Obviously, I am a fan of Henry Abbott and his blog TrueHoop, if not I would not be part of his network. He does good reporting, he is smart and considerate, he asks questions (like about William Wesley) that nobody else is asking.
But he also has blind spots. We all do. And it is hard to admit them at times. Henry is a Blazers fan and therefore understandably has Lakers issues. I can understand that. I let some things go because I have blind spots as well.
But, maybe because it’s the off-season, Henry looked at a recent compilation of Kobe Bryant dunks — put together by the NBA, not some Lakers fan — from over the course of his career and decided that was cause again to bring up the selfish card. He admits he is missing the point then goes ahead. Frankly, that is just Henry not able to help himself.
If you want, I could spend and 20 minutes on YouTube and compile a video of Michael Jordan dunking when he decided not to pass to an open teammate. With a little work I bet you could do the same thing with Steve Nash (well, not the dunking part but the taking shots when he had other guys open part). Frankly, no star player is who he is if he is not a little bit selfish.
What made those dunks worthy of being on a highlight reel is that they were over people. They were dramatic. Kobe has at time taken that liberty. But I think Gatinho said it best:
Truth be told, young Kobe had obvious moments where his will-to-win and his supreme confidence in his game led him to be what can be described only as selfish. But did it get in the way of him winning three rings? Was he “selfish” 2005-2007? Or was he just asking himself, “Who’s hotter right now, me or Chucky Atkins?”
Now bring in the fact that the dude’s team just won the championship and did it in a way that it isn’t normally accomplished. Almost all NBA champs have at least 2 sometimes 3 (Magic, Cap, Worthy) HOFers. Is Pau Gasol going into the HOF?
And then there’s this from Chris Ballard’s article from SI on the Finals.
“…The way [Bryant] dominated not only with baskets but also with passes—Bryant had nearly twice as many assists as any other player in the Finals.”
I just don’t see where (Abbott) brought anything new or insightful to that criticism.
Or this from Daniel:
The most hilarious part of that article:
“About a minute into the video, Bryant is approaching the hoop and Steve Nash runs over in an attempt to take the charge. Yes, Bryant can jump over a man that size. But Kwame Brown could not be more alone under the hoop. Rather than dishing, however, Bryant scales the little Canadian infomercial celebrity. ”
I take it that Henry never got a chance to watch one Laker game when Kwame was on the team if he thinks dishing off to “Stone hands” Brown under the bucket is a preferable decision to Kobe posterizing a 6’3″ point guard.
Henry may claim now that we are taking what he wanted to say out of context. I contend that he is taking Kobe’s dunks out of context. Would you like to see Lakers fans put together a highlight reel of Kobe passes? Not hard to do. What about defensive stops? Easy. The fact is, we like dunks — they are fun to watch and dramatic.
And to read too much into a highlight reel speaks more to the writer than the player. Sadly.