Kobe goes all Kobe on the Lakers; and Mom's the word
You know what has to be one of the toughest jobs in sports?
Being Kobe Bryant’s teammate.
Here you’ve got a guy with off-the-charts talent and a desire to win that borders on the pathological; a fellow who demands more excellence and effort from his teammates that perhaps they are capable of giving and someone who is quite willing to – as the saying goes these days – throw them under the bus.
And he’s at it again.
While you were sleeping – and while I was sleeping a bit if truth be told – a flu-ridden Bryant teed off on his teammates, without naming names, of course, in the wake of Denver’s win over the Lakers that sent their playoff series to a seventh and deciding game in Los Angeles.
The back story? Bryant’s sick with some bug (his hotel room “resembled a scene from The Exorcist” was how he put it) yet he goes out and gets 31 points in Denver’s 113-96 win. He plays pretty well all things considered by Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol are relative pooches and the Nuggets ran by, over and through the Lakers all night.
So, Kobe’s asked, did his teammates play with the heart that he did?
“No. Of course they didn’t.”
So, Kobe, at least you’ll get Metta World Peace back for Game 7, that has to be a good thing, right?
“He’s the only guy that I can rely on night in and night out to compete and play hard and play with that sense of urgency and no fear.”
So, is that a good thing?
Should that kind of “inside-team” stuff get out in public? Should a team’s best player rip his teammates – without naming names, of course – while sitting at the podium minutes after a tough loss? Was Bryant right?
Of course he was.
Not only did it make good copy (who wants to read or report such mundane quips as “we have play better” or “we have to step up” or “it’s going to take our best effort to win”) but it gets out there what everyone connected remotely with teams knows: Guys need to be challenged and sometimes the more public the challenge, the better.
Sure, Bryant was lashing out in the heat of the moment but good for him. He knows the window on his pursuit of a sixth NBA title is closing; he knows this team might give him the best chance to do it because you never know about health or opposition or what have you.
So a little shot across the bow might be just what’s needed and since Bryant seems to be able to back up his demands with personal performances that show just how good he is, there’s a level of gravitas to his statements that not many other players would carry.
He backs up his words with actions; taking a shot a teammate or two may fire them up to do the same.
Whether this little gambit will work or not is questionable. The Nuggets seem to have devised a defensive system against Gasol and Bynum that’s rendered them totally ineffective and I don’t know that they have the will, or the Lakers have the other parts, to get past that.
But there is no way Bryant isn’t going down swinging, even if it’s at his own teammates, and that’s not a bad thing at all.
So many mothers, so little time.
But Sunday’s the big day, right? Breakfast in bed, or out at some restaurant; fawning all day; dinner of her choice and no screw ups by Super Dad or Super Son (well, no “major” screw ups at least).
Anyway, the point being it’s time for a list and herewith are the top 10 favourite TV moms, in no particular order.
Maureen Robinson (that’ll take you back)
And, of course.
There is a serious dearth of mail over in the inbox, ladies and gentlemen.
At least say hi or something.
You know what truly bites?
The fact the NBA is such a supplicant to its TV “partners” that Saturday’s doubleheader – Boston-Philly, Lakers-Denver – goes at the gawdawful time of 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
That’s just stupid at so many different levels. They’ll hold the tip in L.A. until the game in Boston is done which will likely mean a tip closer to 11 p.m. than 10:30 and, no disrespect intended for our western Irregulars but that’s ridiculous.
There is no doubt in my mind that more people would be better served if the games were at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., or even 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. but, no, the networks run the show and what they say goes.
Remember last summer when we trundled off to cover the TOD at Fenway?
And how I was entirely underwhelmed by the park and its surroundings and it was kind of disappointing?
Well, there was one part that pretty much lived up to its billing and that was the PA announcer, the iconic Carl Beane.
Beane died this week, of a heart attack while driving, and the Sox paid one of the greatest tributes imaginable on Thursday night when they played a game with no P.A. announcements, silence where Beane’s voice should have been heard.
That’s a great, great idea.
Vlad Guerroro Guerrero?
It’s not like he’s been given millions of dollars to play out his dotage (hello, Frank Thomas); Guerroro’s Guerrero's getting some time at extended spring training to see if there’s anything left in the tank.
I don’t personally think there is – by some quirk of scheduling I saw a lot of Baltimore games last summer and it sure looked like he was done then – but if he can give ‘em even a little bit every now and then, why not take a shot and see.
If he flails away at Dunedin, let him go; if he’s got something left in his swing, that’s a not a bad bat to have sitting on the bench for emergency situations.