NBA / Dec 5, 2008 / 5:03 pm

Is Kobe really that competitive?

Kobe BryantKobe Bryant (photo. Chris Sembrot)

Maybe it’s because I just wrote yet another defense of Vince Carter, or because my T-Mac defensive walls are up given all the “Your boy is hurt AGAIN!?!” e-mails I’ve been getting, but there’s a question I’ve had on my mind for a while regarding one Kobe Bryant that I finally felt needed to be posed to the readers.

Kobe fans and Kobe critics both constantly refer to Mamba’s killer instinct, his cold-blooded assassin’s mindset, his undying will to win. As I wrote in Dime #43 for the Olympic Players To Watch feature:

In the case of Kobe Bryant, each time he loses, we expect him to respond viciously by — hotly or coldly, but always systematically — destroying the competition his next time out. How often have you heard it following a Lakers loss? Kobe’s pissed. He’s gonna drop 50 tomorrow. Whether it always comes true is irrelevant (four of KB’s seven 40- or 50-point games this past season came after a loss); for it is the threat of terrorism that endures longer than the actual act.

But then I look at events like Game Seven of L.A.’s 2006 playoff series against the Suns, when Kobe only shot the ball three times in the second half of a 31-point loss and was noticeably passive on the court. I look at Game Two of the following year’s Lakers/Suns series, a 28-point loss where Kobe took 13 shots, more than half of them coming in the first quarter before pulling back for whatever reason. Then there was the decisive Game Six of last year’s Finals, or those occasional regular-season games during the Kobe/Shaq era where several observers accused Kobe of being passive on purpose in order to prove a point.

Kobe’s most blindly faithful followers never mention it — they’d sooner talk about Colorado than talk about some of Kobe’s worst games. And yet every time their guy is dragged into an argument involving someone like Vince or T-Mac, or even Michael Jordan, Kobe supporters inevitably throw around how he’s so much harder and so much more competitive than everyone else in the League, how he plays 100% ALL THE TIME and never, EVER lets up. I’m not saying Kobe is wrong for having his moments where he goes less than all-out. He’s human, just like Vince, just like T-Mac, and just like Jordan. I don’t think for one second that any pro athlete has always gone full-bore every single moment they were between the lines; it’s just not natural. The way Kobe is portrayed, however, you’d think he’s something closer to a comic-book hero than a man.

So my question is this: Haven’t we seen evidence that Kobe isn’t as competitive as we’ve been led to believe? Haven’t we seen him mail it in before, if not outright give up, not to mention on the postseason stage? (And not in an understandable, “There’s four seconds left and we’re down by 12,” kind of way, either.) Doesn’t this all conflict with the widely-accepted perception of Kobe as the game’s ultimate, unyielding competitor?

Set me straight if you can…

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • dagwaller

    I’m with you. Reality isn’t perception.

  • Kevin

    You’re nitpicking. I hate Kobe, but he and Garnett have a killer instinct you often don’t see in guys with their talent.

  • vinny

    Thank you Austin for saying it!! Dont forget the sacramento game when he took what-1 shot? how about the 04 finals?

  • junior

    i think, if you misinterpreted his action, he is always competitive, but i remember him, telling the media, after losses how he jacked shots, so he tried to let him team do the work. obviously there have been times when he needs to step up and carry his team but the media cant have it both ways.

    you cant call him a ball hog, which was what people called him in 2006, and then say that he doesnt defer to his team mates enough.

    but to answer your question he is that competitive, he just has to step his game and not rely on his team mates in clutch situations.

  • King Koopa

    He got more passive as his teammates got better each year. He doesn’t seem to have the need to be competitive right now, lakers are rolling good. but as the season goes we’ll see.

    (btw, would you rather have shaq or david robinson, both in their prime, on your team? Whos better?)

