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RaidersLakers24
06-15-2011, 02:17 PM
Unveiling Kobe's taunt message for LeBron
By KEVIN DING

Enlarge Photo
Kobe Bryant tried hard not to smile.

Before the just-completed season began, I was recounting Bryant's own story back to him – an underpublicized and deeply revealing anecdote of direct interaction between the NBA's two interplanetary luminaries during LeBron James' summer shift away from Cleveland – and even though he was trying to steer clear of any of James' controversy, the briefly curling corners of Kobe's mouth gave away how much he enjoyed even hearing me tell it.

Bryant's Lakers beating the Celtics in Game 7 finished the story of the 2009-10 season before James' navigation of free agency hijacked the headlines. So Bryant detached himself from celebrating the championship he now admits means more to him than any of his previous four because of how hard-earned it was to offer a message to LeBron that could never have come from anyone but.

It went like this from Kobe:

"Go ahead and get another MVP, if you want. And find the city you want to live in. But we're going to win the championship. Don't worry about it."

So Kobe.

His cutting humor. His unwavering cockiness.

His insistence on putting put LeBron in his place.

It was fair enough at the time, too.

Bryant's comfort zone has been busted now, with James' former head coach to feel out – and it is understood that Bryant's reaction to Mike Brown's hiring did include disappointment, at least as far as it was expressed to the jilted Brian Shaw. Back then, though, Bryant's key conversations over the summer were with his most trusted compatriots, Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher, just making sure they would follow through with their expected re-signings to keep the ball rolling.

The Lakers had the back-to-back titles – and James had to take solace in his back-to-back NBA MVP trophies, Bryant getting outscored in first-place votes those years by a whopping 225-2 margin ... but twice being named NBA Finals MVP.

James could've this season joined Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird as the only players in league history to win three consecutive NBA regular-season MVP awards. Bryant was clearly resigned to that happening wherever James went – except James sacrificed that opportunity (or it might be more accurate in his case to say he surrendered that burden) to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami and challenge Bryant's hold on the team title.

To understand fully why Bryant couldn't have fathomed James making such a move, you have to understand Bryant.

Yes, he was an oft-unsavory sidekick to Shaquille O'Neal, absolutely unsinkable no matter how many times the long arms of O'Neal or even Jackson tried to tow him to go with the flow of the waves. That's just how Bryant is.

There's a reason "Braveheart" stands next to "Gladiator" and "The Godfather" atop the movie-loving Bryant's all-time list. Beyond winning or leading his own army, his dream was to lead his underdog army to the ultimate victory.

Yet there was James last summer, making the diametrically opposite move: from independence to dependence. On some level, it was a perfectly respectable thing to exercise his right to maximize his chances of having team success. To Bryant, there was no bravery in it ... and even less heart.

Back in 2007, Bryant railed about wanting to be traded from the Lakers not to give up the challenge of building something on his own, but because he so desperately yearned to build something on his own that he couldn't stand the idea of wasting any more time not building.

The Lakers came through for him in acquiring Fisher and Pau Gasol and nurturing Andrew Bynum – and from Bryant's big ditch finally arose the tallest building in both 2009 and '10 before this year's lunch break.

James was seemingly positioned to step into Bryant's void. James had indeed conceded the NBA MVP – finishing third, Bryant taking fourth – but wound up there at the playoffs' end against the Dallas team that had swept away Bryant's team in Round 2.

Then James came up smaller in the NBA Finals than even Bryant could've projected. Seeing the self-proclaimed "King James" playing with one hand on the mute button, continuing a career so lacking in soundtrack, and over and over passing the ball to Wade with the other hand should remind us all to believe the old adage: Adversity makes us stronger.

James was "the man" even while just an unbelievably strong, fast boy. He was always coddled, rarely disappointed and wound up lacking the mental tools to turn big-game momentum single-handedly or just turn himself into something more than great.

What is missing is the makeup of Michael Jordan, Wade or Bryant. They are normal-sized, comparatively. Jordan famously failed to make his high-school basketball team as a sophomore, and the same exact thing actually happened to Wade. Despite genetic advantages for basketball from both parents, Bryant has always viewed himself as an underdog – dating back to being the outcast trying to cut it on U.S. blacktops and hardwoods after being raised overseas with all the midfielders and keepers.

