Kobe Cares? Have a Take, Do Not Suck

If you've ever listened to The Jim Rome Show, you've heard him give this valuable piece of advice to callers: "Have a take, do not suck."

Translation for the uninitiated: If you're going to have an opinion, make sure you've put some thought into it, and that it makes a degree of sense.

Which brings me to today's throwaway column from Yahoo, courtesy of Adrian Wojnarowski.

My guess is that you don't become Yahoo's national NBA columnist without talent. So I'm going to give Wojnarowski the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he just had a word count to fill before hopping on a plane to Las Vegas for this weekend's NBA All-Star festivities.

The article talks about how team-oriented Kobe's become this season. I've got no problem with that. It's the "analysis" of why Kobe's more about passing and so forth that's just ludicrous.

He writes:

Kobe Bryant could see it: All around him, the superstar game was changing, the fresh generation of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James redefining the guidelines between greatness and the game. These kids had come along with inclinations to dominate the NBA by passing the ball as easily as scoring it.

What? Kobe Bryant decided to pass the ball more because of peer pressure? (Forget that Wojnarowski is imputing all sorts of thoughts and feelings to Kobe based on no apparent source other than his imagination.) There's more:

Bryant was pushed over on the Rushmore of basketball superstars by two Madison Avenue darlings whose rapid ascensions came without the weight of Kobe's professional and personal baggage. And the way for him to nudge back had to come with a transformation far greater than a jersey change from No. 8 to No. 24.

Bryant had to take away the last, lingering criticism of his brilliant talent: His inner ball-hog had to die.

And then there's this:

As much as anything with the arrival of James and Wade, the basketball public started to expect something else out of its stars: selflessness. Few players are as sensitive to the public perception as Bryant, and he responded accordingly.

So now Kobe's passing more because he's trying to please the fans.

Anyone who's spent any amount of time covering Kobe knows that he's the most competitive athlete on the planet, or at least, tied with anyone else you might mention for first. Does he really sit around thinking about what Dwayne Wade and LeBron James are doing? Kobe's got three NBA titles. Does he really spend sleepless nights wondering how to gain the approval of fans?

This is Kobe Bryant we're talking about.

Kobe is passing more because he's realized, just like MJ did back in the day, that he can't win games alone. It's a practical fact. Bryant spent a couple seasons shooting a ton because he was finally out from under Shaq's shadow. He saw the result: lose, lose, lose. So he changed his ways, simple as that.

As far as Kobe's marketability goes, he didn't get pushed away from Madison Avenue by Wade or James. Kobe knocked his own star from the sky in a Colorado hotel room.

Sure, Wade passes a lot. If Shaq were on my team, I'd pass a lot, too. And as far as James goes -- well, he could learn a thing or two from Kobe when it comes to passing less, and shooting more. He's said it himself repeatedly: He doesn't have Kobe's killer instinct.

Anyway, the bottom line is this: You're paid to write a column, not just dial it in. Give us something worth reading.

February 16, 2007 6:21 PM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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