Kobe Bryant on why he has only one MVP: ‘Because the media votes on it’


Kevin Durant wants players, not the media, to vote on NBA awards.

He might have an ally in Kobe Bryant.

Why has Kobe won only one MVP award?

Kobe on The Grantland Basketball Hour:

Because the media votes on it.

It was never a mission of mine to win a lot of MVPs. It was to win a lot of championships.

With that being said, does it bother me? Yeah, it bothers me. Of course it bothers me.

Here’s a history of Kobe’s ranking in MVP voting:

  • 2013: Fifth behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul
  • 2012: Fourth behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul
  • 2011: Fourth behind Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and LeBron James
  • 2010: Third behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant
  • 2009: Second behind LeBron James
  • 2008: Won MVP
  • 2007: Third behind Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash
  • 2006: Fourth behind Steve Nash, LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki
  • 2004: Fifth behind Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Jermaine O’Neal and Peja Stojakovic
  • 2003: Third behind Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett
  • 2002: Fifth behind Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Shaquille O’Neal and Tracy McGrady
  • 2001: Ninth behind Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Karl Malone and Jason Kidd
  • 2001: 12th behind Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Alonzo Mourning, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, Gary Payton, Allen Iverson, Grant Hill, Chris Webber, Vince Carter and Jason Kidd

If there were any year Kobe could claim he was robbed, it’s 2006, when he averaged 35.4 points per game. That was a crowded and fairly even MVP race, and Kobe had as strong a case as several players.

But the biggest reason Kobe won only one MVP: That’s, give or take, how many he deserved. Really, he might not have deserved any.

Just because Kobe was never the clear-cut best player in the league in a single season – and voted the best only once – does not detract from his greatness. His greatness comes from being a top-five(ish) player for a very long time. That’s different than rising to higher peaks and falling to lower valleys, but it’s no less worthy of admiration.

The MVP – an award that covers only one regular season at a time – has limited value in measuring all-time greatness. It doesn’t cover the playoffs or multiple seasons, two factors that work in Kobe’s favor.

Maybe players voting rather than the media would have gotten Kobe another MVP. He’s well-respected among his peers, especially the younger generation.

But, if anything, I’d say the media has overrated Kobe in MVP voting, particularly in more-recent seasons. So, the media isn’t necessarily to blame for Kobe’s lack of multiple MVPs.

The No. 1 factor: Kobe’s lack of a regular season clearly better than everyone else in the league that year. That’s OK, though. One MVP is more than Kobe needs to warrant status as an all-time great.

DeAndre Jordan crushed Marco Belinelli with dunk (VIDEO)


Tim Duncan may have gotten DeAndre Jordan earlier in the game, but Jordan had the dunk of the night.

Chris Paul fed Jordan the ball on the break and Marco Belinelli was game but no match for DJ, who threw it down with authority. Also, good on the referees for not calling a foul here — let the guys play.

Jordan put up 26 points and 18 boards to key the Clippers win, their third straight without Blake Griffin in the lineup. With the win, the Clippers move into the fifth seed in the West.

Kevin Durant expresses regret over critical comments he made about the media during All-Star weekend


Kevin Durant is shedding his nice-guy image at a rate approaching the speed of sound.

On the court, he’s had unfriendly things to say to fellow stars in Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, and off of it, he recently let loose on the media for being overly critical of the Oklahoma City franchise.

“You guys really don’t know (expletive),” Durant told reporters in his final interview session before Sunday’s All-Star Game.

Durant was later asked what stories he would like the media to focus on more.

“To be honest, man, I’m only here talking to y’all because I have to,” Durant said. “So I really don’t care. Y’all not my friends. You’re going to write what you want to write. You’re going to love us one day and hate us the next. That’s a part of it. So I just learn how to deal with y’all.”

At his first availability since then after the Thunder practiced on Wednesday, Durant didn’t exactly apologize. But it was clear he was regretful of coming across so harshly.

From Royce Young of ESPN.com:

“I had a moment,” Durant said. “Everybody in life has moments. You had one for sure before, but it’s not broadcasted like mine. I was more so trying to take up for my teammates, my coach and other guys in the league that gets scrutinized and I don’t like. Maybe I should shut up about it. I had one moment. What made me more mad than anything I was told I bite the hand that feeds me. I don’t know what that means. I really don’t know what that means. I wish someone would explain it to me. But I don’t remember none of you guys being there when I was 8 years old and putting in that work, the nights when I’m in here putting in that work in. So I don’t really understand what that one means. But, hey, I gotta roll with it. That’s a part of it. I was told I shouldn’t cry ’cause everybody been through it. So I’m going to shut up.” …

“It’s more so just an attack on our team and our players and our coach and all that stuff,” Durant said. “It’s not going to fly with me. I really don’t like it. I’m not going to sit here and agree with you when you’re trying to bash my coach or one of my teammates or anything. That’s just who I am as a person. Like I said, we had a great relationship. We still have a great relationship, myself and the media. I had a moment. I hope we can get past it. But I’m sure everybody has those types of moments.”

“I’ll try to work on just being honest with you guys but at the same time being more respectable. I made a mistake.”

Durant doesn’t owe the media any apologies, and in this age of maximum exposure and instant feedback being available through multiple social media channels, more and more fans are siding with the players in these types of situations.

But on the flip side, fans of Kevin Durant want to hear what he has to say after a great performance, and the media is there precisely to provide that information. A professional relationship needs to exist to make that happen, and while Durant may not like dealing with that portion of his responsibilities, it’s clear by his most recent remarks that he realizes its overall importance.

