Yes, yes; it’s true. When it comes to who is the most valuable player in the NBA, the man who is at the front of the pack is none other than Kobe Bryant.
“Wait a minute: he doesn’t lead in anything. His team doesn’t have the best record in basketball. He’s this; he’s that, etc, etc, etc.”
While anyone can make those cases, and while they are all true, there’s one thing that has to be said about Kobe, regardless of the other candidates you will see this week: when he is on the court, his teams win. When he is not on the court, his teams lose. That’s fact.
This season has been a strange one for the Lakers. They are coming off of a Game Seven against the Celtics that they prevailed in, and for a majority of the season, they coasted through. Whether it was fatigue, boredom, irresponsibility, injury, or being lackadaisical, the point is they coasted.
However, there is one man on the Lakers who showed up to play every night and never took a game off. He made shots, played defense, controlled the game, and put the fear of God in everyone, whether it was a game in November or a game in April. That man was Kobe Bryant.
That’s been Kobe’s M.O. for the past several seasons. The man’s presence is the reason why people are either afraid or outright unwilling to bet against the Los Angeles Lakers. People who hate him even concede and say no one in the West can beat the Lakers in a seven-game series.
That cannot be said about any other candidate, regardless of how high they are on someone’s radar or how much someone stans for them. The man has earned that much respect, and since we are narrowing it down to solely this season, look at what happened after the All-Star break.
The Lakers won 17 out of 18 games, and while people were looking for reasons to count them out, they basically said “Alright; it’s getting close to playoff time. Let’s get it together, put some good basketball together, and make people fear us again,” and deep down inside, you, as a knowledgeable basketball fan, know it worked. People are afraid of the Lakers again, and the reason why they are afraid is because of #24 and his value, worth, and meaning to the Los Angeles Lakers. He is the catalyst for damn near everything the Lakers do.
Regardless of how you feel about the man, and regardless of the fact that the people’s choice is Derrick Rose and the safe choice is LeBron (seeing as how he’s won the MVP the last two years), people still have questions about both Chicago and Miami. Those questions have substantial validity to them and when/if the Bulls or the Heat fail to win the title, they will be re-visited.
Those same questions do not apply to the Lakers. With them, it’s usually “Will they get out of their own way?” That’s much different from concerns that have to do with strategy which plague the other teams mentioned. Once again, the main reason the Lakers do not face such concerns is because of Kobe Bryant.
The man plays with the same sense of urgency he played with as an 18-year-old rookie as he does as a 32-year-old veteran. To see him play defense, dive on the floor, and make the extra effort each game are things that folks would be hard-pressed to fault him for if he stopped doing them. However, he still does them, and regardless of how he’s viewed, it’s amazing and inspiring to see.
He’s paid to make shots, big shots at clutch times throughout a game, and while that is lauded by basketball fans everywhere, the fact that he still does the little things mentioned earlier is what separates himself from every other legitimate MVP candidate.
The fact that he played hard every single game this season, when he, of all people, could have coasted, shows it even more. This season, this 2010-11 NBA season, is the season this writer will take Kobe Bryant as the NBA MVP over anyone else.
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