Sunday, June 7, 2009

The New Kobe?

A lot has been made by the scowl that donned the face of Kobe Bryant during game one of the NBA Finals against Orlando last Thursday. It was as determined an under bite that's ever been seen in sports.

Surely, the face is a reaction to all the media and nay-sayers out there who, expertly enough, had been taking shots at Kobe left and right, deciding what his legacy would be, labeling him "the guy who can't win without Shaq," and questioning if he is still the best in the league.

In a recent interview with Magic Johnson, Kobe dismissed the talk saying that Shaq couldn't have won those Lakers' championships without him, nor could the Lakers have won any of those rings without the entire team. Still, we all know how competitive professional athletes are. We all hear those stories about the best of the best finding the smallest and loneliest negative snippet from some unknown magazine and using it for the motivation factor of "no one thinks I can do it."

Well, it seems that Kobe has decided to use a little snippet called ESPN and the national sports media to motivate him.

Is Kobe still the best player in the league? Is he the best closer? Do you still build your team around Kobe if given the chance? Kobe's game one performance and Kobe's passionate look of determination scream YES!

Is it a new Kobe? No. Same guy. In fact, if anything, he's older. Older and tired of the labels, sick of the interviews and realizing that championships are more rare than his early career gave credit for. This year, he seems poised to get another one.