NBA

Kobe's charmed life continues

Share This Story

Jason Whitlock

Jason Whitlock writes about the sports world from every angle, including those other writers can't imagine or muster courage to address. His columns are humorous, thought-provoking, agenda-free, honest and unpredictable. E-mail him, follow his Twitter or become a fan of Jason Whitlock on Facebook.

MORE>>
 
   
 

LONDON

The unfairness of the Lakers surrendering Andrew Bynum’s bad knees and even worse attitude in exchange for Dwight Howard isn’t really worth discussion. Yes, I know the four-team deal was more complicated than what I just described. But I’m not discussing it. We knew the Lakers would get D12. They foreshadowed this deal by landing Wilt, Kareem and Shaq. They foreshadowed the ridiculousness of this deal when they were handed Pau Gasol for a Filet-o-Fish sandwich and a diet soft drink to be named later.

Dream Team history

SWEET DREAMS

Ever since the original Dream Team, some Team USAs have been dreamier than others. VIEW PHOTOS.

The Lakers live off league subsidies. And Kobe Bryant is the NBA’s Welfare King.

Yes, this column is about King Kobe, the most pampered athlete in the history of sports.

Before I continue, let me offer this bit of context. I don’t hate Kobe Bryant, although I could understand why he and his fans might think I do. I frequently rip Kobe in my columns, and I’m reluctant to recognize his greatness publicly. I’m a lifelong, hardcore Magic Johnson fan. Magic is the second-greatest NBA player of all time, and the greatest Laker. One of my missions in life is to protect Magic’s legacy. I’m going to do everything I can to guard his rightful standing in NBA lore. I don’t care how many championships Kobe wins, he’s not now nor ever will be a better player than Magic Johnson.

Got it? OK, moving forward.

Kobe is spoiled. He’s lived off NBA food stamps his entire career. Has any player in league history played with four different All-Star 7-footers? Shaq, Howard, Gasol and Bynum. Are you kidding me?

Given all the help he’s received, it would be embarrassing if Kobe didn’t retire with eight titles. Let’s don’t forget, in Shaq’s final season in L.A., Kobe also got to play with Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Now Kobe gets a still-effective Steve Nash to play point guard.

KOBE BRYANT

KRAZY FOR KOBE!

See what Kobe Bryant was up to in London through his eyes (and camera lens).

 

Nash, Kobe, Pau, Howard and Metta Artest is one hell of a starting lineup. I know, I know, they’re all past their primes except Howard. I’m not sure it matters.

Oklahoma City is better on paper. The Thunder can match L.A.’s twin 7-footers with Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. Russell Westbrook can run past and over Steve Nash. Kevin Durant is in his prime and better than the aging Bryant. With James Harden leading the way, the Thunder have a far superior bench.

But here’s the key. Dwight Howard can finally play basketball the way he was meant to play basketball. Howard was born to play defense, block shots, rebound and score as an afterthought. The ideal Howard stat line should read: 18 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks and five dunks. He can forget about spending summers working on his low-post moves. Kobe, Pau and Nash can handle the late-game scoring. Howard can worry about rebounding their misses and throwing down dunks.

If Howard plays the way he’s supposed to play, the Lakers can get by the Thunder. With Kobe and Nash, the Lakers will be significantly smarter than OKC.

We have two real hopes for L.A. failure: 1, the Heat. 2, the Lakers.

LeBron James is still the best player in basketball. More than likely, this Howard trade just snapped the Heat out of their post-championship haze. There’s a new challenge out there for James and Wade and Bosh. They whipped up on the OKC kids in June. Now there are some grown-ass men gunning for the Heat. It’s a fair fight. The Heat will be inspired.

Now, the Lakers could also self-destruct. This might be our best bet. This is quite the mix of personalities. Metta is certifiable. We know that. His name is Metta World Peace. Kobe is still the same moody ball-and-spotlight hog who ran Shaq out of town. How will Kobe get along with D12? Howard is a big, immature baby who thinks the game is indoor recess. In terms of maturity, Howard makes Shaq seem like George Will on Meet the Press. Pau is soft. Any off-court issue could send him into a prolonged funk. And Mike Brown has yet to prove he’s an elite coach. Can he handle this many egos?

No matter what happens, Kobe should not get credit for a sixth superstar championship ring if the Lakers win it all. This should count as a Robert Horry-like supporting player championship ring. Any titles Kobe wins with Howard should be marked with an asterisk and should not be considered of the same value as the titles Magic and Michael won.

The real all-time greats won titles without the benefit of welfare.

Tagged: Lakers, Heat, Magic, Thunder, Metta World Peace, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, James Harden

More Stories From Jason Whitlock

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..