  • rudderband man

    Kobe is all about Kobe. He’s not competitive, he just has an ego the size of Jupiter. He’ll play hard if it will feed his ego. Not because he’s competitive. He wants to be considered the best in the game first (which he’s not) and win second. I wouldn’t even say he’s one of the 10 most competitive guys in the NBA. He spends too much time pouting to be considered a real warrior in the league.

  • Tbeezy

    Please Kobe is a straight killer. Against the suns in the 1st round 3 years ago. Portland to win the Pacific division title about 5 years ago. Game 2 in the finals against Detroit. In the Suns game where he didn’t shoot in the second half the team had a great series when they were playing as a team, Kobe and Phil both thought it was best if during the second half they tried to get the entire team involved because it helped them respond better on D. Granted no player goes 100% every second, but Kobe goes harder and has a killer instinct comparable to anyone in history (even Lebron admits he doesn’t have kobe’s killer instinct). The games you mention above are 30 point blow out losses. You could probably ask any player in the league and they would tell you Kobe works as hard as anyone. I think you are over exaggerating this comic book persona (100% every time he is awake) perception just to knock the guy. Kobe fans know he is human, but it is widely accepted that he has the killer instinct that has been rarely surpassed in any league. Too compare him to T-Mac or VC is not even worthy of debate.

  • Tbeezy

    @ rubberband man:

    1st you would be better off saying he has an ego the size of Jordan (not Jupiter and isn’t Jupiter one of the smallest planets)

    2nd This “He wants to be considered the best in the game first (which he’s not) and win second.” is retarded. He knows the only way to be the best is to win more titles than MJ, so your logic is backwards.

    And yes, i am a loyal Kobe supporter so go ahead and tell me that.


    please don’t say you are comparing kobe to historically soft vince and tracy?

  • rudderband man


    Ok, first Jupiter is the largest planet but being “a loyal Kobe supporter” I wouldn’t expect you to be smart enough to know that so it’s ok.

    Second, I’m not even counting championships. Everyone knows that he’s never going to be better than MJ so I wouldn’t waste my time debating that. I’m saying that he’s not even the best in the game right now. LeBron has taken that title from him and won’t be giving it back any time soon.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @CLUTCH — “Comparing” in that he’s human just like them, yes. And if we’re talking pure talent, T-Mac and Vince aren’t far off Kobe. But that’s not really the point.

  • Tbeezy

    Yea, i really don’t spend much time worrying about planet size. Lebron? really? let me know when he hits a clutch free throw.

  • Big Sia

    Can of Worms. opened

  • http://GEE2.com GEE…Soggys all day!

    Dang this is a good one right here AB. You should have save this for Monday after right after Smack when the readers first wake up. Prolly 200 comments easy.

    Imma say Kobe is the ultimate predator until he is the prey.

    I feel when you put Kobe in situations where he has a Shaq, or an excellent squad to run with or where he knows he is going against a lack luster opponent he is in predator mode.

    Even going against great opposition he is in predator mode …UNTIL…

    his chips are down and things are not in his favor. When he is the one being attacked and the attacker is winning he seems not to know how to respond appropriately if he has no chance.

    Look at a more aggressive sport. Much like Mike and Roy Jones who were both at one time almost untouchable. When they started losing or were put in situations where they were attacked it was no resolve in them to win and they fell easy.

    So is he that competitive (that word looks wrong when I type it)? Yes. He even was so competitive he lied to his wife and the world with Colorado situation. His will just goes to a point that is greater than most.

    The man doesn’t know losing that often, so it’s in him to always hunt. But when losing rears it’s head he is in a new dimension that causes him trouble.

    Many of the greats are like Kobe, hince he is a great.

  • Ric Hardwood

    i think he is VERY competitive… but, he tends to play for himself. In the press conference after losing a HUGE lead to the Celtics on Game 4 of the Finals he said, “…They just didn’t want ME to beat them.”

