Thoughts As I read about Kobe after his final game...
Kobe is most like Jordan because of his ruthless competitiveness do anything to e the best at basketball. Basketball was everything to Kobe. Nothing else mattered. That was his secret. That was his power. Total focus. Total certainty.
I wish I could take that attitude now.
I had it once. But everyone in my life told me otherwise. School was more important. Family is more important. God is more important. Money is more important. Girls were more important. Graduating college fast is more important. Job is more important. I never did make the game my top priority. Or when I did I never stood up to the people who said otherwise. As I have said before I gave in on my priorities and gave up on myself as a result.
Kobe became Black mamba after Colorado. He embraced the villain role. He had been more of a golden boy prodigy up to that point. I hated him up until Colorado. When he became a villain I liked him. As a hero, golden boy prodigy with the bling dynasty I hated him. I don't know why. I think I was jealous because I wanted to be golden boy Kobe, but couldn't empathize with him at all. The mamba I felt I could empathize with, but didn't want to be him anymore.
Kobe was criticized for hogging the ball his whole career until the end when all anyone wanted was to see him shoot every time. Fans want wins first, but they want a spectacle as 1a. They prefer both. The only way to truly please everyone would be to equate winning with Kobe scoring as a direct correlation. This is essentially what Kobe was doing for much of his career, and he took criticism from both sides every time he failed at one or the other. He wins his 5th title but gets blasted for going 7 for 26. He refuses to shooting a game to make w point and Gris accused of sacrificing wins for his own ego. For all the times Kobe has said he didn't care to please anyone, he seems to have spent his career single-mindedly attempting to do the one thing that would please everyone.
Kobe was intentionally aloof or a loner so he didn't have relationships complicating his focus and drive. He seemed intentional about it. He knew he had to walk the road alone or he might get side tracked. Jordan didn't seem to be concerned that others would side track him.
Kobe practiced making ridiculous shots. He expected to take them in games. He expected he would continue to take them even when he missed.
Kobe always was the first to the gym and the last to leave. He would be early and late tone alone. With all the former players saying they wish Kobe would have let them in and been more open to them, the obvious route into Kobe's trust would have been to put in those extra hours in the gym with him day after day. Did anyone try this? How did Phil Jackson not try this? After all he would send Steve Kerr out to party with Rodman to make sure Dennis was part of the team. He probably did with some rookies and Kobe made them cry.
Did the Lakers ever try bringing in a player from a former championship team to try and get through to Kobe? A John Daley from the Pistons type? Robert Horry might be the closest as he could have said, hey this is how we won titles with Hakeem in Houston. My guess is Bob tried and he is probably as close and respects by Kobe as any other teammate has been.
Kobe made reference to having created mythologies in his mind that he hopes to make into movies and books. I have to believe mythology creation goes hand in hand with walking alone. All the experience Kobe never shared was internalized as an epic mythology. That's probably how it's always gone.
It's as if the creative impulse that has been suppressed due to the pursuit of other things builds up and has no choice but to exist in the ultimate for of creative expression: Kobe created a whole new world.
The thought of Kobe and Michael Jackson bonding over being child prodigies blows my mind yet makes perfect and even poetic sense.
Kobe's last 3 seasons were ruined by injury as his body slowly gave out a piece at a time. He, along with KG and Tim Duncan are pulling off the fast rise slow demise that really had been unheard of until now. Usually the demise just springs up on you like it did Peyton Manning. Especially when you are a child star like all these guys were from the moment they touched a ball.