Kobe Is MVP

Kurt —  May 6, 2008

The official announcement comes today at 2:30 in an NBA press conference. There is really only one thing to say here: Congratulations Kobe. A well deserved honor.

to Kobe Is MVP

  1. I said these things before, but I’ll say it again. First, mainstream media voting on this issue tends to be one to two years behind the reality of the league. Second, a lot of people will say Kobe won this because he finally trusted his teammates. Well, it’s a lot easier to do that when your passes go to Pau Gasol not Kwame Brown, when your late-game kick-out goes to Derek Fisher not Smush Parker.


  2. Like jayelvee said the other day, this should be the year Kobe gets the coveted Triple Crown: Regular season MVP, Finals MVP, and a ring.

    Congrats, Kobe.


  3. When everyone was calling Kobe a ball-hog a few years ago for taking 27 shots a game, my response was always the same: Who on that roster do you want taking those shots instead of Kobe? And nobody ever had an answer for that.

    Anyways, congrats to Kobe. Much deserved and two years overdue.


  4. I think I could watch a top 100 of those types of plays and it would never get redundant.

    Congrats to Kobe…MVP. I love it.

    And just to briefly touch on what Kurt brought up about sharing and trust. Kobe is a 3 time league champion. He was the facilitator of the offense and the second leading scorer on those teams. He never had issues passing to Diesel, Horry, Fish, or Foxy. The guy knows how to trust and knows how to share. I think that some of the criticism he’s received in this area is valid, but most of it has been simple minded analysis by writers/talking heads that would rather just piggy back on the popular commentary than really get deep into why things are the way that they are. Anyways, I’m glad that he’s getting the credit that he deserves even though he could have been recognized with some tangible hardware before this season, rather than just an intagible lable of the *best player* in the league.

    Again Congrats, Mr. Bean. A well deserved reward for another fantastic season.

    BTW, I’d love to see a *Finals MVP* go up on the mantle next to the one he gets today…


  5. I have a friend from Boston–big Celts fan (we’ve been trash-talking for months, it’s been a fun season). I used to send him clips like this, and he’d just come back with an exasperated, “Kobe Bryant is good at basketball. I get it.”

    Now when I watch these things, I realize that it’s really the most accurate and succinct way to put it. And it bothers him when I say it.

    Congrats, Kobe. You are Good At Basketball.


  6. It hasn’t been easy being a Kobe fan the past few years but he’s rewarded those who have stuck by him through a lot of tumoil…much of which he brought upon himself.

    I for one am proud of him.


  7. For the past few years, I’ve been telling people that Kobe was in the middle act of his career, in purgatory between his initial triumphs and his future redemption.

    That’s a story line as old as Shakespeare, but it’s rarely played out with so much drama on and off the court.

    I’m glad to see him entering his next phase – hopefully it will last a long time and he’ll hang a few more banners along the way.

    Congrats, Kobe!


  8. Kurt,

    It was refreshing to see you write this, “I said these things before, but I’ll say it again. First, mainstream media voting on this issue tends to be one to two years behind the reality of the league. Second, a lot of people will say Kobe won this because he finally trusted his teammates. Well, it’s a lot easier to do that when your passes go to Pau Gasol not Kwame Brown, when your late-game kick-out goes to Derek Fisher not Smush Parker.”

    I’ve been thinking the same thing when the media points to Kobe’s newfound “trust in his teammates” and the fact that he has “finally made those around him better.”

    How much better could Smush Parker and Kwame Brown have been?

    Neither of whom got off the bench this season with the Heat and Grizzlies.


  9. At what point in time did the MVP get redefined so that “making your teammates better” became the main criteria (never mind that this is unmeasurable and completely subjective)? I would guess we can put the blame on Michael Jordan. This is the only way the media could justify not giving him the award every year (even though he probably deserved it).


  10. Well deserved, a big congrats!!


  11. Hehe- listening to the PRess conference- and two of the best quips I’ve heard-

    From Luke walton “You will be buying your teammates gifts, right?”

    From Tex Winter “So, how do you like the Triangle?”