    And the fact that he is willing to turn off his competitiveness for what seems like a protest to Phil Jackson trying to change his game… He’s definitely got my respect for being the most feared player in the league, but he’s still not a team player in my opinion.

  • Tbeezy

    Actually, Rubberband man, the largest planet is: HAT-P-1, but being a douchebag i wouldn’t expect you to know that.

    The planet, dubbed HAT-P-1, is located some 450 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lacerta.

    It is the largest planet ever discovered and boasts a radius nearly 1.4 times larger than Jupiter’s.

  • MadSammyboy

    Kobe’s will to win may be undying, but it seemed like it was in a coma for a couple of weeks back in June.

    Ha, ha… I love reminding people that he hasn’t won a championship in over six years. It makes my soul smile. Or something.

  • MadSammyboy

    Kobe’s will to win may be undying, but it seemed like it was in a coma for a couple of weeks back in June.

    Ha, ha… I love reminding people that he hasn’t won a championship in over six years. It makes my soul smile. Or something.

  • Tbeezy


    your point about t-mac and vc being close in the talent department i think only shows that Kobe has somehting else going for him that takes him to another level.

  • MadSammyboy

    GEE – great post. I think the reason Kobe seems to work that way is that he has this strange sense of entitlement – like he’s destined to be the best or something… and when he’s losing, somewhere in his subconscious, there’s dissonance between what he subconsciously thinks SHOULD be happening,and what IS happening.

  • MadSammyboy

    GEE – great post. I think the reason Kobe seems to work that way is that he has this strange sense of entitlement – like he’s destined to be the best or something… and when he’s losing, somewhere in his subconscious, there’s dissonance between what he subconsciously thinks SHOULD be happening,and what IS happening.

  • MadSammyboy

    I don’t know why this keeps posting twice. Sorry about that.

  • MadSammyboy

    I don’t know why this keeps posting twice. Sorry about that.

  • KB24

    @ rudderband man

    Seriously…LeBron over Kobe? You must not know basketball buddy…

  • vinny

    see thats why i like this blog- man i now know what the biggest planet is-how many bball blogs can you learn that shit on!


    Agree. Kobe is who he is. He will not change to please the demands of the fans or the game.

  • rudderband man


    Congratulations on knowing how to use Google. I’m sure that was a big step for you.

    Career Stats:
    27.3 pts, 6.9 rebs, 6.6 asts, 1.8 stls, 0.8 blks

    25.0 pts, 5.3 rebs, 4.6 asts, 1.5 stls, 0.5 blks

    I’ll take Lebron ANY DAY!

    p.s. Lebron’s stats will only get better while Kobe’s are only going to get worse from here.

    Google that…

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @Tbeezy — I’m not saying Kobe isn’t more competitive than McGrady or Vince (although I do think those two don’t get enough credit for being competitive), but is Kobe as insanely competitive as everyone portrays him to be?
    During the hypothetical 1-on-1 tournament we did on the site a while back, I can’t tell you the numbers of posters who kept saying things like, “Kobe won’t let himself lose.”

  • rudderband man


    With a name like “KB24″ your opinion doesn’t matter because you’re obviously too busy giving Kobe the business to add any value to this conversation.

  • Gerard

    Alright these astrologists need to calm down. T-Mac had more talent in him, he never realized it. Why? Because Kobe has more drive, more ambition. That’s the difference between Kobe and a lot of other guys; motivation.

  • http://www.nba.com Jay

    I think Kobe is definitely competitive. But his ego trumps his competitiveness. The games in which he purposely doesn’t shoot to quiet down the “ballhog” accusations is proof of that. Has MJ ever done that? Also, the games that the Lakers get blown out throughout the game, Kobe remains passive so the loss can’t be put on his shoulders. Another example of him not wanting his ego to take a hit at the expense of his team is his unwillingness to play hard D every game. He doesn’t want guys to hang 35 on his head when he is visibly TRYING to shut someone down. It’s easier to blame a lack of effort than a lack of ability. He took the role of “shut down” player in international play because the Wades, LeBrons, Pauls, etc. are already on his team.

