So many mixed feelings with me when it comes to the Kobster.
Full disclosure: Im a Magic Johnson era Lakers fan inductee. That is when I was a kid & I thought that the way the NBA worked was the Lakers always played the Celtics in the finals.
Ive continued to love the Lakers with all their successes & faults throughout the years. But none of the post Magic superstars has been as polarizing as Kobe. We all know the familiar arguments of what is loved & hated about him, & I think in many ways most of them are correct.
For me Kobe is best when he is accepted for what he is (a singular, generational talent), instead of compared against what he is not (Magic, Bird or Jordan). He is his own thing, & that thing is great, but it has its drawbacks too.
This is where Kobe has changed me as a fan & where my questions comes in.
One thing I truly have come to love about Kobe is his intensity, competitiveness, and real fearlessness. He wants to win more than I want him to win. That's in short supply in the NBA.
He isnt diplomatic about it (often to a fault, and sometimes overlooking his own role in things) but ultimately calls out losing & pushes toward winning at all costs.
And I love that. Winning is the only thing with him. Never have to worry that hes thinking of his brand, or how hes perceived, or trying next year, or being nice. Nope. Just wants to win.
When he ultimately retires, the Lakers will continue & probably have Howard & certainly other superstars throughout my life. But I think Im going to judge all of their attitudes & actions (not talent) against Kobe.
Im already doing it to Howard (who just BEGS to be singled out with his goofing about) and see myself being unsatisfied with anyone with a less than Kobe-esque approach. And there aint but maybe 3 guys out there who can live up to that. (Always wanted to see KG & Kobe on the same team, I mean, can you imagine? Wed either have won 5 straight titles or blown up the Staples center).
This is what Im thinking today & it beats working. Thoughts?