Kobe Bryant: 2011 NBA lockout ‘was made to restrict the Lakers’


The NBA’s owners locked out the players in 2011, forcing a work stoppage while a new collective bargaining agreement was negotiated.

And Kobe Bryant believes it was all done in an effort to prevent the Lakers from continuing their dynasty-building ways.

While there were legitimate system issues that needed to be sorted out, this was always about money more than anything else. The owners ended up with a much more favorable distribution of basketball-related income, and an agreement was reached as a result.

The idea that achieving some mythical level of competitive balance played as important a role as the finances did is simply inaccurate, but Bryant uses the league’s veto of the Chris Paul trade to L.A. to make the case otherwise.

From an interview Bryant did with Chuck Klosterman at GQ:

The Lakers are not going to make the playoffs this year, and it seems unlikely that they will challenge for a title next year. So if titles are your only goal, why even play these last two seasons?
I know what Mitch [Kupchak, the Lakers GM] tells me. I know what Jim and Jeanie [Buss, the team owners] tell me. I know that they are hell-bent about having a championship caliber team next season, as am I.

But how could that possibly be done? Doesn’t the league’s financial system dictate certain limitations?
Well, okay: Look at the [2011] lockout. That lockout was made to restrict the Lakers.It was. I don’t care what any other owner says. It was designed to restrict the Lakers and our marketability.

The Lakers specifically, or teams like the Lakers?
There is only one team like the Lakers. Everything that was done with that lockout was to restrict the Lakers’ ability to get players and to create a sense of parity, for the San Antonios of the world and the Sacramentos of the world. But a funny thing happened, coming out of that lockout: Even with those restrictions, the Lakers pulled off a trade [for Chris Paul] that immediately set us up for a championship, a run of championships later, and which saved money. Now, the NBA vetoed that trade. But the Lakers pulled that sh-t off, and no one would have thought it was even possible. The trade got vetoed, because they’d just staged the whole lockout to restrict the Lakers. Mitch got penalized for being smart. But if we could do that…

The Lakers are an example of a big-market team playing in a city with great weather, not to mention the entertainment industry being headquartered there, with all of the additional perks that may bring. Add all of that to the franchise’s consistent tradition of winning, and it remains the premier free agent destination, despite what we’ve seen over the past couple of seasons.

The Chris Paul trade veto was about ownership reclaiming power from the players overall, and was not Lakers-specific. It’s one thing for players to leave a franchise once they reach free agency, because by that time, they’ve earned the right. The way things are set up, a team can hold a player’s rights for their first six or seven NBA seasons.

But if an unhappy star tries to force his way out of a bad situation to get to a better one in a more desirable market, that’s when the owners largely snap — like Cleveland’s Dan Gilbert did at the time the agreement to send Paul to the Lakers was reached.

Too much Russell Westbrook lifts West to 163-158 All-Star Game win


NEW YORK — If the East had beaten the ridiculously deep Western Conference this season, somehow it would have felt wrong.

Russell Westbrook was not going to let that happen. The Thunder guard put up 41 points — just one shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star record, one more than Jordan’s 40 — with five of those coming in a late push to help the West hold off the East 163-159.

“It’s definitely and honor to be grouped with those two guys, especially in an All-Star Game,” Westbrook said of Chamberlain and Jordan.

While the atmosphere in New York was electric (and frigid) all weekend, the game on the court Sunday night resembled a lot of other All-Star Games — a defense-free pick-up game for three-and-a-half quarters, followed by a few minutes of real-ish basketball.

The game saw a lot of records almost fall.

The West’s 163 ties the record for most points in an All-Star Game by a team, tying the number the East put up last year to win the event.

LeBron James put up 30 points in a losing effort, leaving him just two points shy of passing Kobe Bryant for the most All-Star Game points ever.

“LeBron really impressed me with his seriousness tonight, how he approached the game, how he was just mentally and physically getting ready for the game,” Atlanta’s Kyle Korver said. “I know he had a packed weekend, but just the way he approached the game I was really impressed by him.”

Korver almost made history himself. The Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter made seven three-pointers (on 12 attempts), one shy of the All-Star Game record of eight.

“Sometimes the wide open ones are the hardest ones,” Korver said of playing in this kind of defense-free exhibition. “I left a couple of them from the corner short, I wish I had them back.”

The first half started off as the West show. James Harden put up a quick 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting to push the West to 28-18 lead. Then Westbrook came in and started gunning threes, knocking down a few quick ones and suddenly he was on his way to the best first half in NBA All-Star Game history with 27 points.

All that had the West up by 20 at one point, but no lead is safe when no defense is being played. The East made a run in the final five minutes of the first half, in part behind LeBron who came out hot (4-of-5 shooting to open game) and had 22 first half points. The East closed the gap, and it was 83-82 West at the half.

The East took a 115-114 lead with 2:51 left in the third quarter after coach Mike Budenholzer went with a lineup of four Hawks — Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Al Horford — plus LeBron. It was tied 122-122 entering the fourth.

The fourth quarter saw Chris Paul put up 10 points and DeMarcus Cousins put up nine. That proved to be too much for the East to overcome, despite eight points in the fourth from Kyrie Irving.

James Harden finished with 29 points for the West while LaMarcus Aldridge — named a starter on Saturday to replace Anthony Davis — finished with 18. John Wall had 19 points and seven assists for the East.