    But the fact remains, nobody can be THAT good overall and THAT good in crunch time unless you have that competitive, killer instinct in you. But Kobe’s ego and insecurities can still keep that competitiveness in check from time to time.

  • Gerard

    And yeah I was just playing, I know the difference between astronomy and astrology…

  • http://www.nba.com Jay

    Oh and to answer the question, no he isn’t as competitive as people try to make him out to be. People get ego confused with competitiveness because the two sometimes coincide. His competitiveness and even himself as a player is overrated. He’s the best in the game right now (LeBron really isn’t too far off), but he’s still leaps and bounds behind MJ.

  • Tbeezy

    Rubberband Man,
    my astronomy skills are straight off the top off my head. i got astronomy skills like Napoleon has nunchuck skills. And if you want to do a stat comparison then i guess you also consider Wilt to be the GOAT. right?

    Oh yea, Lebron 0 rings, Kobe 3… and counting.

  • http://GEE2.com GEE…Soggys all day!

    MadSammyboy preshate it and preshate it again. LOL

    It’s not just him (Kobe), as the example I gave with boxing but in other areas with other people as well.

    To put it on a more common level. If anyone has ever been great at something that you rarely lose in we often take on a persona that is much different than who we are in other situations that are outside of what we are great at.

    I have seen it in sports, video games, jobs (that are competitive) and other arenas with men, women and children. You have someone who is great and so use to winning they feel as though they will dominate any one, any day at any time and is willing to beat a child, an elderly person and even an alien to prove their dominance in what they are excellent at.

    UNTIL… that one person comes along. I am not talking about a lucky win. I am talking about that one person comes along who can just beat that great person no matter what, and that person who was so dominant and the alpha all of the sudden reacts in ways that range from, crying, rage, nonchalant and other emotions.

    And again they are still highly competitive as long as they are in, and know that they will be in situations they can and usually do dominate.

    Kobe most def. is that competitive.

  • AY

    When you take kobe and people of similar talent, he’s the ultimate competitor; but that’s just it, he’s the most competitive guy with his talent level, not the ultimate competitor. Charles Barkley is one; doesn’t matter who he’s playing against, little guy or big as shaq, if chuck needs to win he’s going to do everything he can to prevent you from winning, and sometimes he can’t control his emotions when he’s dialed in to win. Usually people with this type of overwhelming talent simply mellow out because they don’t need to win everytime to know that they’re better than you; which is why it is rare to have kobe’s abililties as well as his competitiveness. Vince, he doesn’t care about beating you every time, and these are kobe’s peers.

    And being the ultimate competitor has nothing to do with being the ultimate closer. The most competitive guy may not necessarily have the tools to be the ultimate closer, so you don’t see that “killer instinct” at the end of games.

    tbeezy, jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system.

  • MadSammyboy

    Tbeezy- “Oh yea, Lebron 0 rings, Kobe 3… and counting.”

    Oh, is Kobe still counting? Because he’s been stuck on three for a LONG time – over half a decade!

    Go on. GUARANTEE that THIS is the year he finally wins one. Those Laker-fan guarantees have been ringing empty for many a year.

    I wonder, is Kobe the most heralded ‘winner’ in NBA history to go seven years between championships?

  • rudderband man

    Ok, then if we’re counting rings then you’re saying that Bill Russell is the best ever followed closely by Robert Horry. Come on, what are you talking about here? We’re not comparing teams, but players. Kobe wasn’t even the best player on his team during those 3 championship runs. Lebron will finish his career with more rings than Kobe along with the all-time scoring title. The only people who say Kobe is better are people who don’t know anything about basketball, people who (for whatever reason) think Kobe has “earned” that title because they think he’s worked sooooo hard at it, and people who wish they could cuddle up to him every night. I’m guessing you fall into that third category.

