After 16 years in the league, Kobe Bryant has decided to keep a diary to document “the year he caught Jordan”. While Kobe refuses to remove the diary from a pedestal in his trophy room, he has allowed Writing Bareback the exclusive rights to post these excerpts.
October 31 – vs Portland Trailblazers
If other men had played 1,163 regular season games, like I have, they’d probably get pretty callous to the outcome of those games. But when you’re the greatest Laker of all-time, you carry a legacy of excellence. Every win feels like Magic giving you a hug and every loss feels like Magic getting HIV. Dwight Howard doesn’t understand that yet. He had 33 points, which would be okay except that he let the Blazers get 116. It’s beginning to feel like one of two things could be happening here. A) Dwight doesn’t realize I’m on on the team for scoring and he’s on the team for defense, or B) Dwight doesn’t know he’s Robin and I’m Batman. Either one is unacceptable when you play for my team.
Maybe Dwight just needs some time to figure out his role. I can live with that. What I can’t live with is a big man that doesn’t take his sidekick role seriously. For example, after the loss, I’m at my locker mentally preparing for the two-hour, cool-down workout I do after every game when Dwight saunters up to me with a smile on his face and hope in his eyes.
Dwight: Yo Mamba! Me and the boys are gonna hit the clubs and do some bonding. You in?
Me: Nah man. I got my routine.
Dwight in poorly executed Kobe voice: Nah man, I got my routine.
Me: Don’t pull that s*** on me.
Dwight: You’re right, Mamba. I should only clown on the rooks after a loss.
Dwight’s eyes are delirious with excitement. He’s looking in the direction of rookie center Robert Sacre. The stupid kid never sees the whoopee cushion hidden under the towel on his stool. He sits on it. Dwight’s rolling on the ground in laughter. The whole team is laughing. Ron is making fart noises by cupping his hand under his armpit. This is not the way the team should be acting after a loss.
Dwight: SACK! I got you, boy! Sack, you got some nasty gas, son!
Sack: Good one, Dwight!
Dwight: C’mon guys! Let’s hit the clubs! Why do you think I left Orlando in the first place?
Me: To win six rings. To be the best. To be like Kobe.
My comments reach no one. Everyone has left. Everyone except Darius Johnson-Odom, who is looking with a thousand-yard stare through the door the other guys just walked through. He’s wearing a white t-shirt and black mesh shorts. Workout clothes! Maybe this kid’s has a chance to be a role player for me.
Me: Smart move. It’s a long season, rook. Gotta stay focused.
DJO: Man, I wish I could go, but I’m broke.
Me: We got paid today. You and Sack got the same contracts. He’s going.
DJO: I didn’t set up my direct deposit.
Me: Rookie mistake! At least you’re making the best of it and getting a good workout in.
DJO: Nah, I’m heading home. I got The Walking Dead on my DVR.
I realize then that those aren’t workout clothes. They’re just the rags hanging on an undead NBA corpse. I almost feel whatever people feel when they’re not in a state perpetually focused aggression. Then I remind myself that there’s a poor, undisciplined rookie on every team, but only my team has me. We’ll be alright. I put on my headphones, set the iPod to loop the soundtrack from the Spike Lee joint Kobe Doin Work, and I walk out.