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Wow, what a show. The NBA had the Finals it wanted, Boston vs. Los Angeles. But more importantly, it was able to finally put it's most visible player for it's biggest franchise back into play for the first time in years. Kobe Bryant was supposed to be the new Jordan, only in Hollywood all those years ago, only to dash his own career with his twisted idea of Room Service.
The campaign to revive this guy's career has been remarkable, and at times even impressive. Like Barack Obama's current presidential run, it was seen as a racial crusade. The Man had torn The Black Star down. Forget that the NBA and the Lakers had Bryant stocked up to his armpits in lawyers and media spinners. Or that he had to admit he was cheating on his wife --- regularly. He knew how to pass the rock on that one. Then, he played games while under indictment, one of the shabbiest displays in sports history.
The NBA was in bail-out mode. Nothing this bad had happened since the Strike, or since Jordan's father being murdered with allegations of gambling ties in the air, complete with his Airness's sudden and curious retirement to baseball. This was again the most marketable star on the league's biggest team going down in flames, and threatening to scorch the league right along with him.
For much of the decade black media stars spoke for him. Yo, Stuart Scott. Michael Wilbon looks nearly aroused when Bryant's name entered the discussion. It was a badge of honor to help their fellow brother up.
Since then I've heard all kinds of things to promote #24: why, his 81-point game, which the Lakers won by just six points, was better than Wilt's 100, even as The Big Dipper had a triple double with a triple in his game in points, rebounds and blocks. Kobe was in fact better than KG or LeBron, even though Bryant did not rebound or pass at their level. There were the many furious Nash vs. Kobe arguements, often racially divided. Until this year, there was no question which one passed better or helped his team win more. Nash. The game is about teams winning and not flashy stats, right? Some do not agree, and today they are usually Kobe fans.
Then they stocked his team with long young stars, robbing little Memphis in the process. There's no question the league had to try and do something with their well-known Laker scorer. The time was now.
Boston, who had robbed Minnesota to get their superstar in much the same manner, had had it much easier in the East, right? All those cheap wins over New York, Miami and Milwaukee, among others. Surely someone would send the Celtics a copy of the script, right?
The Lakers lost as a team to a much better team, no question. That is the first story about this series. But the Super Playah had proven his lack of greatness in the process. Most of the games were huge comebacks and wipeouts. Kobe's group were lucky to get a single win. Irish lucky.
In the end, the Celtics had stopped The Second Airness from scoring, and also found that Bryant had nothing else in the cupboard after his shot. No leadership, no passing, no big stops. Nothing.
Kobe's next prime time appearance should be on " ER ". While New England celebrates another loaded champion, Kobe and the religion that bows to him will now somehow have to find another arguement. Once the gagging stops...