  • Mikey

    Kobe is a stone cold killer on the court when he’s in his zone,nobody can even touch him,yea he was trying to prove a point back in 06 ehrn he didnt shoot against the suns but i havent seen him act like that in a while, he’s really in a sun trying to get a championship 4real,

  • Mikey

    Kobe is a stone cold killer on the court when he’s in his zone,nobody can even touch him,yea he was trying to prove a point back in 06 ehrn he didnt shoot against the suns but i havent seen him act like that in a while, he’s really in a sun trying to get a championship 4real,

  • MadSammyboy

    rubberband- Well-written and true.

    Hey, here’s a fun fact nobody will care about. The last time Kobe won a title, I was a freshman in college. Now, I’m finishing my internship and getting ready to graduate – from grad school.

    (In other words, Kobe the ultimate competitor hasn’t won a championship in a really, really long time. I never tire of writing that, even if you guys are tired of reading it.)

  • Tbeezy

    Really, I just heard Barkley say he is the best in the league on wednesday. Oh well, he doesn’t know anything about basketball he’s only in multiple hall of fames. And really have Lakers fans been saying for years that we were going to win the title. This is the first time in 4 years that we have went into a season with even a hope of winning a title.

    I gotta run now, thanks for the topic austin.

    I’m out like rubberband man knowing his planet sizes. (it’s all about HAT-P-1, actually it might be named after you Hate The Player 1 (as in #1 Kobe)

  • rudderband man

    whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa… Stop the presses! The comment board can end everybody! Barkley said Kobe is the best so it HAS to be true! Looks like we were all wasting our time debating it all along! Get outta here…

    “multiple hall of fames”??? Name a couple…

  • loganlight

    Preach on AB.

  • money

    kobe is definitely one of the fiercest competitors in the game, including ai and garnett.

    of course kobe is human, as are other two. they’ve all on occasion given it less than 100%.

    but if you’re going to talk about the most competitive in the game, you’re going to have to compare it relatively. and relative to all the other ballers, kobe is definitely one of the most competitive. who else gets as butt-hurt as kobe after a loss? there aren’t any other candidates besides kobe

  • max

    Kobe is human just like anyone else, his game can never be pefect. He competes as hard as he can. Basketball is a team sport, and if you’re team is getting abused the way the Lakers were against Boston you feel like giving up; not because Kobe wanted to give up but because nothing he tried to do was working. The defense was set up in order to surround and suffocate him anytime he got within about 18 feet. When Kobe would set up his teammates they were unable to score and the Celtics were flat out outplaying and out hustling the Lakers. Sure sometimes Kobe can outplay the entire opposing team but let’s be real defensively the celtics are no raptors or mavericks.

  • Luc

    Hey Guys
    All I have to say about KB, is that he may not score as much as Lebron, but he does not need to Lakers have a far superior team, as long as everyone stays healthy, while the Cavs need everything Lebron can give them and more, plus Kobe has been in the league for 12 years, while Lebron only for a third of that time, so do the math, and move on with your lives, after all it’s just a game.

  • Hoveys Home

    Kobe will not be denied on or off the court…

  • Promoman

    You’re not always going to go 100% everytime you play, but I’ll buy the popular opinion that Kobe lives up to his competitive mystique. Fatigue, loss of focus, etc. sets in and you’ll drop games here and there. I’m not quick to say that Kobe’s a ballhog, especially when you look at his past & present teammates and how people can/do get jealous and sabotage-minded when you’re willing to make yourself better at anything. Shaq’s had a career-long rep for blowing off the offseason, a monster ego, and for playing lockerroom politics to cover up the fact that he doesn’t go as hard as he can. Derek Fisher is and has been one of the biggest jackers in the league, and he gets a pass. You can always find someone who wants to win and who’ll get disappointed when things don’t go as planned, but you’ll have to look harder for someone who’s willing to do the work needed to succeed consistently.