    Kobe’s reaction to the question in Spanish was priceless as well “Where’s pau when I need him…”

    Dude’s a funny, funny guy- this’ll go a long way to solidify his image again.


  12. Once, once, once again. The players who have left the Lakers had career years while playing with the Lakers – for the most part. Just how did Kobe not make his teammates better? Were they supposed to win the championship with chump change? Even Wilt could accomplish that feat.


  13. Sorry for the missing word. Wilt couldn’t accomplish that.


  14. It’s about time Kobe has won this award and I think this may not be his last. Since winning is the universal criteria and our team is built to win for the next several years, I expect him to be in the top 3 in voting for at least the next 4 or 5 years, hopefully picking up a few more, along with some Finals MVP awards!

    Just a side note: I work with a Laker hater, who always says how much better LeBron is than Kobe. I can’t wait to brag about the MVP award and that the Lakers have won 13 of their last 14 games, still the only undefeated team in the playoffs. I think that LeBron is obviously a dominate physical presence and a very gifted player, but he does not consistently display the defensive passion that Kobe plays with and his jump shot is not nearly as accurate at this phase in his career. Also how is the super talented LeBron just a 71% free throw shooter?! I rarely hear anyone knock him for that.



  15. I thought Kobe was the MVP when he made Kwame Brown and Smush Parker starters on a playoff team for two years.


  16. My brother and I were kind of hoping he wouldn’t win it. Imagine size of the chip on his shoulder… especially if they gave it to Chris paul.

    Congrats Kobe.

    Good Bill Sharman article about the advent of the 3 pointer and Abe Saperstein in the Times today.


  17. Kobe…winning the MVP…this means a lot to me…being your fan…believing in you all these years. even back in the day when you shot those 3 air balls in that OT game with Utah…even when it seemed for some reason Glenn Rice got more time than you…or when you were the open guy and Fox still wouldn’t pass to you…or when the battles started with Shaquille…or the Colorado incident and losing the sponsors and all that…or having a scrap team around you (minus Lamar and Luke..and a few of them have proven themselves this year finally)…or being pissed off and making a tirade in a parking lot…or having management say wacky things after it seemed that it was all over…or being booed that first game this season…

    Thru all of that….you showed up and played hard every game….you dazzled us with incredible dunks and passes and outside defended shots that no one should have made. You played solid D and even took the challenge of guarding the toughest player on the opposing team…you made basketball fun to watch…I think the MVP should have been yours for a few years now…but…whatever…it is your now…and so…it is mine now too…and all Kobe fans out there…well…not really…but I think you understand what I am saying.

    Thanks Kobe.


  18. Andrew Z, that comment is priceless and I agree wholeheartedly.

    burningjoe, you said everything I wanted to say.

    Thanks Kobe, and congrats.


  19. KurkPeterman May 6, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    15 – LOL, seriously.

    Congrats Kobe; you are the best.


  20. Does anyone have a link to watch the press conference online?


  21. I missed the darn press conference, but would love to check it out. Anyone know where I can catch a replay of it? TV or online? Please let me know, I’m sure others will feel the same. Thanks.

    And most importantly…super congrats Mamba!


  22. You can find the replay at cbs2.com/sports


  23. Congrats Kobe. Its well deserved.

    15. That is so true, I never understood that “doesn’t make his teammates better” argument. No one could make Kwame Brown or Smush Parker better.

    4. Darius. I second that I could watch a top 100 and it wouldn’t get boring. Kobe is amazing.


  24. Kid Skillz… Bean… Ocho…
    Kobe-Wan… The Dagger…
    KB24… Mamba…
    MV to the P…

    To Be Continued

    – 5 –


  25. This Little Pinky May 6, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    The full press conference can be found at NBA.com.

    You’ll have to endure some promotion by KIA motors or some car company like that.

    ““I don’t know anybody who’s ever deserved this trophy more. I don’t know anybody who’s ever worked as hard to accomplish what he’s accomplished” – Phil Jackson on Kobe’s MVP Award.


