Even more nauseating is the phony response from players who just had to detest him for his arrogant and demeaning attitude toward them. They all seem to be on some sort of zombie robotic monotone as they praise him, never once alluding to him as being a good guy or good human being, but always that he “contributed to the league with his exploits and inspired me with his awesome work ethic.”
Fact is, I love Kobe as a great player and one of the worlds’ greatest admitted assholes and hate seeing him try to palm off this new benevolent image of a good guy that fits him like a pair of Alabama cotton patch overalls. Now that he’s nearing retirement, he seems to finally realize how supercilious and patronizing and dismissive and hateful he’s been toward his perceived peers or enemies and is at last trying to make amends, when it seems what he is really trying to do in a cold-bloodedly calculated way is repair his image so as to enhance his brand as a future team owner or corporate conglomerate billionaire, just another money and power monger bamboozling the public like a staged politician with fifty image repairing advisors.
Watch closely when he smiles, and it resembles something frozen or painted on, almost like a student picture where a photographer urged you to say cheese, as lacking in spontaneity and as scripted as his boring interviews and the narcissistic movie he made of himself. The guy seems acutely aware of his every movement and utterance.
The NBA didn’t help much by turning the all star game into a Kobe extravaganza that had to have his fellow all stars close to gagging as they felt forced for the good of the league image to embrace him with the mandatory insincere hugs (except for Pau Gasol), and during taped in interviews during that ghastly all star game of sounding out the usual clichés of how inspiring the Black mamba has been to their careers.
Kobe, along with Byron Scott, owner Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak have made a sham of their team as they night after night defer to Kobe coming out on court one last time in arenas in cities on the road and waving to the fans before chucking up one bad shot after another, his team mates spectators who just have to resent being frozen out one minute and instructed the next while their progress as rookies is stunted and the team loses big again in embarrassing fashion.
During certain games, with Kobe on the bench, the kids have rallied to make it close, only to have to watch Kobe chuck up supposed clutch game winners and fail miserably, his legs gone, his shot wayward, the only remnant of his old self the glory seeking hero worship of himself
It’s the same old thing: some greats lead by saying come with me, we’ll do it together, while Kobe says follow and watch me be the man.
I wonder what these young teammates playing for a pittance compared to Kobe feel about his flying to games on a helicopter from his estate in Orange County, never practicing, spending hours in the training shrine, missing home games that don’t include last time ovations and failing to show up to sit on the bench for moral support when he’s ailing, and bravely “playing for road fans” when he’s ailing and useless, and picking up players he once disdained after fouling them when they blow by him like he’s standing still—this once relentless perennially all league bulldog on defense having chuckle sessions with opponents during free throw dead time.
Never in the history of all professional sports in America have we endured a more prolonged and insufferable good bye to the fans of the NBA. Somebody wrote that he didn’t want to go out this way, with all the adulation, but anybody with any sense knows this is a crock of bullshit, that he’s savoring each and every ovation and chant of his name and seems to feel no guilt or misgivings about his selfish and horrific performance on the court.
He now allows interviews presenting a mellow Kobe paying compliments to those he tormented and trash-talked, a thoughtful complex Kobe who, as one of the most creative and fascinating assassins of all time, is an absolutely uninteresting person who seems only able to talk about himself—a windbag oozing with fake humility and modesty.
Larry Bird must be puking. A lot of us are and will heave a great sigh relief when he’s gone to make his billions and enhance his so-called brand in the real world and the NBA can get back to life without Kobe and his team mates can start concentrating on basketball and repairing a once glorious but now tarnished and mutilated franchise.