81 effing points
hopefully in the midst of all the football hulabaloo, you didn't miss the fact that kobe scored 81 points in a single game last night. a number that is just simply unfathomable to me.
now i'm usually not a kobe apologist. i'm still a little mad that he ran shaq out of town, but from the early stages of the season, i knew that kobe would be an interesting story to follow this season. i mean imagine watching a major team sport where one guy literally carries an entire team. as chuck klosterman wrote, it's like watching an eighth grade basketball team and one of the kids is 6'6" and has a mustache. you know that is all the team has, and dammit, he's going to drop 50 on you anyways in a junior high school game. seriously, it is high drama to watch a team of complete scrubs play along side a top 5 player and really not give a damn that he's the only one scoring. it's as if the lakers think that the rules have changed to "you win if kobe scores 50 points". that team just doesn't do anything else. they don't play defense, they don't set screens, and they don't run an offense. all they do is pass to kobe and get out of the way.
even better, it is interesting to watch someone who just doesn't care what anyone says, doesn't care what history tells us about ball hogs and winning championships, and ignores every tenet we know about playing a team sport and just shoot the ball everytime he touches the ball. the crazy thing about this is that the lakers win about half the time he does this. that's the crazy thing about last night, the lakers were behind double digits at the beginning of the second half, so his shots were taken within the flow of the game.
usually when we see someone as selfish as kobe, you can almost bank on a bad team with lots of chemistry problems, and lots of drama for the media to cover. but in the case of the lakers this year, the rest of that team is soooooooo bad, that instead, you have 11 guys who are just collecting a paycheck and one guy who doesn't care if they win or lose as long as he shoots the ball 85% of the time. no locker room squabbles, no complaining from phil, and the media seems to be content with praising kobe's indivdual performance instead of criticizing their mediocre record. in any case, i only was able to catch the last few minutes of the game and anytime someone even sniff's wilt's 100 it's completely compelling sports watching.
again, usually you only see this kind of thing maybe once every two or three years, but again, in the case of kobe, this is the second time this season that we've seen this. and if the rest of the lakers continue to suck, i'm guessing we'll see this again at least three more times this year. my new theory is that kobe is gunning for wilt's record. with nothing really else to play for this year, and the fact that the lakers are far from being a good team again, i think kobe knows that the only way to seal his NBA legacy is to break the immortal record. it's the only thing that can keep a sorry sonuvabitch like kobe going. in any case, i'm definitely going to be following the lakers on television much more closely than i have so far this season.