An aging, wistful Kobe Bryant is the quotable gift that keeps on giving. We’ve already touched on several anecdotes from Chris Ballard’s Sports Illustrated cover story and Gotham Chopra’s documentary on the Los Angeles Lakers legend, but this one might the best yet.
In yet another must-read post on Bryant from Ballard, the writer provides us Kobe stories that didn’t make the final cut of his piece in SI. Naturally, it’s courtesy of Chopra, director of upcoming Showtime documentary “Kobe Bryant’s Muse.”
Gotham Chopra, the director of “Kobe Bryant’s Muse”, an upcoming documentary on Bryant, told a story about being with Kobe and watching the Nets and the Heat play. Recounts Chopra, “Deron Williams went like 0-for-9. I was like, ‘Can you believe Deron Williams went 0-9?’ Kobe was like, ‘I would go 0-30 before I would go 0-9. 0-9 means you beat yourself, you psyched yourself out of the game, because Deron Williams can get more shots in the game. The only reason is because you’ve just now lost confidence in yourself.’
Classic, classic Kobe.
We get what’s he’s saying: Your confidence can’t be shaken no matter what. The greatest scorers of all-time have a short memory and believe their next shot is going in even if the previous 10 have missed the mark. Bryant has felt that way his entire career, so much so that it’s become the rallying cry of his detractors. So this story isn’t at all surprising, but just confirms what we already knew about Bryant.
But is it the right mentality? We don’t have a fraction of Kobe’s basketball understanding or playing ability, but have always believed that making more shots than you miss is critical to team success. If Bryant or another superstar continues shooting on a night when he clearly doesn’t have it and does so to placate his sometimes debilitating inner-drive, that’s clearly to the detriment of his team. It’s not like Kobe has played with replacement-level teammates over the years, either. Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher and the like are more than capable of picking up his slack, and Bryant is more than gifted enough as a passer to find them easy looks.
But this is the thinking of the old-guard – that superstars are superstars because they shoot through slumps as opposed to making the right for their team in the moment. Michael Jordan felt that way and LeBron James doesn’t, a fact often used as a tipping point in discussions supporting or dismissing the latter.
We think one way is right and one way is wrong, and Bryant disagrees with us as to which stance is which. That’s fine, and his attitude on the matter has helped him reach heights reserved for a handful of basketball greats. But one wonders if he’d have enjoyed even more success if he’d made a concerted effort to get his teammates involved after missing his first nine shots as opposed to missing 21 more.
Would you rather go 0-9 or 0-30?
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