A great article from one of the all time greats, Jerry West on Kobe Bryant.
ESPN: There is at least one soul in the NBA universe who doesn’t care that Kobe Bryant couldn’t close in Game 3, or that he missed 20 shots and needed Derek Fisher to bail him out in Game 4, or that Kobe’s kids have been calling him Grumpy for days because he’s determined to stay so humorless about this championship stuff.
Fortunately for Bryant it’s the guy whose opinion he treasures most in this game.
Good luck trying to convince Jerry West that the sight of Bryant hunched over at the waist in a recent courtside interview was the first tangible sign of his decline at age 30.
Or that Kobe’s legacy has a Shaquille O’Neal-sized hole until he wins a title without Shaq.
Or that No. 24 should actually, you know, smile once in a while in these NBA Finals.
“Why the hell would you want to smile?” West bellowed into the phone Friday, still lathered after watching the other player he brought to the Lakers in that magical summer of 1996 — Fisher — inspire a coast-to-coast stream of “Fish That Saved L.A.” references with two big triples Thursday night that nudged West’s old team into a 3-1 series lead/stranglehold.
“I love Kobe’s passion,” West continued. “People think he’s not getting any joy out of this? This game is not about having fun. This is the ultimate competition. You can feel good about it afterward.
“I didn’t see Michael Jordan giggling and laughing all the time.”