  • Ian

    agree 100% with u

    really someone is crazy to call lebron better than kobe??
    u brought up the rings when someone mentioned stats but remember kobe was robin when he won
    i would rather say lebron took a bunch of scrubs to the finals and kobe has been outta the first round being the man ONCE. kobe is competitive when he know he can win is just like garnett why is he competitive cuz he yells alot pleasee.

    so much for being competitive gettin out the first round once lets just say kobe was tmac before last season only he was lucky enough to play with shaq

  • Drink the Haterade (KB24 Chip 09)

    @ AB–And if we’re talking pure talent, T-Mac and Vince aren’t far off Kobe.

    Are you mother truckin insane or what?! Media has always tried to compare T-Mac to KB24, both SG’s straight out of HS same size, close on the offensive end, but KB24 has like 7 all defensive teams, T-Mac couldn’t guard me! 81 points, 62 points in 3, oh and KB24 has led his team out of the first round. T-Mac can’t lead a team out of the first round.

  • Drink the Haterade (KB24 Chip 09)

    BTW– Everyone can look at the stats, but really it’s all about performance, so check out the 2008 Olympics, notice that everyone on that team differed to KB24 in the last 8 min of play when everything was on the line.

  • Drink the Haterade (KB24 Chip 09)

    sorry deferred.

  • MadSammyboy

    Hoveys Home- “Kobe will not be denied on or off the court…”

    Except in 2003.

    And 2004.

    And then again in 2005.

    And once more in 2006 – oh, and 2007, too.

    Yeah, and 2008, also.

    2009? Well, based on his track record… I wouldn’t go making any guarantees.

  • George W Kush Sr

    There’s no denying Kobe has a killer instinct. The point is that its portrayal has been exagerated. Dude’s been caught too many times not giving it his all, eg: vs Suns, vs Pistons ’04, etc, etc.

  • jfreemac

    Why. Oh. Why. Has there EVER been an athlete dissected more, for WHATEVER THE OPINION MAY BE, GOOD OR BAD, than Kobe? He’s my guy AND he pisses me off. He’s definitely human because of all the baggage he’s had to carry. But why does everybody have go so extreme when it comes to Kobe?

  • LakeShow84



    So all you writers who want to look from outside in dont really know whats going.. Ask Lebron who the best player is in the NBA.. Ask NBA coaches who they tell their players not piss off.. ASK ANYONE ABOUT THE WORK ETHIC..

    Im a lkaer supporter so and i my feelings are mixed on Kobe but if you are going to write an article and be matter-of-factly write about Kobe being a selfish, spoiled a$$ superstar.. Dont say the man isnt one of the most competitive people in the league.. Shit he can be a ballhog BECAUSE he is so competetive.. If we play a team who considered top tier he comes out swinging.. If we play a player who is top tier he comes out swinging..

    So consider the word of his coworkers before you write this kinda crap.. or maybe that was the point of this, to get a rise from Kobe fans.. But im a laker fan first and foremost and i dont allow foos to bash my boy on BS…

  • http://nba.com ninja cool

    I remember reading it on Dime (or another sports site) that after losing Game 6 he goes tells Gasol to “kiss his gold medal, goodbye” because he wasn’t going 0 for 2. Mamba should change his name to Assassin. He’s THAT cold-blooded.

  • Big Sia

    Kobe is one of the GOAT scorers, regular season of course.
    In terms of rings / finals appearances VC and Mac can’t compete yet.

    But A.B is a Gangster for sticking up for Vince Carter

  • Hoveys Home

    Hahahahahaha @ MadSammyBoy-

    You really got alot of hate in your heart for Kobe, I was makin’ a joke referring to his rape case and you start bringin’ in stats like you’re on Around the Horn or something..

  • wiseman

    dont try to tell me kobes not competitive

  • jeremy

    jordan’s human?

