It is time for Kobe Bean Bryant to get his Kyra Sedgwick on. It’s time to be The Closer.
He’s been here before. He has experienced triumph, like eliminating the Sacramento Kings in overtime of game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. He has also failed, blowing a 3-1 lead against the Phoenix Suns in 2006.
But for Kobe to remain a relevant top tier superstar, he must continue to close out cases.
He must keep making hit records or soon he will become the NBA’s version of hip-hop’s Big Daddy Kane; well respected and revered in the game, but far removed from making hit records again.
The new youth movement ushered in by Kobe has caught up with him. It is nothing now for rookies to come in and score 30 to 40 points on any given night.
Kevin Durant, who admitted to being scared to even speak to Bryant as a rookie because he was such a fan, in his second season, put up 25 point’s per game.
Younger players like Danny Granger and Brandon Roy have become All-Stars, and in the waiting are O.J. Mayo and Derrick Rose.
So as Soulja Boy’s Tellem continues to soar in popularity, Jay-Z has to make another platinum record. His latest album was liked by his core audience, but it was not a worldwide hit like his others. This is where Kobe Bryant finds himself.
Should Kobe’s fans be satisfied with his current discography? He already has 3 rings, an MVP, numerous appearances on the All-NBA and Defensive teams, and is on pace to become the leading scorer in Lakers history and in the top 10 all time.
Would his fans be fine if he were to never win another MVP award or championship ring?
I’m sure the answer is no, and Kobe himself probably would not be satisfied. But it is up to him to make sure that doesn’t happen.
As each year goes by without winning, each old accomplishment starts to become less and less relevant. And with every 15 point game like in Game 4 of the Rockets series, he makes himself look more human. With every 5-24 performance as in Game 3 of the Jazz series, the question of who Kobe is and not who he WAS starts to come into play.
We don’t want Kobe to become our Al Bundy, and go on and on about how he scored 4 touchdowns in one game.
Yes, we know he’s scored 81 points; he’s put up 60’s and 70’s too. He’s hit sick game winners on Ruben Patterson, and flew back from court to drop 30’s on these same Houston Rockets in the playoffs.
But will that be all? Will we ever hear another Reasonable Doubt, Blueprint, or Its A Big Daddy Thing?
We will find out if Kobe still has that Brenda Leigh Johnson in him.