow that to happen. Kobe knows it and so does Phil (which is why he isn't reining him in...)

    Until there's a better nucleus of players, this is the reality that Laker fans live with and try to make the best of it until help arrives (if it does at all). MJ went through the same thing until Rodman, Grant, and Pippen arrived to solidify the team. I think everyone needs to sit back and wait 4-5 more years before truly judging Kobe and his place in history....

     
  • At January 25, 2006 1:33 AM, Anonymous rod said…

    A couple of other points: MJ, during his pre-Championship days, hoisted almost as many shots as Kobe is averaging these days and didn't come close to what Kobe's done. Neither has Iverson(who averages a ridiculous amt of shots per game in his career but no one is knocking him like Kobe). And if you get the chance to see the Bulls-Celtic game that Jordan scored 63 ( i saw it on ESPN classic), you'd be shocked. He shot the ball every single time down the court. It has to be understood that Jordan shot the ball that much because he felt he needed to in order to win. Not only in that game but in his first 4-5 seasons. Once the other key components of the team were formed, he adjusted his game accordingly. Let's wait and see what happens once they're able to do the same with Kobe....

     
  • At January 25, 2006 11:44 AM, Blogger the sports dude said…

    Look, one last time and I will leave this shit all alone for good. Don't you think his Laker "teammates" might have been shell shocked when they actually got the ball? I mean, they probably didn't know what to do with it and were putting up bricks because they were surprised to actually be touching "the rock". Shit, if you were never looked at as an option because "your teammate" is jacking up 46 shots I probably would shit a brick too and miss when I actually touched the ball as well.

    Plain and simple, ball hogging at its purest defintion and I am proud to be a "hater" if that is what you must call me.

     

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