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The Credits: "The Devil Inside"

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What is it that drives Kobe Bryant? How does he compare with Lebron James? After Wednesday night's win over the Utah Jazz, Lakers Coach Mike Brown was asked to compare this season's top two scorers:

"LeBron [James] is a guy who is still learning and still growing, and the reality of it is that being down there with Dwyane Wade has helped him," Brown said. "They're different personalities. LeBron, he's a guy who likes to laugh and joke. He knows obviously there's a time to be serious, but he's youthful.

"Kobe is not as much. Kobe's more serious-minded and so on and so forth. But Kobe knows how to have fun in his own way, too."

There are different ways to take this. There will be some who will claim Kobe is obsessed with himself, that his obsession is a detriment to the team.

It's always been about the "40" with him. Yes, he's super "serious-minded," but to what individual end? For years, Phil Jackson chafed at Bryant for preferring to look the 40-dropping martyr in a loss over a marginalized cog (at least, that's how Kobe probably took it) in a win, and even 15 years into his career Bryant is still working under his same showy, soap-opera guidelines. Every shot has to be the "three … two … one … Bryant for the win …"-type that kids take by themselves while shooting away on the playground.

This is why both men are unsuccessful.

To many, he can do no right. Doesn't shoot efficiently? He's old and losing his ability. Leads the league in scoring? He's a ball hog and hurting the team. In many ways, Kobe and Lebron are on the same boat. Every move, every shot, every free throw, scrutinized endlessly. As a Laker fan, I'm just glad Kobe's still in the conversation. It shows the league is still afraid of him. Unsure of what he is capable of. They criticize because they are insecure of what they believe in. Kobe Bryant defies all convention. Leader in scoring? After 16 years in the league? On a swollen, ugly, torn, wrist? The hell is wrong with him?! All I know is Kobe Bryant is a killer, and it's been entertaining as hell.

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