Tag Archives: Kobe’s Journal

Kobe Bryant’s Diary: The Cross That Greatness Bears

For years, 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.

April 18 – Los Angeles

You never like to find yourself in the gossip rags. Maybe that was a thing you were into when you took Brandy to prom, or when you started dating your future wife while she was still a 17-year-old high school student, or when you loved her too much for a prenuptial agreement. And maybe the rags will make some overblown statements about “alleged rape” and “an oversized ego sabotaging a dynastic duo” or accuse you of completely undiagnosed libel like “chronic infidelity.” And of course the rags feast on the rigors of evolving love when that lack of a prenup would later force you to temporarily divert your once-in-a-generation focus from basketball—the only thing that matters in life—to buying a marital redemption ring that costs more than the collective net worth of the “team” bench unit. Gossip rags notice little stuff like that sometimes and you just have to deal with it because you can’t have nuclear power without some fallout. While I’d never be so arrogant as calling myself a Christ-like figure, negative attention is simply my cross to bear.

That said, you’d like to think it’s even beneath a cheap lie-monger like Radar Online to publish a single quote from Donald Sterling. I hate to even proliferate their garbage here, but sometimes you have to step into the darkness to appreciate the light.

“Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 but not suspended for referring to a referee as a ‘f*cking f***ot’ on television,” Sterling said in his first example of his speech-related offenses. – Radar Online

Small-minded indeed. There’s a difference between being a young, historically legendary competitor who slipped one single time during the heat of competition with an insult from his youth that has long been abolished his vocabulary along with millions of dollars he donated to charitable organizations as a show of true contrition and change, and being a decrepit, old bastard who has literal decades of racial hate and homophobic bigotry on the books.

Plus, last time I checked, nobody bought season tickets to watch an owner sit in his chair. That’s a harsh reality we’re forced to face when we evaluate two very dissimilar situations, but when dealing with topics as sensitive and subjective as moral truth and proper penance, you have to take a 360-degree view. And three or four or five rings goes along ways in determining someone’s societal worth. So just like a great winner has to deal with the scrutiny of the masses, the masses have to be forgiving of a single, verbal, insensitive hiccup from a great winner. It’s compromise and forgiveness like that that really makes you greatful to be a part of this world.

Anyway, I just needed to exorcise that very heavy topic here in my private journal. You never want to head to your 4 a.m. gym session with that weight on your soul. That 700th elbow jumper is heavy enough when you think about age, your “teammates” abilities, and Jordan-esque expectations of a sixth ring in a truly competitive conference. You don’t need some spectre of public criticism ebbing it’s way outside of the neat categorical hurt locker you’ve created for it in your mind.

Sometimes I think of Tim Duncan. He’s probably the only one who understands that kind of thing. We’ve always been so similar.

Kobe Bryant’s Diary: Back in the Game

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.

Kobe Bryant’s Diary: Going Off the Grid

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 5th – vs New Orleans

Yes, I did become the fifth player ever to score 30,000 points. I’d love to enjoy a moment like this more, but my “teammates” have my team at a sub-.500 record right now. It’s intolerable. Yeah, we picked up a W tonight, but we were playing the Hornets. I mean, can we talk about how awful of a player Austin Rivers is? Of course we can because this is my private journal and I write whatever I want. I’m just saying don’t be surprised if the Hornets organization is vehemently defending just how non-best Austin Rivers is by the time I publish this journal.

The reason I say that is because I’ve made a decision. We’re 9-10 right now. This journal should be documenting my greatness as I vindicate my status as the best that’s ever laced up the sneakers. I’m not going to document being stuck with POS “teammates” that can’t get the job done. That’s a waste of my time.  I’ll start writing again when we get above a .500 record. Should only take a few games.

December 25th – vs New York

Wow. Tough month. I told myself I’d wait until we were above .500, but I couldn’t help but post this sweet pic of me and Stevie (great to have that guy back, right?). We’re 14-14, that’s damn close.

When you’re the best there is at your craft, you always assume you look great in a triple threat position, and while I do, that’s not actually what I’m highlighting here (but c’mon, I can definitely shoot out of this position, and the fact that I can also pass or dribble are decoys more valuable than any “teammate” this side of Robert Horry).  Let’s talk about those jerseys!

