Monday, January 23, 2006

I want to be like Kobe, like Kobe!

If you're a sports fan and you haven't heard the news, read on. If you're not a sports fan, this is probably worth reading anyway - at the very least to marvel at the spectacular skill levels of professional athletes at the height of their prowess.

Today, Kobe Bryant - coming off the back of a month where he scored over 45 points four times in a row, and a career high of 62 points in three quarters of the Los Angeles Lakers' defeat of Dallas - scored 82 points, as the Lakers beat the Raptors into submission, 122-104.

When you consider that the league leader in points averages around 30 points in the modern game (though since his scoring outbursts of late Kobe has boosted his average to around the 35 mark), it is an extraordinary figure.

But it is extraordinary for so many more reasons: because, after the crises surrounding Bryant and a rape lawsuit that he fought and overcame through 2004, many said he would be past his peak; because, after petty arguments made team conditions unbearable, and star coach Phil Jackson quit and Shaquille O'Neal demanded a trade, everybody said Kobe was incapable of bearing the weight of the team's leadership; because it's better than Michael ever did; just because.

This season, after talks-a-plenty with Kobe, Phil Jackson returned to coach the Lakers. Just this week, after advice from NBA Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell, Shaquille O'Neal patched things up with Bryant on court before the Heat, O'Neal's new team, played the Lakers. Perhaps these were the two things Bryant needed resolved, because today's performance is an astonishing feat.

Bryant's total beats nearly all records - only Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point total, set some 44 years ago, betters it. He becomes only the fifth player to record over 70 points in a game, and if his form continues, he might even do it again.

Regardless of what you think of the man, the team, or even the sport, Kobe Bryant's performance today is a remarkable display of human athleticism and talent.

Check out the boxscore here.


Salmon said...

I must say that is an insane effort! I would like to see the game.

Wasn't he expected to be the next MJ? maybe he's finally stepping up to the mark.

pandaobscura said...

Yeah he was hyped up massively at the beginning of his career, but people tend to dislike him a lot nowadays.

Still, he's an amazing 'baller. I don't think he'll ever have the defensive capabilities of MJ, nor his team-manship though - if he ever develops though, he could reach astounding levels.