  26. Agree with just about everything said above. He had to be the MVP when he took PHX to game seven with Smush and Kwame, players who are likely never to start in a PO game, not to mention be as productive.

    As far as ‘finally trusting’ goes, I think the sentiment is half-right. He could have trusted his teammates to eventually get better, and devoted the rebuilding years developing talent as opposed to doing everything he can to win then and there.

    Would he have caught flak for doing so? Absolutely. If he shared the ball trying to develop teammates, people would’ve questioned his ‘competitiveness’ much like LeBron was blamed for passing out of the double team. Also, considering it was post-Shaq, Kobe had a LOT to prove, and accumulating losses while Shaq won a championship… not that it didn’t happen… ouch.

    Lastly, I think the writers resisted the MVP as much as they possibly could, and finally had to give in when Kobe seemed to curb his ways to fit the more mainstream character of ‘making your teammates better.’ I always thought that there was an agenda by the writers, one that had them thinking that they had to enforce this code of playing-together, playing-the-right-way, and actively resisting supporting-the-same-player-an-average-fan-does. Kobe decreasing the number of shots he took could’ve been perceived as the writers’ collective victory over Kobe, and thus they relented and finally gave him the MVP.

    Not that it decreases its meaning, and not that Kobe would care one way or another as long as he wins it, since the man just wants every sort of recognition in the game because the game is everything to him.


  27. The Fanalyst May 6, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks, Jeff. Checked it out. Never saw Kobe nervous, but he did a great job. Luke and Tex were funny too. Unbelievable accomplishment. Next presentation has a parade….


  28. I’ve been watching Kobe since his rookie year and finally got his MVP. It would take a good chemistry to get an MVP. Kareem needed Oscar R. and Magic J. Magic J needed Worthy and Kareem, Shaq needed Kobe and finally Kobe needed Pau. Congratulations Kobe and the Lakers.


  29. kobe’s come a long way since chucking up airballs against Stockton and Malone. he’s been the best player in the league for a couple years now. much deserved for #24.


  30. This Celtics-Cavs game is terrible. There was just a stretch of 4 offensive fouls called on 4 consecutive possessions (both teams). If the refs make rebounding calls like they did on Perkins in that mid 4th q foul, the Lakers will be in good shape tomorrow.

    If I’m Mike Brown, I draw up the following play: Lebron James does NOT dribble into a fade away 3 point attempt.


  31. Woah! The TNT playoff montage just featured the Marvin Williams foul on Rondo, the Jason Kidd foul on Pargo, the KG-Zaza confrontation and the Hugo the Hornet flame jump… You think David Stern signed off on that?


  32. mazel tov Kobe!

    30: !!!! ha! 30 minutes early, that’s how the game ends, with LeBron shooting a fade away 3. Nice call! (terrible call by Mike Brown…and I thought Doc was the worst coach in the playoffs).


  33. Gils_Keloids May 6, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Celtics are going to be in some serious trouble if they make the Finals.

    Their team looks really weak in the playoffs.


  34. Bryan, I second that Mazel Tov all the way out from NYC.

    Kobe, clear off the mantle, another trophy will need some room.


  35. Just looking a little ahead towards the away games, Ross Siler has some interesting notes for the upcoming Sunday game:


    The way he puts it, it may seem the Lakers may get a little advantage….a semi-home game perhaps?


  36. I think the writer than gave LeBron his 1 First-Place vote would like to take it back right now..


  37. laughing hard May 6, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    That press conference was like a freaking morgue… I hope the presentation tomorrow is better!


  38. “I think the writer than gave LeBron his 1 First-Place vote would like to take it back right now..””

    I didn’t know John Hollinger had a vote…


  39. I know this is Kobe’s day but I ran accross this article about Fisher that is worth reading.



  40. I think as fans of Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, it’s very easy for use to conveniently overlook a part of this whole MVP with Kobe history. If I had to pick one reason why Kobe hadn’t won one yet, I would choose the Colorado rape allegations as front and center, the only reason Kobe did not receive the vote in years prior. His falling out with the media during that season was both for the club and personal, he laid low and if I remember a lot of companies pulled their ads with him from the networks. As much as we might like to qualify an MVP solely on skill and output, the NBA is a business surrounded by businesses, and an “alleged rapist” is not good for business. Other than the allegations, Kobe produced far above and beyond the last three MVP’s and meant more to the success of his team and any of the others.

