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.
December 2 – vs Orlando
Sometimes a great player’s greatness is his greatest weakness. You live an entire life where you’re focused on nothing but being the best there is at what you do, so it escapes your cognisance that other players don’t think the same way. They have games where they don’t give their best effort. They have games where they play in their small boy pants. They have games where they deserve to get their asses kicked…
…this diary is supposed to document my greatest season. You play great, and you’d like to believe that your “teammates” would follow your lead. So far, they’ve only let me down.
What can you do? This picture is how I feel right now, and I’d do it, except that suicide by abdominal knife wound would be a true obstacle to winning a sixth title. Besides, I know for a fact that I could drag the 3 stooges and the corpse of Smush Parker into the playoffs. I gave some pretty inspirational words to the press, so I assume the guys will step up their play.
December 3 – No Game
Most people don’t know that human beings produce over 650 million tons of grain every year. I’m not most people, and I read Wikipedia every single day to keep my mind in the same great condition as my body and my craft. I learned that every grain of wheat must be seperated from a scaly, inedible coating called chaff. After reading that, I immediately retreated to Bean’s Thinking Spot in the basement of my Newport Beach mansion. Bean’s Thinking Spot is named after my father and my own middle name, and I find the small, cylindrical space to be comforting like a womb. The walls are lined with waterfalls that stream down into an infinity vat and are backlit with purple and gold. The only thing in the room is a mat, candles and an arrangement of to-scale figurines of the Staples Center statues. I always find Magic’s figurine to be especially comforting as his statue contains equal parts mirth and guidance. Time spent in Bean’s Thinking Spot inevitably leads me to being rebirthed with a new focus on what can make me more best than I already am. With this sub .500 record weighing heavily on me, I sat in Bean’s thinking spot and just let my mind go.
You are the best there is, no chaff to your game, no chaff to your game. What is your game? Fast strong 99.9% accuracy best. All wheat. Wheat. Wheaties. Wheaties is the breakfast of a champion, the breakfast of many champions, plural like a team. “Teammates.” I’m the wheat and they are the chaff. No, all wheat. They have the chaff. Clean them cure them build them make them. Make them wheat make them champions. Champions need a breakfast. Wheaties. Call Darius Johnson-Odom.
“Go get 14 boxes of Wheaties from the store. Pour out all the Wheaties and replace those contents with chaff from actual wheat and a note that reads, ‘Only a championship performance deserves a championship breakfast.’ Place a box in every locker.”
“But Mamba, there are 15 guys on the team, 14 boxes won’t be enough.”
“Obviously I don’t need a box of chaff. You know what, put a box of regular Wheaties in my locker.”
“Right. Obviously…Yo Mamba, how much is this going to cost?”
I hang up on DJO and feel the warm, familiar feeling of direction wash over me. I emerge from Bean’s thinking spot and I feel good. It’s going to be a good season.
December 4 – vs Houston
You never expect brilliant motivational tactics to fail. I should’ve suspected it when I saw Ron coughing up spoonfuls of chaff and saying how he liked all the fiber in Wheaties’ new recipe. Still, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career, it’s that you don’t stop shooting right elbow jumpers just because you miss a right elbow jumper. I text DJO.
“more breakfast of losers in the lockers – Mamba”
“r u gonna pay me back?”
“plz. I should bill u 4 leadership consultation – Mamba”
“i owe you mamba”
That night I pour myself a bowl of Wheaties and a note falls out with the cereal. “13 points away from 30,000. I’ll be watching. -Kareem.” I hesitate for a moment. Then I pour my milk, and I eat my Wheaties.