Showboat [Kobe Bryant] P72
Post Length: 5 min
In Review: Showboat
Author: Roland Lazenby
Length: 21 hrs 59 min
Reco: Meh [3/5 bananas]
7th grade was the school yearbook I dreamed of ... My pic + tons of cute chicks. Flip to the sports teams, boom, there I was. I was on the C team in basketball. Yep, not A, not B, but the C team. Can you say - Student-Athlete?! I was one of five poor souls, but, as far as street cred went, I had two pics in the yearbook. Priorities people, priorities.
In high school, I switched from public to private, and that was where I learned the fundamentals of basketball. Jr Varsity my Freshman year, and Varsity as a Sophomore. If it weren't for coach Ricky Webb, the C team may have been the height of my career, but thanks to him, I progressed.
Learning the basics made me love the game. Being able to see what made players great was a whole new world.
The local 'rec' center was where I spent five hours every day practicing shooting with my right hand and left. I was addicted, and my game improved. What I couldn't understand, though, was the talent that others had been given. God-given talent. No matter how hard I practiced, I would never have their talent ... and Kobe was the pinnacle of that in my life.
“It takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly, more people would do it.” - John Wooden
Kobe grew up around the game overseas in Italy. His dad, Jellybean, played in the NBA and eventually international ball. While in Italy, Kobe's grandfather would send him NBA games on VHS tapes so he wouldn't miss any. He learned all of their moves.
Under the triangle offense and coaching of Phil Jackson, he would find his way to five rings.
Not enough can be said about the approach to the game. The athlete gets the recognition for their feats, but it is the genius of the coach to structure the game for them to shine. Everyone is working with the same set of rules, players and time once they step on the hardwood, so how is it that some are executing on another planet?
Phil Jackson has 13 rings, 11 as a coach and 2 as a player. He lived in the triangle offense... balancing the floor. Pass first, have guys in position to get back on defense. He mastered it. First with Michael Jordan and the Bulls, and then with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Three of those rings Kobe won were with Shaq, the same dude that called him a showboat in his rookie season. They had a lot of drama with each other, but still found a way to pull off championships.
Kobe was proud to get two more rings once Shaq was traded to quiet any noise that he couldn't do it alone.
Before he retired, they buried the hatchet and moved on. At the time they meant what they said, and when they made it right, they meant that, too.
"It never bothered me when people would say, 'You only win championships because you're playing with Shaq.' It bothered me when he said it." - Kobe
Aside from winning games, Kobe's commitment to himself was polarizing.
Landing in LA, he worked out until four AM ... that was following a missed game-winning shot his rookie season ... in which he air-balled four shots.
Playing for Team USA, his teammates were showing up for practice, and he was just starting his second workout. The dude was a machine.
He eventually changed his jersey number and referred to himself as the Black Mamba, his alter ego. He became the toughest, meanest dude on the court. There was no safe haven, especially not for his teammates.
"You motherfuckers don't belong on the same court as me, you're all shit." - Kobe
The perfect storm. Good grief talent, coaching genius, a team of killers, all at the right time in history. Working through family drama, rape charges, injuries, and team fighting, he established his seat at the table.
A lot has to go right for things to work out, and for some, it does. Think of all of the trials you have faced, the setbacks, the drama, the turn of events that said; no more, you are done, you can't go on ... and yet, here you are, still reading, still fighting. We do this because we still have some fight left in us. You, and me.