    It took several years to rebuild, but here we are, with a better team and a media-accessible Kobe.


  41. Funny how this year’s MVP race had none in the same position in the top5. 1. Kobe(SG) 2. CP(PG) 3. KG(PF) 4. LJ(SF) 5. DH(C). Kinda means that each were so dominant in their positions that nobody in the same position even warranted consideration, i think. Of course this is less so as we go down the list.

    Anyway, this led me to think, if we were create an ‘all-mvp candidate team,’ whose stats(contribution) do you think will suffer the most, and who will still get his own, or find other meaningful ways to contribute?

    Not sure if this was ever a consideration, but judging from the Team USA performances and other ‘intangibles,’ out of the MVP candidates, and of all the NBA players in general, Kobe (in no little part due to his demeanor and veteran-status) will be the one that will consistently contribute no matter who he plays with.

    This is why I think Kobe is regarded the best among his peers. That’s probably the players’ criteria when they think of the best player. The one you defer to naturally, and the one that you try to stop. MVP may have to do with making the most out of an inferior squad, but being the best should have to do with being able to lead the most superior squad.

    This year, Kobe proved that he can still be dominating while helping others enjoy statistically impressive seasons, a la Bynum and Gasol. That to me is the ultimate sign of the best player – one that can help both inferior and superior squads to career years while dominating the game.


  42. Last Summer, there was very little hope in Kobe’s heart for any kind of championship as a Laker. As the summer progressed, there was considerable doubt concerning Kobe’s mental stability. Realists openly speculated that Kobe would sit out the season rather than play even one game as a Laker. Wild eyed optomists predicted that the Lakers would have a winning season and just barely make one round of the playoffs–with Kobe still on the team.

    Early in the season, the MVP was clearly Kevin Garnett, as the Celtics suddenly became, well, the Celtics again. By midseason, after Lebron manhandled Kobe a few times face to face, the King seemed to have arrived. As the season came to a close, it was Chris Paul’s MVP to lose–until he came to visit the Lakers at Staples.

    Meanwhile, despite an unending string of injuries, the Lakers moved their way up the Western Conference rankings, and with a final surge, became regular season Western Conference Champs.

    The fools and idiots thought that the Lakers would make it to the finals against Boston–and lose. Saner minds dreamed the Lakers into the Western Conference Playoff championship against San Antonio–and a loss. More realistic minds felt that the Lakers might sneak by the Nuggs, only to lose to the Jazz in a hard fought series. The truly objective doubted that the Lakers could get by the superior talent in Denver.

    The fools and idiots are looking wiser and wiser with every playoff game even as Kobe is recognized as MVP. Given the Eastern Conference misadventures of Detroit and Boston, the elimination of Phoenix and Dallas, and the 0-2 record of the Spurs against those Hornets, Kobe finds himself on a Laker team that has already reached a pinacle that some felt would never be reached again by the Lakers during his career.

    Even though it could abruptly change with a Utah victory in Staples, and the Jazz might add three more and knock the Lakers out of the playoffs (as Hollinger once predicted), and please, let’s not tell anyone (not even Kobe), but right now, today, the Lakers are the team to beat for the NBA championship! (Whoops–I said it).

    Kinda feels good to be hated–doesn’t it?


  43. 40) Kareem,
    ” I had to pick one reason why Kobe hadn’t won one yet, I would choose the Colorado rape allegations as front and center, the only reason Kobe did not receive the vote in years prior”

    I disagree. I think it was the “waving off the Karl Malone screen” in the All-Star game. Bryant already had a reputation for aloofness, and for not bring a “team player.” That action cemented that image in the mind of much of the media, and once they make up their collective mind about someone, it is a very difficult and lengthy process to change that.