  • doc

    Kobe got a killer instinct that a hitman would want, and he bitches up and fold sometimes when he know the other team is better.But give me Bron over Kobe all day.When Bron said Kobe better that was called being politically correct.Nobody who is really the best actually says it.Only the ones who wanna be that good and are trying to convince the people themselves,like Paul Pierce.U will never hear Kobe or Bron say they the beat cause us and a couple million others say so every day.U never heard Mike say he was the best,Magic hyped Larry and vice versa.But u know dam well Bron and his homies or his team dont say Kobe is better in private.People always bring up Bron saying that like that ends the debate,but they forget on the court last year Bron ripped his heart out in the clutch twice while giving those conpliments.

  • kobeef

    This is awesome. 54 comments on a friday night post.
    THe difference between Kobe and MJ is that MJ is team competitive and Kobe is ego competitive.

    I think kobe would throw his team under the bus to furter his own reputation. MJ would throw his team under the bus for the win….it’s all about being in the shadow of the GOAT for Kobe

  • hadoken

    people who engage in internet comment wars must have massive cocks…

    anyways, dwade is the best. he pretty much single-handedly won a title with the ultimate jack artist antoine “give ‘em the shimmy” walker on our team.

  • Tron Carter

    Hey Rubberband Man since your so smart answer me this:

    “What’s the square root of this apartment?”

  • Tbeezy


    Ask your girl, she’s still walking funny.

  • Tbeezy

    FYI, I think Lebron will go down as the greatest player ever.

    And i think i’m talking to myself at this point.

  • hadoken

    whatever you say jupiter…

  • the_don_mega

    its the suspension of disbelief…

  • http://www.kikaayacollegeschool.net smity far away

    Unrelated- but i just laughed out load. watching the houston/warriors game and turiaf just fouled out the game in 23 minutes!. lol.

  • rlf

    i guess..but then again, all you guys wish you had the sucess these nba players have. there’s a reason you cover sports. you can never be what they are.

    so have at it.

  • rlf

    it was CANNOT, opps!

  • MadSammyboy

    Hoveys Home- That’s freaking funny, man. I totally missed the joke until I reread it just now. Good stuff.

  • http://www.geocities.com/dimemag Dagomar

    The one guy in the NBA who plays hard ALL the time: KG.

  • baraks

    I’m a huge kobe fan, but sometimes he does act like a biggidy-bitch. He’e never gonna win a chip without Shaq if he keeps this shit up. It pisses me off how he can go off on one game then just turn it off the next. He doesn’t have the killer instinct, but he does have a selective killer instinct.

    He better shape up and get this championship, the Lakers are playing too well even if he’s playing like trash (ball-hogging and taking too many bad shots) that they can trade him for another all-star guard and still win the whole thing.

    Yes, I said it. If the Lakers get another quality shooting guard for Kobe, one with solid scoring and clutch factor, the team is strong enough to win it without him. Kobe sometimes shot the Lakers out of games by taking too many shots outside the offense.

  • Duke

    KG is overrated.

  • Ian

    fuck yeah

  • Jeremy J

    I was so sad after that Suns game. That was after Raja Bell had given him the Lex Luger clothesline, so everyone and their mom, dad, uncle, cousins, sisters, brothers, and nephews thought Kobe would put up all kinds of crooked numbers in the payoff game. Then they came out flat, Kobe was passive, and they got smoked. That whole series he had been trying to keep the whole team involved and that was the situation that people thought he was going to take it upon himself to dominate. He didn’t. To me that was the first sign Kobe was human; and what I mean by that is he wasn’t Jordan. That doesn’t mean he’s still not the best in the game today though. I still want him to have the ball in the fourth quarter, just not as much as I’d want Jordan in his prime to have it.

  • LMR

    baraks wtf are you talking about it!? you must be pretty retarded to say he’s playing like trash. Dude only plays like 3 quarters and he still gets his numbers.

