- What if you're an NBA basketball player, and what-- it's kind of the opposite. What you really like to do is show people, your peers, I can take a game over and you can't stop me. Kobe Bryant, I can score 40, you can't stop me. Double team me, go ahead. Trap me.
But the problem is, that's bad for the team. The athletes fight that. Russell Westbrook to me has always had sort of a Kobe Bryant thing, which is when he goes into his tunnel, it's great for highlights. Fans love it. We talk about it. Oohs and aahs from the crowd.
But it's bad for the team. The Thunder lost again last night, they've lost 5 of 7. They're 9 and 1 this year when Russell Westbrook shoots less than 18 shots. In each of the five losses, in the last seven games, Westbrook shooting more and then Paul George is shooting less.
But you don't get the love, you don't get the MVP-- he doesn't care. Westbrook doesn't care about stats. Really? Mr. Triple-double, goosing his rebound stats last year, doesn't care about stats?
Wasn't he trying to prove to everybody last year, I can do great things without Kevin Durant? Of course he was. This year, nobody's talking about stats. But it's interesting. I've always thought with Westbrook, he's got a Kobe thing. And it's hard to wrap your mind around. You are worshipped, respected, loved, admired, kissed up to, talked about, discussed, when you drop 42.
But the numbers with Kobe and Westbrook are clear. Shoot less, win more. Include others. And by the way, Kobe's a smart dude, right? I mean Kobe Bryant's had a very successful off the court career with the, like, stuff. Like his business. But measured Kobe was always better for the Lakers. First of all, measured Kobe was easier to play with. Measured Kobe was more fun to play with. Measured Kobe was easier to coach.
But to the very end, when he had all that money and rings, Kobe struggled with the measured part. Because psychologically basketball players, all time greats, want to show you, you can't stop me. It's like masculine.
And I look at these Westbrook stats, and it's the Kobe thing. That he can pass more, but basketball's an ooh and aah sport. And Westbrook has built his reputation on oohs and aahs. But they're clearly better when he shoots less.
They don't want him to not shoot. They want him to shoot about 16 times a game. But he gets all the love and the worship and the stats and the numbers when he shoots 26 times a game.
And that's why I think Kobe, to the very end, struggled with it. It sounds easy. Hey, I'll shoot less, and then we'll win more. But what happens when you're so gifted? Somebody once said this about having a great voice. Like if you have a great voice and you're born with it, you'll want to sing. You'll sing on the street, you'll sing in the car, you'll sing in the shower, you'll sing on the stage.
When you are physically gifted like Kobe and Westbrook, it's real easy for me to say. But when you go to the arena knowing you can drop 44 for a night, but your team's better when you score 20, I think it's hard. The Thunder are 9 and 1 when Westbrook shoots fewer than 18 shots. Try convincing him, driving to work every day, that's the best for the team. It's not that easy. It was never easy for Kobe, I think it's hard for Westbrook.