  44. Warren Wee Lim May 7, 2008 at 7:07 am

    If there’s one person that would pick LeBron 24/7 over Kobe, I think it would be Kurt’s friend, the Abbott guy.


  45. urgh, had a long post but gone now 🙁


  46. 40) kareem
    Further thoughts on Kobe and his prior lack of MVPs:

    Kobe had the audacity/chutzpah/balls/arrogance to challenge the legacy of MJ; possibly the greatest media darling of all time. In the minds of a lot of the media, that was (subconsciously) unforgivable.

    Then throw in the Shaq trade issue – Shaq is a genius at self-promotion and media manipulation; Kobe is the exact opposite. Kobe ended up losing that media battle big time.


  47. Kobe’s MVP award is long overdue but worth the wait. Undoubtedly, he’s the MVP of the decade, and I back this up with just one single act that I predict nobody can replicate til maybe after the next 20 years at the least.. 81 POINTS.. simply amazing..


  48. 40, 41, 44: I really don’t think it has anything to do with those issues, even though we have articles and discussions ad nauseum on ESPN and elsewhere about how Kobe is now a team player and leader and makes his teammates better and communicates and trusts his teammates and all that (and he most likely does, but I’m not his teammate so I can’t say anything definitive about it)…the MVP will always go to the best player out of the top 2 or maybe 3 teams in the league and the Lakers haven’t been there since this year (Last MVP 45 Wins or below was Kareem in ’72 with the Bucks, not exactly the norm)

    If the Lakers had lost 2 or 3 more games or even lost that Sunday game vs. the Hornets at the end of the season would Kobe still have won MVP? Unlikely, but that doesn’t make the points that Kobe is marketable again, more media/fan friendly, a better teammate, or has finally left Shaq’s shadow untrue


  49. now that he’s garnered the mvp, great! another laker gets a well earned accolade!….HAD HE NOT, let’s check the other lakers who, UNDOUBTEDLY, had mvp years and yet were shunned: the icon, the logo, mr. clutch, Jerry West….ALSO the creator of hang time Elgin Baylor. either way, kb24 would’ve ended up in good company of LAKER GREATS……….


  50. Congrats Mamba! Keep em comin…


  51. Does anyone else think that Plaschke and Heisler are overstating how many people actually booed Kobe early in the year? I watched every game and I don’t remember much booing.

    Guess it’s not that big of a deal, it does make their articles seem more dramatic.


  52. Plashcke’s column today typifies the way the media’s dealt with Kobe in LA for about as long as I remember. I just can’t think of any other athlete in this city’s storied history who’s had to deal with such constant criticism and scorn from the media.

    Look, I understand that Kobe might be a pain to deal with for the beat writers out there. I get it that he’s focused on his job to a fault, and will freeze out reporters (also trying to do their job) who keep asking him the same questions for months.

    But I really think the majority of Laker fans just don’t care. We DO care that Kobe plays hard every single night, and we’re thrilled that he and the team are flourishing after some lean years. I think it’s ludicrous to suggest, as Plaschke does, that fans are thinking about opening night boos at a time like this. How tired is that story by now?

    The Lakers are making noise in the playoffs. Kobe’s the MVP. His team clearly loves playing with him. Why not just enjoy this ride?


  53. New Game Chat post up.


  54. Congrats Kobe!!!! Well deserved.

    So happy for Kobe.

    Now go get the Finals MVP, the championship.


  55. People said that the lakers can’t win without Shaq, well now they are stunned being that Kobe is on pace to win his first championship(mvp of the finals to go with that new mvp hardware he just got), olympic gold, and a dynasty in the making with Bynum, Gasol, Odom, Vuyajic, Fisher, Ariza ect. He’s about to do what not even Jordan has done and that is to win early in his career and to also to win in the middle of his career. Wow! talk abut being a main part of 2 dynasties in the making. Congrats Kobe. We believe you can set the new stardard of the NBA.


  56. 20, 21 –
    You can also download the full press conference as a torrent file at sportbit.org or sport-scene.net (membership required).