Being a part of a world class organization is special in any walk of life, but the Lakers just know how to do it right. I mean, the Knicks drew their Christmas day uniform inspiration from a row of traffic cones, but the Lakers? We went all white, a look I’ve famously crushed, and then we went out put NY in it’s place, a cramped, dirty city that’s simply not as cool as LA. So much optimism in those all-whites. I personally witnessed Ron and Jordan Hill practicing synchronized turn and snap poses into mirrors before the game. Then Ron went out there and played great, and Jordan Hill played which is big for him too. Dwight orchestrated the Globo Gym chant for my intro–a scheme so ridiculous that only a player with my gravitas was able to save face for Dwight by pulling it off–but Dwight played great too.

This is LA, and image is everything. When I look at that image of me and Stevie in the all-whites, I see a winner.

-Mamba out

December 26th vs Denver

Loss. Son of a….

-Mamba out

Kobe Bryant’s Diary: The Wheat Amongst The Chaff

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

Failure.

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.

-Mamba out

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.

-Mamba out

December 4 – vs Houston

Failure. Again.

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.

-Mamba out

Kobe Bryant’s Diary: The Calm Before The Storm

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.

November 27 – vs Indiana

The Pacers beat us. I scored 40. When you’re the best at your craft, you don’t always understand how your “teammates” can show up to a game not prepared to play. I was violently sick, and my simple routine more than prepared me to play. If we have another loss as embarrassing as this one, I’m gong to go off.

-Mamba out

November 28 – No Game

It’s been a rough year for white guys named Steve. At least those on the Lakers. Blake’s going to be out for two more weeks. I sent him a text as soon as I heard.

“We’ll miss you out there, nickel – Mamba”

He didn’t respond. He must know I don’t mean it. Maybe he didn’t like that “nickel” nickname. Whatever.

-Mamba out

November 29 – No Game

Dropped the Nike Kobe VIII today. You’re welcome, world.

I don’t think I keep it a secret that I take my legacy seriously, and the shoe is a big part of that. You look at Michael, and you realize that while you’ve probably surpassed him in terms of raw statistical production, you haven’t left the legacy that he has…yet. You create the kicks because even when you retire in 15 years, you know there will still be kids buying your shoes as they butcher the poetic mid-range game that you dominated like a hotel employee.

Sometimes you look at something that you write down thinking that it’ll be funny, and then you realize that it only makes you feel empty. Legacy is one fickle mother. I wonder what Vanessa’s doing right now.

-Mamba out

November 30 – vs Denver

Wailed on the nuggets. We have a .500 record and I think the team’s finally turned around. Dwight threw up 28 and 20 and actually earned his smiles. It was nice to see Jodie go off. He got 21 points after going 7-8 from three. After the game I asked him, “You actually starting to pay attention to me in practice? You look like me out there.”  Jodie laughed and said something about me scoring 14 points in 37 minutes. I know he’s joking because he’s Jodie Meeks and I’m Kobe Bryant. Silly little scamp! Great win.

-Mamba out

December 1 – No Game

Had a good workout at the gym this morning. Threw up almost 700 left elbow jumpers. I missed a few, so I forced myself to shoot 500 jumpers from the short corner.

Watched some college basketball today too. You wonder if regular people realize how bad division 1 basketball is. You think about how it would have been if you went to college. It would have been fun to average 40 a game, but you might have developed some bad habits. you’d have probably ended up like Dwyane Wade, good but not great. His nickname’s “Flash,” like a flash in the pan. I can’t believe people thought he was a better shooting guard than me in 2011.

I shouldn’t have thought about that. I’m going to the gym for some right elbow jumpers. We’ve got a game against the Magic tomorrow, and I will simply lose my shit if we don’t win. There’s few things as non-best as falling below .500.

-Mamba out

Kobe Bryan’ts Diary: What’s In A Name?

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.

November 23 – vs Memphis

This was a fun day until we blew a second straight game, this one to the Memphis Grizzlies. I know it’s not my fault. I scored 30 and was easily the best player on the floor. I didn’t want to talk about a losses over my weekend holiday, so I was really glad that I’d given the press something to have fun with by glossing the nickname “Gatsby” on Steve Nash.