There's no quantifying that drive at a scouting combine, but it's far more inspiring than athletic talent. To James' credit, in a way, he was acknowledging that in ignoring Bryant's message and hitching himself to Wade's wagon – and then deferring in all those pivotal moments in these NBA Finals.

It calls to mind another conversation I had with Bryant not too long ago, about his thinking regarding sidekicks.

Bryant rattled off the names: Oscar Robertson and Lew Alcindor. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Scottie Pippen and Jordan.

"All the dynamic duos," Bryant said, his time with O'Neal unlisted but implied. "The sidekick had never gone off to win a championship without his partner. That was something I was fully aware of. It was a huge challenge to do it."

That's how different they are, Kobe and LeBron.

Neither had the banner year or last laugh this year, ultimately, but they're set up finally to cross the same road ... if there is a 2012 NBA Finals instead of an ongoing labor stoppage.

Two top-talent-heavy, deeply motivated teams: The Heat and Lakers have already been installed by oddsmakers as the clear conference favorites – Miami pegged as twice as likely a proposition to win it all.

Two interplanetary luminaries with their prides stung: Only one, however, isn't afraid to fail – and has proved he can even build off it.

It's not the one who said after losing Sunday night: "All the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today."

And we thought Bryant's message for James last offseason was condescending.

Well, here's another message for James: Through a wonderful phenomenon called learning from our mistakes, we commoners have actually experienced far more growth in life than you.

http://m.ocregister.com/sports/bryant-304531-james-nba.html?utm_source=bleacherreport.com&utm_medium=referral


Thoughts?

dnewguy
06-15-2011, 02:18 PM
You expect anyone to read all that? Good luck

k.smith904
06-15-2011, 02:20 PM
good read, except Kobe didn't win the championship, he got swept in the 2nd round.

justinnum1
06-15-2011, 02:21 PM
You expect anyone to read all that? Good luck

this

Kenny Powders
06-15-2011, 02:24 PM
Excellent read

king4day
06-15-2011, 02:26 PM
Too much to read it all but I saw the part where Kobe said he's winning the title while Lebron worries about where he's moving. Obviously it was last year so it's irrelevant now but since Kobe didn't win, this thread didn't need to be made. Makes Kobe look stupid as well.

BALLER R
06-15-2011, 02:33 PM
is it just me but i always got the feeling that kobe doesn't like lebron

BigCityofDreams
06-15-2011, 02:35 PM
Interesting read

madiaz3
06-15-2011, 02:36 PM
I read all of it, because it was a good article. Didn't take any longer than a few minutes. You should probably edit your post to re-read "Do you expect any Heat fan to read through this?"

gaughan333
06-15-2011, 02:36 PM
I read about half. Too long, too out dated

RaidersLakers24
06-15-2011, 02:37 PM
is it just me but i always got the feeling that kobe doesn't like lebron

Yeah I get that feeling 2 for some reason it's like they have respect for each other but personally they dont like each other, personally I think alot of stars
Dislike Lebron for some reason idk why though

BigCityofDreams
06-15-2011, 02:37 PM
You expect anyone to read all that? Good luck

For some reason the article was posted more than once.

KnicksR4Real
06-15-2011, 02:37 PM
nice read

gaughan333
06-15-2011, 02:37 PM
I also get the feeling he doesn't like lebron. I also get the feeling that he really doesn't respect the decision he made. Oh well, Lebron will probably end up with a few rings when it's said and done

madiaz3
06-15-2011, 02:38 PM
I read about half. Too long, too out dated

Unveiling Kobe's taunt message for LeBron
By KEVIN DING
06/15/2011 9:34 AM

:confused::confused:

Kashmir13579
06-15-2011, 02:39 PM
You expect anyone to read all that? Good luck


this

you are the worst.

