On Kobe. Sit back, enjoy the show.

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With the last gasp wins that Kobe’s recently provided LA with, he’s certainly been a topic of conversation all over the ether.
And as inexorably as gravity, someone will bring up Michael Jordan whenever Kobe Bryant is discussed.  It’s inevitable.
And what I’m referring to isn’t the fanboi conversation where some idiot fan just says – with no consideration about what he’s actually saying – “Kobe’s better than MJ”.  What I’m talking about is discussion between people who should know better than to make the comparison in the first place.
Almost without fail tho’, those that bring up Jordan in a Kobe discussion are Kobe’s detractors.
It’s amazing.
Bring up Kobe’s amazingly clutch buzzer-beaters in a discussion or on a forum and it’s “Jordan was more clutch…”.  Wax lyrical over the amazing array of circus shots and it’s “MJ’s were more incredible…”.  Talk about how fantastic it is that Kobe’s always looking to take his game to new heights and it’s “Jordan’s post game was better.”  Of late, it’s the concept of clutch.  Some people just won’t let go of their need to compare the two, and even better – won’t apply the same parameters to both.
The thing I don’t understand, why does he have to be Jordan?  Why can’t Kobe, simply be Kobe?
Having grown up during the Jordan years, I can fully appreciate how amazing Michael Jordan was.  Well… maybe not fully.  I’d guess that in my teens as a young Lakers fan I probably didn’t appreciate him the way I should have, the way I do now.
But I also think that the flip side of that is that some remember the Jordan years as maybe a little bit glossier than they actually were… it’s natural, just something we all do: remember the past as better than we thought at the time.  Don’t misunderstand me: I’m of the opinion that Michael Jordan was the greatest player ever to step on the hardwood… and I’d put Wilt as perhaps the most dominant (sorry Shaq) – not too far behind Jordan as GOAT.
I think that Kobe’s right up there, not far below.
What’s more… in the fullness of time, I think history will remember him as such.
Yes, I get that some feel that he’s “a divisive personality”.  That he’s a “hate him or love him” player.  Largely tho’, that’s Kobe of the past.  And those refusing to live in the present are missing out on truly appreciating some basketball the like of which comes around very, very rarely.
Yes, I’m a fan of Kobe Bryant’s.  I think that there’s no-one in basketball at the moment that comes close to having as complete a game as #24.  Sure, LeBron has an incredible ability to take the ball to the basket.  But Kobe possesses a far greater arsenal. It all depends what you like: a player who can beat you in oh-so-many ways… or someone who excels at one particular skill as to be nigh on unstoppable.
The thing that I find so great about Kobe’s game, the thing I find so Jordanesque, is not what he does on the court… but what he does in regard to the game off the court.  Kobe’s always striving to make himself better.  More complete. 
I know of people who really appreciate the game.  Who love basketball… but would claim that they’d quit supporting their team if Kobe was on their roster.  That they wouldn’t take him.  I have news for you: your GM would, in a heartbeat.  If he could manage it.  Kobe’s done an amazing job of reconstructing himself post-Colorado.  Of late, I’ve even seen long-term anti-fans give up the hate.  Still, some (many?) remain (I mean… c’mon – voting Kobe at 7th in an MVP vote?).
My recommendation to all would be to let go of the hate, the endless/mindless comparisons… and enjoy the game.
As history stands, there’s no doubting that as their careers stand now, Jordan’s better than Kobe.  My retort is a resounding “So?”…
Sit back and enjoy the ride.
From my perspective, it’s one helluva view.
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