My father was a good basketball player. But there’s a reason you never see the word “good” in front of the word “legacy,” and if you do, try to remember that you can’t have an oxymoron without a moron. One thing people do remember about my father is his nickname, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant. When I was a kid, I asked him if he liked it and he said, “Of course. If you don’t have a nickname, then nobody gives a shit about you.” It’s amazing how a father’s words stick with you.

I’ve personally had some great nicknames. A few off the top of my head are “Lord of the Rings,” “Mr. 81,” “The Closer,” and “King Kobe.” I appreciated those, but when I remembered my father’s words, it caused me to think about who should have been giving nicknames. No one gives a shit about me more than me, so I was best suited to self gloss. Now everyone in the world knows and adores me as “The Black Mamba.”

When you lead a team, you always have to focus on keeping others involved while also keeping them focused on our end product: being a playoff-ready team that understands how to pay at my championship caliber. You can’t get depressed by things like injuries, and you can’t let an injured teammate get depressed about not contributing. So when I realized

November 24 – vs Dallas

Sorry about the abrupt ending to my last journal entry. Some people might think it’s weird to apologize in a private journal, but considering that no one can ever be as disappointed in me as I can be in myself, it feels good to clear the air. I forgive me.

So when I realized that Steve might be feeling left out, I started thinking about ways to include him. I’m at the theater checking out Lincoln last weekend because I respect history and consider the Great Emancipator a kindred spirit in his commitment to excellence, and all of a sudden a trailer for The Great Gatsby comes on. I’m looking at Leonardo DiCaprio, but I’m seeing Steve Nash. Most people are saying I came up with it because Gatsby’s hair looks like Steve’s hair.

Seriously?

I speak three languages. I am EXTREMELY knowledgeable about literature, fashion and modern cinema. I lay a nickname like “Gatsby” on Steve, and everyone should realize that I take my life as seriously as I take my game. Your words are your brands are your businesses after all. Plus, now I’ve got the media talking about Steve again, keeping him focused on how important he’s going to be to this team and getting them to play at my championship level. So what if the hair does look the exact same. Give me some credit.

Anyway, picked up an easy W against Dallas. Figlio di puttana, Cuban! Ha!

-Mamba out

 

Kobe Bryant’s Diary: Crouching Trainer, Hidden Harden

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.

November 15th – Practice Day

Ask any real basketball fan who the best player of all time is, and you’ll only get one of two answers: Michael Jeffrey Jordan or Kobe Bean Bryant. The tie that binds us is Phil “Zen Master” Jackson. Michael won all six of his rings with Phil. I won all five of my rings with Phil. Needless to say, It’s going to be weird catching number 23 this year under the eye of Mike D’Antoni, but if anyone is capable of pulling this off, it’s me.

Still, you can’t help but overhear the rumors. You hear people saying that you’re too old and too slow. You put up with pranks like the Depends waiting for you in the visitor’s locker room (no one from Utah will own that prank. I’m 90% sure that it’s Dwight’s effort at motivating the team. He’s such a child). You can’t get caught up in all that, though. You can only rep out 1,000 elbow jumpers a day in preparation for the next game. We’ve got Phoenix tomorrow night, and I’d like to give my new coach the gift of victory.

-Mamba out

November 16th – vs Phoenix

When it comes to Phoenix, the first thing you think is how frustrating it is that we put such a low value on phonetic spelling. The second thing you think of is their team of native American witch doctors that they call a training staff. Broken veterans who have the historical durability of wet balsa wood go to Phoenix and suddenly they’re AC Green (I see you, Grant Hill). Some people think my obsession with Aaron Nelson and his band of voodoo masters is unneccessary. But unless I learn Aaron’s ways, I might actually have to keep my word to retire in a couple of years instead of playing the two more decades that Arizona magic could grant me.  Today, I got to the arena an hour earlier than usual so I could try to intercept old teammate Shanon Brown for some background tips. I texted him when I got impatient.

