Tag Archives: nba

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.

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Kobe Bryant’s Diary: The Walking Dead

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.