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.
March 3rd – vs Atlanta
You never expect to be chasing .500 in March, but if you are, you definitely expect to catch it. And that’s what I did tonight against the Atlanta Hawks in a 99-98 win. I’d like to say “we” did it, but giving my “teammates” credit would be like giving credit to the entire Buss family for forming the greatest sports organization America has ever seen (You’ll never be forgotten, Dr. Buss).
I had to drop my journaling to become extra 100% focused on my craft. As most of you who read these excerpts of my private diary know, I’ve always given 100% focus, but the truly great ones are always able to look within themselves and maybe not dig out more than 100%, because that’s impossible, but at least find a more devoted level of 100% focus. I did that by trading the exploration of my soul via the written word for an extra hour of practicing pull-up elbow jumpers and mid-post up-and-unders. Did it work? I scored 34 and got my team back to the ranks of non-losers, so you tell me.
Better yet, I’ll tell you. It worked.
Common sense might tell you that you shouldn’t add the intense mental wrinkle of journaling your innermost thoughts into your daily routine when you’ve finally hit your stride at the only thing that matters to you, but I’ve got five pieces of high-caliber jewelry that prove my sense is far from common. Journaling at the insightful and passionate level that I do is certainly exhausting, but when you’re a true competitor, you attack every activity with passion and intensity. You should’ve seen the way I ate double cheeseburgers up until five years ago when I got passionate and intense about my physical longevity and replaced McDonald’s with spinach-based protein shakes and fish oil. I can chug those shakes in under 10 seconds, which might not sound impressive if you watched a lot of Popeye growing up. But trust me, it’s way harder when you don’t have a cartoonish elastic throat. The main point I’m making here is that writing in my journal won’t effect the intensity with which I approach my craft. In fact, it’ll probably help me save my legs.
March 5th – vs Oklahoma City
After the long climb back to .500, I would have loved to believe that I wouldn’t ever have a losing record for the rest of my career. Unfortunately we played the OKC Thunder, and they had a level of energy that is downright frustrating to play against. I looked over at Steve after Russell Westbrook crossed the 30 point mark and it was obvious that he was pissed. Most people would have only seen the measured look of weathered determination, but there’s a subtlety in the facial expressions of hall-of-famers, and if you paid attention, you could see his eyebrows quivering with the acknowledgement that Russell could no longer be dealt with by conventional means. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Russell opens up his closet before our next match-up to find all his clothes are baggy and his glasses have prescription frames in them. I’d even expect a note sitting atop his drawer of now all white gym socks like a failure-inducing landmine, “You look good, you play good.” That’s why playing with a true pro like Steve is such a pleasure.
As if the pain of a loss wasn’t enough, I looked over to the Thunder bench during the 3rd quarter and saw Kevin Durant feasting on the new Fish McBites before washing them down with a double cheeseburger. Yep, both slices of cheese, even though it cost $0.29 more than the McDouble. I think he winked at me.
March 6th – vs New Orleans
Coming back from 25 down is always something to be proud of. But I can’t help but notice that it wouldn’t have been possible without my 42 points. Despite my comments to the press, I think my season-long message to Dwight is finally taking hold. I get to score all the points and be features in the offensively offense-centric headlines of ESPN, and Dwight gets to keep his Somewhat Valuable Player status amongst the geeks of 15 years in the future that actually appreciate the nuanced importance of a paint protector. Maybe it’s not fair, but you can’t worry about fair when your chasing the playoffs in mid March. From my perspective, it’s a sensible partnership.
It was nice to see Austin Rivers scoring 10 points on 5-6 shooting. The kid has been such an embarrassment to his dad and to Coach K. I saw him working tonight and figured I’d text him some encouragement after the game.
“I bet K and Doc weren’t emberassed by u 2night – Mamba”
“Mamba? TY KB24, means a lot from u”
“Now delete my # til u start in a playoff game – Mamba”
You hate to say a guy sucks at his profession, but sometimes you say it anyway because it’s so true. Nice kid though.