At first I thought it was my eggs. Then I realized I nearly choked on my annoyance as it welled up in my throat. The collection of douchebags commonly known as the media was at it again. More specifically, the sports media. It started before the NBA playoffs.
During one of these homogenized pre-game shows, Dan Patrick asks Mark Jackson to make his predictions on the outcomes of the various series. When the conversation arrived at the Suns/Lakers series, Jackson smugly predicts that the Lakers are going to win the series. He goes on to say the reason for his "stunning" prediction is the Lakers have Kobe Bryant. A glance at the respective playoff rosters makes Kobe an unlikely reason, but I agreed the Lakers would win the series. Then, as the series has progressed with the Lakers taking a commanding lead, increasingly more basketball pundits are talking about this being an upset. Finally, this morning Skip Bayless, whose contrarian shtick has reached threadbare, says what a great upset this is going to be and that Kobe Bryant has out Nashed Steve Nash. That’s about where I started choking.
Look: This is neither a surprise nor an upset. Sure you can look at the seedings and call it an upset, but that’s an upset in nomenclature only. From where I sit, it’s an upset when the outcome is totally unexpected. With Amare Stoudemire and Kurt Thomas on the bench for the season, it’s no surprise that the Suns lose to the Lakers. In fact, if the Suns only had Stoudemire this would have been a sweep in favor of the Suns. But add Kurt Thomas, another big body in the low post, and the games get cruel and unusual for the Lakers. I know. I know. They didn’t have Stoudemire most of the season and they were able to secure the number two seed and Nash won the MVP for that reason. But you know they don’t really start playing ball in the NBA until the playoffs, or right before. So the notion that this is a big upset of some kind is just media twaddle.
All this bullshit about Kobe out Nashing Steve Nash is more media twaddle. The entire I’m-not-a-selfish player role that Kobe is playing strikes me as a work of fiction. Plus, Phil Jackson knows they are getting a pass playing a depleted Suns team. This is a good time to familiarize Kobe with the concept of team–a concept that has escaped him thus far. I predict Kobe resumes his shooting spree in the next round. Also, what is the deal with Kobe changing his jersey number? He claims he wore 8 as a tribute to Dantoni, and so now he is going to switch to 24 next year. Spare me. Never has anything seemed to be a more contrived, desperate attempt at rebuilding an image. An image that was cracking before proving that the word "no" is as foreign to him as the concept of team. What, a rebirth through a number change?Shaq called him a weirdo. I’m compelled to agree. What’s more, he should be shooting those game winning jumpers in pick up games at Canyon City. Gotta win by two, Kobe. Gotta win by two.