Hello one, hello all. Reverend Paul Revere, creative genius behind The House That Glanville Built here to do the impossible: argue that yes, Kobe Bryant deserves some consideration for the 2008-09 NBA MVP.
Now, some of you may be wondering, “What’s the point?” After all, LeBron has this thing all wrapped up, and the consensus is even if some fluke accident happened in the balloting, Dwyane Wade is the man most deserving after King James. I mean, some people don’t even have Kobe in their top three. Well, maybe I’m nuts, but I’m going to have to respectfully disagree.
You want to know why Kobe Bryant deserves to be the MVP? Well, if being the best player on the best team in the best conference in basketball isn’t enough for you, perhaps this will at least give you some food for thought. Kobe is the MVP because he has the most beautiful game in the NBA, by far, and in my book, beauty is the most valuable trait of all. I mean, think about it fellas, who’s more valuable in your book, a beautiful woman or a not-so-beautiful one?
Who’s more valuable to you?
Honestly, I used to despise Kobe Bryant. Everything about him. I’m a Sixers fan, a Philadelphian through and through, and when Kobe dissed his home town in the 2001 NBA Finals, I was ready to write him off forever. I was a junior in high school at the time and when Kobe said he wanted to tear Philadelphians’ hearts out, that was it. Kobe was dead to me.
But then as I got a little older, I truly began to love the beauty of players’ games, and as I watched Kobe Bryant play, there was none more beautiful. Slowly, he began to win me over, and while I won’t root for Kobe or the Lakers to win, I love watching Kobe Bryant play perhaps more than any other player in the league.
Where LeBron dominates with his incredible physical gifts and matures before our eyes, his game is more aggressive, more physically awe-inspiring than beautiful. And Dwyane Wade, for all his tremendous talent and all-around game, is anything but beautiful when he plays, what with his awkward shots, choppy style and reckless abandon.
But Kobe, Kobe is beauty on the court personified. He can do anything on the hardwood, just like Wade and LeBron, but the way he does it just seems effortless. And that’s the sign of true value, making something so incredibly difficult look so incredibly easy. Take, for instance, his performance mere hours after the Lakers found out Andrew Bynum would be down for a while, which I wrote about back in early February:
Hours after the Lakers found out Andrew Bynum would be lost 8-12 weeks with a torn MCL, Kobe reminds everyone that it was he who won the MVP last year, he who has three championship rings, he who, when on his game, is the most efficient big-time scorer in the NBA. And yeah, he plays defense too.
Last night, Kobe scored more points in Madison Square Garden than anyone ever. More than Wilt. More than Bird. More than Jordan. More than anyone. 61 points. 19 of 31 from the field. 3 of 6 from three. A perfect 20 for 20 from the line. 20 for 20. Wow.
It was ridiculous. Kobe was hitting shots very few players in the league can even get off, let alone make, LeBron included. And that's the difference between Kobe and LeBron. Don't get me wrong, LeBron James is this year's MVP, a true freak. He can run, he can jump, he's a beast, he's now d-ing it up and he clearly makes his teammates better. Physically, there's never been a player like him. When it comes to getting to the rim, going through a defense or using his body, LeBron has no peer.
But if you truly needed one player to go and get you 40, 50, 60 points, would you honestly take LeBron over Kobe, even right now? I wouldn't. Here's why: For all the great things LeBron can do, he is nowhere close to Bryant as a shooter. Can't touch him. Kobe has every shot in the book. He's as lethal from three as he is throwing down an alley-oop. His mid-range game is insane, and the scary part about it is it doesn't seem to matter if someone is guarding him or not. No one makes more highly contested, perfectly defended shots than Kobe Bryant. No one.
And even today, with all we’ve seen from LeBron, would you still trust him more than Kobe to get you 40, 50 or 60 if you really need it? Would you still trust him to make a perfectly guarded jump shot with the clock winding down more than Kobe? I say no. Kobe’s the guy who you know can and will do that for you. That sounds like an MVP to me.