Kobe Bryant is the fiercest competitor in the NBA, and a relentless offensive force. It’s that drive that makes him one of if not the best player in the NBA, and that force which drove him to hang out for over an hour shooting baskets in American Airlines Arena following the Lakers’ loss to the Heat.
Which, when you think about it, was kind of a jerk thing to do.
I mean, beyond the fact that it reveals Bryant’s relentless devotion to the game, his tireless desire to get better (if by better we mean focusing on trying harder to make shots which are low percentage, poorly decided and squander the endless potential of the Lakers’ offense), and his unequaled work ethic. Bryant held up staff having to watch him hoist jumpers after that game. Sure, the media was more than happy to bask in the dramatics of watching a 33-year-old man go through a shootaround at 11 p.m. at night, but there were also security guards, facility maintenance, league officials, team officials, arena officials, and other people waiting to go home. People who aren’t wrapped up in the story of the Lakers’ drive for a sixth championship with Bryant, and for whom Thursday was just another day at the office.
This is going to come off as nitpicking Byrant, so I’m going to go all boldy to make this clear.
A. It’s not a big deal.
B. This would have been a jerk move had it been LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Michael Jordan, Darko Milicic, Eddy Curry, Kevin Durant, or the cast and crew of “Juwanna Mann.”
The ball boys who got to feed Bryant got a great story. The media got a great story. But the officials at the arena probably just had a longer night and lost more time to themselves. I don’t know about you, but time’s a pretty important commodity to me. Bryant took it because he was feeling bad about himself. Anyway, not a big deal, but another way to look at it. But hey, don’t take my word for it. Take the word of a shooting expert. From the San Antonio Express-News:
Bonner said he was frustrated enough to shoot like Bryant after a game only once in his competitive career. It came after a struggling performance when he was in college at Florida and it was after a home game.
“I’ve had times when I was disappointed and I would come back to the training facility and shot the same night,” Bonner said. “But not on the road and make everybody wait.”
“It was a poor shooting night and it was frustrating,” Bonner said. “When I did it, it wasn’t to get my shot back. It was more therapeutic mentally, to feel good about myself again.”
So that’s a well-balanced approach. Bonner admits that he’d do the same, while also pointing out he wouldn’t do it on the road, because, well, that’s just inconsiderate and rude. Two things Bryant has never really cared about being portrayed as. Also, similarly, Bonner wouldn’t work on what he actually needed to, in his case defending power forwards, particularly on the baseline, while Bryant’s case should have been, oh, I don’t know, passing to one of the seven footers with considerable matchup advantages who were shooting over 50% for the night. Just to take a guess.
But hey, it’s over, and it made a great story.