Me: LET SHANNON DUNK! lol -Mamba
SB: MAMBA! you cray
Me: u n staples?
SB: fo sho. n LR doing #CSRRacing. you play?
Me: wtf? son, plz
SB: ur loss mamba. 1174 2nite?
Me: u didn’t CU46 any1?
SB: nah. i keep LA free for the Mamba
Me: def. can u ?^ Aaron Nelson 4 me
Me: Shannon?
Me: 4Q – Mamba

You hate when an old “teammate” turns on you so quickly. Apparently Nelson includes amnesiac hypnosis as part of his rehab techniques. I went ahead and dropped a casual 31 points and picked up the big W for Coach D. Before getting into my cool-down routine, I check out CSR Racing on my iPhone. Shannon was right. It had been my loss.

-Mamba out

November 18 – vs Houston

Professional athletics has long been a thrilling industry for facial hair, and the NBA is certainly no exception. James Harden is a young player who has done a good job of building his brand and bank account with a bearded offensive. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. I know a thing or two about building a brand, but my only technique to building my brand has been to consistently put in the grueling man hours needed to be the best basketball player that ever walked the earth. I make a possible exception for Jesus Christ because even though I’m pretty sure that Jewish men from 2,000 years ago don’t have the physicality for an 82-game season, it’s not clear how Son-of-God powers translate at the NBA level. The one thing I do know is that if Jesus Christ was a great basketball player, I would probably be more concerned about an acute connection to the Holy Spirit than his beard.

Anyway, I messed around and got a triple-double, beating Harden in every single statistic for the night.  It was important for me to remind him who the best shooting guard in the game is, now and forever. The game wasn’t enough though. The people who think you’re only playing the other guy on the court don’t best-think in best-terms. I had a message delivered to him that I handwrote on the inside of a folded out Gillette box.

“I am a 5-time champion with 2 NBA Finals MVPs 14 All-Star appearances. No one with a beard like yours has ever accomplished what I have.”

He’ll receive my cover issue of Best Shave to drive the point home before our next matchup on December 4th. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were babyfaced by the playoffs.

-Mamba out

Kobe Bryant’s Diary: A Little Adversity

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.

November 11 – vs Sacramento

In life, you’re going to face some prosperity and some adversity. Sometimes that prosperity is making millions of dollars while you perform your craft at a virtually unprecedented level over two decades. Sometimes that adversity is not having the gentle, guding hand of a zen master to help you sustain your success. That’s just the way life goes. But like Phil always said in what I’m sure is a Phil original, “Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.” Reminder to self: I’m the second kind of man.

In a renaissance of Lakers greatness, we put together our first back-to-back wins of the season. That’s just one win shy of a hot streak, which is basically the team equivalent of my shooting in 4th quarters. Yep, we put a good beat on the Sacremento Queens (Shaq wasn’t exactly Yogi Berra with the quotes, but that line is worth remembering). It’s always fun when your much poorer, less successful, in-state non-rivals come to town and get reminded how much poorer and less successful they’ll always be. C-Webb’s not walking through that door.

D’Antoni’s going to be here soon. I support the hire for now. It’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the team responds.

-Mamba out

November 13 – vs San Antonio

There was a man who once said, “Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat.” That man was probably one of the drunk hobo’s I ignore while I’m coasting towards the Staples Center in any one of my Bentleys. Simpler minds would assume I purchased my $10 million garage with legal tender. While that’s true on the surface, the deep truth is that money is merely the tangible realization of my bestness. I don’t stumble from defeat to defeat. I frollick from championship to championship. It’s the lifestyle I’m accustomed to, and that only made losing to the Spurs tonight more painful.

Normally, watching a professional like Tim Duncan perform at a high level warms my heart. He’s nearly three years older than I am. So when I take into account my superior genetics, conditioning and overseas medical connections, watching Tim reminds me that I have at least another 14 years of best-level performance in me. But tonight, losing to the Spurs was nearly unbearable. It was more about the way we lost than anything. Dany Green hitting a go-ahead three over my perfectly outstretched hand hurt. Watching as Pau Gasol missed a last second shot that I definitely would have made gave me “the announcement” feeling. Simply brutal. Any time that someone who isn’t me is taking a last-second shot, you have to question his commitment to winning. D’antoni will be here soon, and I hope he was watching tonight, because he’d better nip those 4th quarter shenanigans in the bud as his first priority if he wants to avoid going the way of Mike Brown.

