Let’s go Back/Forth, for a bit, shall we?
In this weekly segment, two writers will trade paragraphs concerning whatever’s on their hearts and minds. Whether that range from music, to sports, to red cups from Starbucks, or whatever it may be, it’ll be a fun, entertaining read. That being said, if you rock with the content, be sure to follow TheREDEFINED on Twitter and Facebook. If you would rather follow myself and/or Nick W., the resident “hoops junkie, beard enthusiast and professional Sasquatch caller” (his words, not mine), feel free to do that as well, I guess (@K1ngEljay and @A37Sports). Be warned, we do this a lot on Twitter…
That being said, enjoy the read, and be sure to check back for more soon.
Kobe’s Olympic Aspirations…
Eljay – Before we even begin, it has to be said that Kobe Bryant is arguably one of the greatest players in NBA history. I get that it’s fun to hate on him because he’s a part of the Lakers (I have the Vine compilations to prove it, ha!), but if you step out of that bubble for a moment, even the most anti-Laker fanatics can admit that Kobe is different than most.
That being said, would you let him – hypothetically, of course – be a part of the upcoming NBA Olympic team? Because I have questions if that’s a yes…
Nick W. – For the majority of my following of basketball, which is the majority of Kobe’s career, I’ve been a Laker/Kobe hater. While still anti-Laker, I’ve grown an appreciation for Kobe and his… Kobeisms. I don’t really know another way to put it. Kobe is Kobe. He has been and always will be. The negatives can be talked about forever, but it can’t be taken away from him that he is one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball. Go ahead with your questions, because I do believe he deserves to play for gold next year.
Eljay – You don’t think that’s based off of “NBA tenure,” though? I mean, I feel it’ll be fun to see Kobe there, but I’m pretty sure there’s others that’s way more deserving this year of the spot. How do you turn down the other more deserving athlete to say, “Aye bruh, I respect it, but Kobe got dibs” ? I could see that becoming controversial, in a sense.
Nick – A lot of Kobe’s career has been based off controversy, but that’s another topic entirely. Sure, it may be based off of his persona and stature in the league, but I’d like to site Larry Bird as an example of this same situation. 1992 Olympics, Bird was coming off the last season of his career with an extremely bad back which, as you know, is probably the worst part of your body to get injured as a veteran NBA player (Consider what the back issues are doing to LeBron lately. Bird was 35 years old with a bad back and was invited to play. I have to imagine that part of that reason was because of who he is. Granted, his last season doesn’t look anything like Kobe’s, but take out the injuries that Kobe has accumulated the last few years and I don’t think we’re even having this discussion.
On your other point, sure there are more deserving players and there will be some controversy, but when is there not? Every season the NBA talking heads talk about all-star snubs, and then Olympic snubs when those years come around. Go back to 1992 with Christian Laettner being on the senior team, beating out Shaq for the only collegiate roster spot. Did Laettner deserve that spot more than Shaq? Sure, his team accomplished more than Shaq’s LSU teams, but Laettner also had a great coach with great resources. I will also contend that he wasn’t near the player that Shaq was, even though Laettner is one of the best collegiate players ever (as much as it pains me to write that, it’s true). More recently you have the snub of Damian Lillard being left off of the USA team that played in the 2014 World Cup in favor of Mason Plumlee (!!!) and DeMar DeRozan (not to take anything from DeMar, but Lillard is a better player). There’s always going to be a player that gets left off that people believe deserve to be on the team.
Eljay – I think my biggest issue in the past is that even those older athletes deserved the spot. They may have been in decline, but it the process of the decline, not the depths of the valley itself. I’m not the one to give up hope on anyone, but when NBA JAM montages are being made concerning your field goal percentage – or lack thereof – it’s definitely something to acknowledge.
It’s not even a graceful descent at this point. It’s a plummet from Mount Olympus with no harness or parachute. The only person that you could argue that fell as quick was Larry Legend, but even that was cushioned a bit because of back injuries and general approval.
What’s Kobe’s cushion, man? Because his team is definitely not helping his case right now.
Nick – Unfortunately I think his cushion has disappeared. I was afraid of this when I first mentioned to you that he was being run into the ground under D’Antoni. Kobe is quoted as saying that he doesn’t want to go out as just a role player, but at the top of his game, whether that be his own abilities or as a winner, we’ll never know. His pride is killing his career more right now than his body. If he goes to USA camp and earns a spot, great. If he doesn’t, nobody will be surprised. The true fans know the end is here, it’s just a question of when Kobe sees it.
What do you think? Does Kobe deserve that Olympic spot? Leave a comment below and weigh in!