I will start by admitting I cannot stand LeBron James. Maybe because he came out of high school the same year as I did and he has about a quarter billion more dollars than me, or maybe it is because of the way he left Cleveland and he has been a rival to the Celtics since the first time he made the playoffs. But that being said, back the hell off! Check twitter, I made it clear I found it hilarious he got LeBron blocked and missed two free throws in the final few minutes of the fourth quarter, but at least he had the ball the majority of the quarter. He played 43 minutes, and on that final possession, when the Heat were down three, he played a great decoy on the play which helped Chalmers get a shot that was a half dribble away from being uncontested. Meanwhile, one Mr. Wade missed his final four shots, including a layup, and was called for a flagrant foul out of pure frustration. Roles reversed, LeBron having the fourth Wade had and he would be all but crucified while Wade having the game LeBron had, and he would be praised for the minutes and flexibility of position put in.
The fast forward another night, and you have the Lakers at the Thunder. Lakers have a decent lead, and in further proof the NBA is pointless until the final 3 minutes, the Thunder come back and take a late lead. There are a few seconds left and World Peace is taking the ball out of bounds. The Lakers run a play, and Blake is wide open in the corner, the ball goes to him for an open three, and he shoots just long. Now, here is the part I heard nobody point out after the game. The ball bounces off the rim just past Kobe Bryant. He did not make the slightest attempt for a rebound, and certainly did not make the heads up play to foul Westbrook, who had come up with the ball. Instead Kobe throws a fit under the board that will surely be considered “competitiveness” by any LA media outlet.
Well, the Westbrook foul led to an inbound and another foul with 0.3 seconds left. Durant made the first and missed the rim completely on the second. So, with 0.3 seconds left the Lakers throw the ball ¾ court, and fail. But here is what could have happened if Kobe wasn’t complaining about the ball going to a wide open shooter rather than him over multiple 7 footers in the midst of even more traffic. Kobe could have bounced back after the shot and received an easy rebound, put it back in, and been the hero. Even if he would have missed the rebound, he could have been in position to foul, saving a minimum of one second. One second in basketball is 30 seconds in hockey time…you can actually run a play. The foul would have left nearly a second and a half. Durant would have shot both and made both, then a time out could bring the up half court. The Lakers would have been able to run a play for a three pointer to tie and go to overtime.
But no, Kobe was too busy being a baby for not getting the ball in a situation that would have been a horrible idea. Now, World Peace would have been forgiven because he was trying to get the ball to Kobe, but it would have been the worst decision he could possibly make. Congrats Kobe, you have proved why basketball is losing the general public. Intelligent people watch and realize that, while one player can make a difference, basketball is not at all a team game anymore. You don’t get MJ letting Paxson or Kerr take the last shot, you get Kobe bitch his team to a loss and LeBron get ripped for distributing. You get Tim Duncan going all but forgotten despite winning four rings by being a part of the epitome of a team. NBA stars are bigger divas than NFL receivers, which are the only analogy I can think of in sports. Even star footballers are bigger team players than a guy like Kobe. So, can the media please stop bowing down to Kobe and ripping LeBron, and actually take a look at the actual play on the court for a change? A little star accountability and we here at The Stain just may become interested again.