KnicksR4Real
06-15-2011, 02:40 PM
I read all of it, because it was a good article. Didn't take any longer than a few minutes. You should probably edit your post to re-read "Do you expect any Heat fan to read through this?"

u can only have one sig pic dude. just saying

BigCityofDreams
06-15-2011, 02:40 PM
Yeah I get that feeling 2 for some reason it's like they have respect for each other but personally they dont like each other, personally I think alot of stars
Dislike Lebron for some reason idk why though

I wonder if Jordan feels the same way. I've heard writers mention that Jordan isn't too high on Lebron.

Saad
06-15-2011, 02:40 PM
Is his taunt supposed to be that he won two championships while LeBron just won MVPs? Isnt this really outdated then..?

ThunderZubb
06-15-2011, 02:46 PM
You expect anyone to read all that? Good luck


I read the whole thing and it was a great read

Jealous because everything in the article is true?

kikeyanez
06-15-2011, 02:54 PM
You expect anyone to read all that? Good luck

cant agree more:clap:

RaidersLakers24
06-15-2011, 02:57 PM
I wonder if Jordan feels the same way. I've heard writers mention that Jordan isn't too high on Lebron.

Yeah I don't think MJ likes him either, and it probably because he holds himself at such high standards without proving anything yet

The Final Boss
06-15-2011, 02:59 PM
Lmao People continue to mistake stupidity for confidence. Is this what society has become? Don't answer that.

nickdymez
06-15-2011, 03:12 PM
Too much to read it all but I saw the part where Kobe said he's winning the title while Lebron worries about where he's moving. Obviously it was last year so it's irrelevant now but since Kobe didn't win, this thread didn't need to be made. Makes Kobe look stupid as well.

Kobe looks stupid because he predicted his team to win the tittle? ok bro

gaughan333
06-15-2011, 03:21 PM
Unveiling Kobe's taunt message for LeBron
By KEVIN DING
06/15/2011 9:34 AM

:confused::confused:

Kobes "taunt" not the article. He said it before this season

John Walls Era
06-15-2011, 03:24 PM
Bold the important stuff. I got bored after reading half.

Ripper Gein
06-15-2011, 03:26 PM
You expect anyone to read all that? Good luck

I DID Great read!

BigCityofDreams
06-15-2011, 03:31 PM
"James was "the man" even while just an unbelievably strong, fast boy. He was always coddled, rarely disappointed"

There is some truth to that. That doesn't mean he has never been through anything in his life because I'm sure he has. I bet there were moments that he had to overcome but in a basketball sense he was given the keys to the kingdom before he even played in an NBA. He didn't have to fight for playing time because he was going to his hometown team and his raw talent wouldn't be regulated to the bench. He was the star in HS unlike Jordan and Wade. He was a number pick 1 crowned the chosen while those other guys had to rise to the top before the accolades were placed upon them.

Tony_Starks
06-15-2011, 03:35 PM
You should rename this thread "Attention Span Test"

BigCityofDreams
06-15-2011, 03:36 PM
Yeah I don't think MJ likes him either, and it probably because he holds himself at such high standards without proving anything yet

Good point.

It even goes back to the video that came out a while back when he was asked who's better. He could have avoided the question or said they are both great players that attack the game differently. But he chose to let ppl know how he felt. It's not the fact that he picked Kobe but it's the way he did it.

mttwlsn16
06-15-2011, 03:37 PM
You expect anyone to read all that? Good luck

lol my thoughts exactly

The Final Boss
06-15-2011, 03:41 PM
Some truth? Lol

Its the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me God.

Wilson
06-15-2011, 03:59 PM
It's an interesting read but a bit of a moot point considering both of them flamed out against the Mavs (the article said as much).

I find it interesting that both these guys have been compared to Michael Jordan throughout their careers and one has been so un-afraid of failing that it sometimes hurt his team because he tried to do too much. The other was (seemingly) so afraid of failing that he stood back and did nothing when his team needed him to be the man. Jordan must be loving this :laugh:

BigBlueCrew
06-15-2011, 04:01 PM
I read it

It would be totally interesting if the Lakers and Heat met in the Finals next year not only for the Kobe vs Lebron match up also for the Lebron vs Mike Brown match up.