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

When it counts.

When it counts? Is Charles unaware Kobe Bryant has hit game winners which clinched divisions, won playoff games and even Finals games? He does realize, whenever anybody polls NBA players, “Who would you want taking the last shot for your team?,” Kobe Bryant always receives more votes than everybody else combined?

In what world has Dwyane Wade out-performed Kobe Bryant in the playoffs? Could you imagine if Kobe had gotten the calls Wade got in the Dallas-Heat Championship against Boston? Good Lord, Kobe would have averaged 50 a game.

Let me know when Dwyane Wade is dropping 48-16’s in a pivotal Game 4 of a conference finals game against one of the best teams to never win a title. Let me know when Dwyane Wade takes over an overtime Finals game on the road with Shaquille O’Neal fouled out (on a bum ankle). Let me know when Dwyane Wade is dropping daggers into the heart of division rival with a crunch time lineup that featured Smush Parker, Sasha Vujacic and Kwame Brown.

Hell, let me know when Dwyane Wade is doing anything in the playoffs besides riding through a sub-par Eastern Conference (and it was pitiful in 2006) and getting gift-wrapped a Finals victory by going to the line anytime he was sneezed at.

And the Olympics? This guy wants to talks about the Olympics and when it counts?

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised a Miami Heat fan doesn’t know about the “history” of basketball. We are talking about a franchise that retired Michael Jordan’s 23 and Dan Marino’s 13.

He wants to talk about WHEN IT COUNTS? With Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade?

August 24, 2008. Spain vs. United States, Gold Medal game. Up until now, the Americans have coasted. They’ve lived up to their name: The Redeem Team.

However, Spain wasn’t giving up their chain without a fight. Late in the fourth quarter, Spain cut the lead to four, as the Americans devolved into what had killed them in international play: isolations.

Enter the alpha dog of the team: Kobe Bryant. It was Bryant who rose when it counted, hitting two key three-pointers (including a four point play over Spain’s MVP of the Game: Rudy Fernandez) to give the United States a cushion they would eventually see them through to the end.

That’s how you figure out things like this in basketball, Charles. When the going got tough—the Redeem Team turned to Kobe Bryant, and he was there when it counted. (But yeah, stat-heads, KOBE ISN’T CLUTCH ‘CAUSE STATS SAY SO). Dwyane Wade deferred to Kobe Bryant because he knew this was his moment, his time.

While in Beijing, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade were fantasizing about running roughshod over the NBA in three years (I’d pay millions for those tapes), Kobe Bryant had just lost in the Finals in six games to the Boston Celtics.

He could have taken the summer off, and honestly, who’d have blamed him? But he wanted to play for his country, because it meant something to him. He knew he was the alpha dog, but Sensei Kobe let the young dogs get theirs—he resigned himself to locking down the other team’s best player every night (which might explain the stat discretion between Wade and Bryant, perhaps)?

And when the team needed him the most? There he was, just like everybody (including Wade) hoped he’d be.

Let the young bucks have stats—Kobe Bryant is chasing things that are far beyond stats.

Next: Dwyane Wade is no Kobe Bryant
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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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