Monday, August 25, 2008

The World Will Witness

A year ago Lebron James launched his nike billboard campaign 'The World Will Witness' after the games, we can be left wondering what. Solid team play from team USA? Kobe Bryant doing impressive shit? Dwayne Wade making an incredible recovery from surgery to be the leading individual contributor?
The two superstars of last season Kobe and Chris Paul were rather reserved in their performances. I did see Kobe do an incredible Reverse Alley-Oop and not the kind where a guy at an offencive basket lobs the ball long to a person who dunks from half-court. That would be impossible. But merely that he recieved the ball with his back to the board and leaped behind the basket and still made the shot. Or something.
Anyway, Kobe has continued to impress all by not being a one man army. His new found dedication to being a team player has seen him get to the NBA finals for the first time post-shaq and now won him an Olympic gold medal.
Lebron James is wedged firmly between Kobe as the old guard and Chris Paul as the future of the game, not only winning rookie of the year two seasons ago but being runner up to Kobe Bryant in only his third season.
That means James is shaping up not to be a has been, but a 'Never-was' he will thus be nike's most heavily promoted 'Never-was' ever. Just behind him Carmello Anthony. And with teams in the west being crazy strong, consider the lineups of New Orleans Hornets, Pheonix Suns, LA Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers, LA Lakers and the east playing host to the big 3 and defending champions Boston as well as The Derrick Rose lead 'Baby-bulls' and Miami Heats twin towers of power in Beasley and Marion and a resurgent Dwayde it doesn't look particularly good for LeBron. Also assuming that like AFL Heavier bodies slow down faster, LeBron is shaping up to go from a versatile Johnson style shooting guard to a plodding Tim Duncan like workhorse, it doesn't look like it will take long for Lebron to be a ringchasing trade junkie.
But I hate talking about Lebron, almost as much as I hate Nike trying to force him down my throat or the fact that he gets marketing slogans tattooed on his body and somehow has more money than me.
I want to talk about Kobe. Kobe represents my kind of player now, I watched him play Australia in the Quarterfinals. Australia stayed competitive for the first half, more or less while Kobe stayed quiet. Then in the third Period, Kobe came out and blew the game open in about 6 minutes to something like a 14 point advantage. Then he went quiet again, had a bit of back and fourth with Miller, gotta love Miller.
Then Kobe sat down.
Hopefully this precludes a long career for Kobe, where he can become this guy that gets up off the bench at 3-quarter time to blow a game wide open, then sit down again until he is about 54.
In my view, Kobe having a team that should have been capable of winning a Gold medal without him meant that they were only going to ever win a Gold Medal. Simply because any time any team ever got close or looked competive they could just unleash Kobe for A COUPLE OF MINUTES.
I know he was a starter and on court for a lot of time. But to me there were clearly times when he was just playing his part, and then there were times when he was an unstoppable force of nature. Then he'd just simmer right down again.
Aside from Usain Bolt, Kobe was the most exciting athlete at the games, and just like Usain Bolt, both gave me the impression that they won, and had plenty of space to hold back.

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