I can’t write anymore. I think I’m sick.

-Mamba out

Kobe Bryant’s Diary: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

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.

November 9th – vs Golden State

Whenever you go through crisis, it’s tempting to wonder about the future. But the trick to dealing with crisis is placing a laser focus on today’s responsibilities. Since I’ve lived every year of my past in preparation for the everlasting present, I wasn’t shocked when I heard about Mike Brown’s dismissal. I got this text from Kupchak:

Mitch: Mike’s out
Me: Phil?
Mitch: Working on him

And that was it. I updated my Facebook page to calm the hysteria of fans, but I couldn’t waste time on further speculation. I had a game against Golden State to focus on. Our second win. I’ll put more thought into this on a non-game day.

November 10th – No Game

There’s no such thing as a mutual break-up.  It usually boils down to some kind of he said, he said situation, and while you try to make it clear that it’s a matter of mutual chemistry and not mutual affection, the message never comes across the right way. You try to explain to the other person that it’s over, that you’d rather be with the old grey man with the fused spine and excellent book recommendations. You try not to make eye contact as the other person realizes there’s no hope left, as he sputters “I tried my best” while wiping the tears away from his admittedly stylish glasses. You try, but you’re really just giddy for the moment that this other person leaves and you can text Phil that you’re single again.

Me: “Hey coach, what are you up to this season? – Mamba”
Me: “It will be different this year. I changed. I got my knee fixed in Germany.”
Me: “You have won six with MJ! Now win six with me! – Mamba”

Sometimes good sense betrays you when you’re texting an ex. I wish that I hadn’t found that Braveheart line so moving. It feels desparate in a third, unanswered text. I’ll bet that Phil doesn’t even have that old cell number anymore. Yeah, that’s it. He wouldn’t just ignore me like I didn’t give him some of my best game-winning years. Would he?

Maybe I should have been a little nicer to Coach Brown.

-Mamba out

Kobe Bryant’s Diary: The Will to Win (cont).

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.

November 8th – No Game

I just read yesterday’s entry in my diary, and I feel a little bad. Of course I was heated about losing, and having a “teammate” assume that I cared about it to an average degree was salt in the wound. To be more accurate, it was a 300-pound salt lick dropped onto my razor-knicked chin from a height of however high a 6-10 deuschbag can lift it above his head. It’s pretty easy to see that Dwight is simultaneously becoming my greatest asset and my greatest enemy at the same time.  I’ll have to keep him close.

That said, I wasn’t wrong yesterday. Whenever you’re truly devoted to being the best, you have to be devoted to winning. And whenever you’ll do whatever it takes to win, people are going to call you selfish. They’re going to say you’re not a “team-player.” You can’t worry about that. Last I checked, it doesn’t matter if I score 50 points and the other five guys score ten apiece or if I just score all 100 myself. If we have more points at the end of the game, my TEAM wins. That’s what being a team player is all about, not letting coat-tail riders hold you back. I think it’s time for me to put the team on my back like Greg Jennings (no matter how frustrated I am with my “teammates,” that short film always helps me find strength). I’m not going to worry about what the “advanced metrics” like usage rate and true shooting percentage say. John Hollinger should have come up with a formula for PWKMAER (Player Who Kicks the Most Ass Efficiency Rating). I would have led the league in that stat for the last 14 seasons. It’s hard to argue with MJ leading the league during my 1st and 2nd seasons. I was too distracted by winning dunk contests and dating Moesha to be serious about claiming the PWKMAER crown at that time. Well, both the dunk contest and Moesha are behind me now. IT’S KOBE TIME!

Wow. I just got a hand-written letter from Phil ten minutes ago. A text would have been quicker, but Phil says that only longhand can carry the soul’s intentions. The letter says:

Kobe,

Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.

-Phil

Phil’s included a post card that’s pre-addressed to the Budhist temple in the Phi Phi Islands where he’s vacationing. I simply write “Emerson” on the back of the post card and put it in the mail. He’ll know I understood. It’s a long season. Don’t get crazy.

-Mamba out