Forgive this Lakers blog writer for writing yet another "OMG Kobe" piece, but Kobe Bryant is demanding just such a piece with nearly every game. It is becoming surreal. How can one man continue to produce so many dramatic moments, make so many big plays, and show so much grit, toughness, and determination? What can he possibly continue to do for an encore?
Kobe Bryant's legend is already assured. With 4 championships, an MVP and a Finals MVP to his credit, he already has the hardware of a top 10 all-time guy. He could retire tomorrow and he would still be known as one of the best of all time. And yet, Kobe has taken his legend to a completely different level this season. It has gotten to the point where hyperbole no longer does him justice. His list of recent feats is becoming so ridiculous that it sounds like a tall tale. Forget the comparisons to Micheal Jordan or LeBron James. It's time we start comparing Kobe to Paul Bunyan or William Wallace.
Just to get the events all in one place, here's what Kobe has been up to for the last few weeks.
Friday, December 4th - Kobe hits the game winner against Miami that he would later call the "luckiest shot I've ever hit in my life.
Friday, December 11th - Kobe breaks his finger in the first half of a game against the Timberwolves, but comes back after halftime and continues to play. He plays the next night, and every game after.
Wednesday, December 16th - Just 5 days after he breaks his finger, Kobe hits another buzzer beating game winner, on the road, against the Milwaukee Bucks
Tuesday, December 22nd - In the third quarter of a game against the OKC Thunder, Kobe seems to clearly hyperextend his knee. He admits later to "being scared" about his knee pain, but calmly walks to the huddle, and then comes back onto the floor and sinks two free throws and leads the Lakers to victory.
Saturday, December 26th - Kobe strains his right elbow against the Sacramento Kings, and it causes him enough pain that he effectively stops using his right arm for the 2nd half of the game. But, he does not come out of the game. He plays as a one handed decoy. He ends up getting two huge defensive stops against Tyreke Evans. Then, in the 2nd overtime, he fights through the pain to hit two huge three pointers to put the Lakers up for good and win the game.
Keep in mind, Kobe is having the best shooting year of his career. And, if we remove the one bad game against the Cavs, Kobe is shooting EVEN BETTER since breaking his finger than he was before he broke the finger. He's already played a large portion of a game with effectively one hand tied behind his back, and still led his team to victory. What's next for Kobe? Is he going to start shooting fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his arse? Does his blood have the medicinal properties of a unicorn? Is he a real life version of Wolverine?
There's plenty of debate regarding who the best player in the NBA is. But there should be no question as to who is the greatest player in the NBA, because right now, Kobe is re-defining greatness. He's displaying a level of desire, commitment, dedication, and pain tolerance that nobody else in the NBA can match. It is often said that MVP is awarded to the best story, not necessarily the best player. If that's true, Kobe might already have his 2nd sewn up.