Standing Up for Kobe: Cooling Off Yahoo’s Over-Heated Miami Fan


Don’t get it twisted though—it’s not Kobe’s fire that makes him better than Dwyane Wade—it’s the product of that fire. (More on this later).

Desire belongs to a branch of intangibles that act as the spam of otherwise intelligible dialogue. Romantics at heart, we are drawn to these concoctions because they feed our taste for a caramelized reality with fictional elements, the sweet treat of a good story.

Do people live in realities that are caramelized in Miami? Are their realities shipped overseas to be caramelized? I’m broke, so I doubt I could afford it anyway.

So, it’s not rings which make a player great. It’s not the intangibles. So, where is this supposed universe, where Dwyane Wade and his misplaced “y” are indeed better than Kobe Bryant?

Quantifying Greatness:

So how do we determine who’s better? We watch the games. But since we are not all savants that can remember the outcome of every single play during the regular season and playoffs, there are people recording everything that happens and analyzing it.

The science is called statistics.

Let me say just this: I hate statistics in life in general—but especially in basketball. The game of basketball, to me, is simply too deep for statistics. For example, living in Ohio, I get to watch a lot of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Anderson Varajao is one of my favorite players. To watch him play on a night-to-night basis is an absolute pleasure. He can dominate stretches of games in the tiniest of ways. But if you just read the box-score after the game you’d think he played filler minutes. Basketball is like a good story—all the answers are there if you take the time to actually look and think.

People intrinsically fall back on stats to back up their points and ignore the stats which don’t. It’s human nature. I have a feeling that’s what’s coming here.

“Anyone who’s interested in quantifying greatness needs to become familiar with statistics. The Player Efficiency Rating (PER), for instance, does an impressive job at rating a player in one statistic. Career leaders in PER include Jordan, LeBron, Wilt, Wade, Kareem, Magic, K. Malone, Kobe, Bird and Hakeem, names that belong on any all time top 20 list. As explained by PER formulator John Hollinger, the PER ” sums up all a player’s positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance.”

So how does Kobe stack up against LeBron or Wade?

Unfavorably.

LeBron tops Kobe (and everyone except for Michael Jordan) 26.77 to 23.54, and Wade isn’t too far behind with 25.59.”

These tactics need to be studied for millennium in law school. Seriously. You see what ol’ Charles did here? He made an argument, then said, “all points that go against me—they don’t count.” Then he said, here’s the solution to our argument, and he brought the one place Dwyane Wade beats Kobe Bryant: John Hollinger’s PER rating.

So, I guess Zydrunas Ilgauskus is the 106th best player in the history of the NBA. Stephon Marbury? Had a better career than Jason Kidd. Jermaine O’Neal was more productive than James Worthy! And Tohmmy Heihnson is better than Gerald Wallace!

This is what PER tells you. And this is the prosecution’s crux of the case against Kobe Bryant? Dwyane Wade is better because John Hollinger (who has picked the Jazz over the Lakers in 6 games over the last six years) created some logarithm, and boom—Dwyane Wade is better than Kobe Bryant. (And I guess David Robinson was better than Shaquille O’Neal).

Let’s just ignore this idiocy for a moment and let Mr. Collins dig his grave a little deeper.

Statistically, Wade dominates.

The discrepancy between Wade and Kobe becomes even greater in the playoffs and the Olympics.

Next: Kobe’s no good in the clutch? Uh, what?
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Alrighty, first let me say that you answered his garbage – thinly disguised as poetry due to a use of big words – with fact. I enjoy that. It’s easy to spin a yarn and tell a great bedtime story for the children of South Beach. It’s another to back it all up with fact.

Speaking of fact, I’d like to point out that it took a former Laker head coach stealing another man’s job for Wade to get his ring. However most of my commentary to your article is going to focus on one thing, the Olympics.

At the beginning of the Games commentators and sports pundits pointed out things such as “Isn’t Kobe giving away his secret? These guys are gonna see what makes him Kobe, they’re gonna see how hard he works and they’ll emulate that work ethic.” Before Chuck could choke on a donut from the thought I was screaming “bullshit!” for one reason, just because they’ve seen it doesn’t mean they can do it. When you talk about Kobe’s need to win it’s like he’s affected, like it’s the driving force for the very fiber of his being. This isn’t the even the main point to be made here.

Coach K took stock of his Olympic team and saw that he was SO saturated on offense he needed to focus on defense, he chose to use Kobe as the NBA All Defensive Team member he’d been named to 6 times at that point in his career. He CHOSE to have Dwayne Wade shoot the ball, and keep Kobe on defense.

Coach Krzyzewski had the ultimate hypothetical situation of this era of the NBA come true in front of him in the final minutes of that gold medal game. He needed one man to dominate the game, he had Lebron, he had Wade, and he had Kobe. In Coach K’s OWN WORDS after the game, in that pivotal time out against Spain he looked at Kobe and simply said “Do your thing.”

There is no argument here, that moment says everything. People had been theorizing since the draft class of 2003 landed the concept of “You’re a coach, you’ve got these two kids and that guy….which one takes the last shot?” He decided for us. End of argument.

  • I love Austen’s response almost as much as this article.

    Good job knocking this out. PER has its place, for offense only. And I’d expect Kobe to take more shots. Seriously, how many shots have Kwame and Smush taken since playing with the Black Mamba? The only way that team makes the playoffs is Kobe leading the offense.

    Charlie forgot one other small factoid: MVP: Kobe 1, D-Wade 0.

    Other fun fact: People rag on Kobe only being able to win the first 3 with Shaq. D-Wade hasn’t moved anywhere in the playoffs since Shaq.

  • This is one the best response I have read. That includes the comment from Austen. I am sick of the so called “columnist” bringing up stats to back their theory. Will they ever learn that using stat to back your theory only applies in fantasy sports? and last time I checked we aren’t talking about fantasy sports.

    Anyways, to reiterate what Byrnes said – there is no comparison between Kobe and Wade. I think Wade is a phenomenal player, I really like his play but Kobe is just another in dimension. He is just in another level Wade may or may not be by the end of his career.
    The only comparison right now is they both are shooting guards. and Yes Wade is no Kobe Bryant.

  • What an excellent article/rebuttal! I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought you did a fantastic job of taking that writer to task. Whenever I try to argue for Kobe, people invariably bring up stats/Shaq/Phil Jackson and it drives me crazy. Like you said, basketball is so much more than stats. Plus every successful championship team had at least one other star and/or amazing coach to help them along. The Olympics argument is one of my favorites, I remember watching that game and loved how the entire team deferred to Kobe in the closing minutes…as it should be. While his talent is otherworldly, it is his drive and knowledge that truly sets him apart. Again, fantastic article =)

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