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Thunder Tie Series with Lakers: "Kobe, We Need To Talk"

April 26, 2010


Tied 2-2 with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers appear to be just another team, making Langston re-evaluate the past and future for his favorite squad.


It doesn't seem that along ago, in fact, it seems like only yesterday. On a double-date with our friend Charlotte, we decided to do something we thought was exciting and maybe even a little crazy. We switched dates. Charlotte took up with Vlade, the person we had been seeing for a while. We liked him, but he wasn't the right fit. He was a little too old for our liking, he wouldn't shave his scratchy beard, couldn't dance and I had heard the guy I really liked was about to break up with that jerk Orlando. And it was then I remembered what my mother always told me: "You usually find what you're looking for when you're no longer looking for it," that wasn't necessarily the case for me, but it always gave me hope. Now I may have been looking long and hard for that perfect fit, the seemingly unattainable prince charming who could make you a better person, yet things always seemed to just fall apart. There was Eddie, who appeared to have it all but was always kind of a pushover. There was Cedric, who could never quite get over his ex, Phoenix. And there were a bunch of other guys who aren't exactly note-worthy. But it was on that night where with Charlotte that we started something special.

Through the years, Kobe and Laker fans have built a unique relationship. He helped bring back showtime and has led our favorite team to six Western Conference Championships and four NBA Championships. For that spectacular play and all the promise his game brings, we had his back during "the divorce" and we were in his corner during his escapades in Colorado. To put it simply, he made it dramatically easy to be a Laker fan. There were games where Kobe appeared to be unstoppable and at-times displayed the best post-moves on a team stocked with prodigious big men. Yet this year was an odd one, even while leading the West from beginning to end, things just never clicked.

All season long, Kobe has looked either great or hurt. He's hit game winning shots throughout the season, using his superior ability to find a shot when there isn't one to be found. But it was in those other games, where we were told his laundry list of injuries were holding him back and he reacted by shooting the team into loss after loss, making us question if he learned anything from the rough patch between Shaq's dismissal and Pau's arrival. In the playoffs he has performed admirably for a man with those injuries, yet for the first time I am starting think it may be something else. We're told that the inconsistency in his jumper is the fault of his fragmented finger. We're told the lack of lift could be attributed to his knee problems. We're told the loss of speed can be placed to ankle issues. And the inability to keep up with Kevin Durant and the rest of the young Thunder is from all of the above, yet it's that something else that may be the culprit; and that something else is his age.

Kobe has played in the league since the age of eighteen and has amassed thirteen years of NBA experience, two seasons worth of playoff basketball, and three years of international basketball experience.  It's not the least surprising to see his athletic skills in decline. Somehow I missed the crow's feet around his eyes and the love handles on his back.  At least I didn't see it all until I saw him in a series against the likes of Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook. When Pau got to LA, we envisioned being the best team for the foreseeable future, and we could imagine them winning the next three or four NBA championships, cementing their spot as the most dominant team of the last twenty years. Though, after three years and two NBA Finals appearances and one NBA Championship, the past four games make the end seem to be closer than ever and that realization is a tough pill to swallow. It's almost as if we've been together forever, and it's been so long that I have no idea what it's like to be looking for the perfect fit any more. My heart tells me, with full knowledge that this relationship is doomed to end, to put it off as long as possible since he's all I know anymore, but that doesn't help the situation and only prolongs the inevitable rebound phase. My mind tells me it's time for myself to stand up and say "Kobe, we need to talk."

3 comments:

Teach said...

Is it just me or does the whole West look old compared to Cleveland and Orlando?

April 29, 2010 at 10:46 PM
Langston said...

Switch out old with average and I'm with you.

April 30, 2010 at 6:43 PM
Langston said...

BTW there is more good news for the Spurs, looks like Robin Lopez may miss the series.

April 30, 2010 at 6:44 PM

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