  • http://www.shanehaven.com Shane

    Kobe does have that killer instinct. Sure he tanked games in the past to prove a point, but he can turn it on when he wants to. He can nearly win a game by himself. what about that game against Dallas where he had 62 points and Dallas had 61 after 3 quarters? Or the game against Toronto where he dropped 81? When he wants to flip the switch he can. If the game means something to him, he can simply dominate. Now he can be more passive with one of the best teams he has ever had. He has depth on his team and there are games where he barley has to play because they can roll so well.

  • Duke

    Next article should be: Is Kevin Garnett REALLY that great?

  • Three Stacks

    Man, I wish I’d gotten to this conversation sooner. As someone who’s watched Kobe play at least 60 games a year for his entire career, I have a pretty strong opinion about this. But a lot of the points were probably already made by the commenters, so I’ll just say this:

    I think Kobe is the one player in the NBA where you can tell so much about his game from his personality. Everyone knows he’s a confident (or egotistical, depends on who you ask) player who likes to feed his own ego. But you can also tell from his ego that it sometimes seems like he holds himself above reproach, or that he convinces himself that losses aren’t his fault very easily.

    I’m not sure if that’s arrogance, or if he thinks there’s no use dwelling on the past, so he just dusts himself off to try again. But it’s very evident to me there’s an apathetic side to Kobe. He hasn’t really shown emotion about wins or losses since the Spurs series in 2003, and I’ve never heard him say “I need/needed to play better” ever in his entire career.

    So yeah, I think he’s competitive, simply because “competitive” means hates to lose. Kobe HATES to lose. But if he convinces himself at any point during a game or series that “My team/coaches suck” and he can feel like losing isn’t his fault, his sole failure, but rather a failure as a TEAM and as an ORGANIZATION, I’ve gotta agree that he doesn’t play with the same fervor or desperation.

    This is just how Kobe is, and it’s never upset me until last June. Kobe disappeared in the Finals. I wouldn’t even be mad if it was close, but giving up a 25 point lead at home is…he just can’t let that happen, I don’t care if the whole team fucked up, Kobe just can’t let that happen.

    Other times, it’s been a bit more understandable, like when he argued with Phil during game 7 vs Phoenix, or 2004 vs Detroit with the whole Shaq/Kobe feud and a defender Kobe wasn’t use to (Tayshaun) locking him down for 3 outta 5 games. But there were no distractions last year, no excuses.

    But we all still love Kobe in LA. Teams without superstars don’t understand how enjoyable it is to watch a player of Kobe’s caliber night in, night out. Say what you will about him, but it’s hard not to like him when you see what kind of player he is and what he brings to a team.

    That’s all. Sorry for the essay.

  • 94by50

    @ Shane

    “When he wants to flip the switch he can. If the game means something to him, he can simply dominate.”

    It’s not that easy. There are five guys out there trying to stop him… I remember reading something that the late Kirby Puckett said about turning it on: “If I could do that so easily, I’d hit .500! I’d be the best hitter of all time!”

    @ kobeef

    “This is awesome. 54 comments on a friday night post.”

    It’s an internet law – any post regarding Kobe Bryant or LeBron James will gather at least 100 comments within 24 hours, 90% of which will be of the “KOBE SUCKS/LEBRON SUCKS/KOBE RULZ ALL DAY” variety.

    @ Big Sia

    “But A.B is a Gangster for sticking up for Vince Carter”

    Yes. I’ll stick up for Carter, too. When he’s not dinged, he’s a lot scarier than people give him credit for. That is, as long as he’s going to the rim and giving people hell, not sitting outside the arc chucking up mortar rounds like Antoine Walker.

    As for McGrady’s place in this discussion, nobody mentioned his f****d-up back getting in his way. I want the T-Mac we saw in 2003 (when he should have been the MVP).

  • LakeShow84

    @ Doc

    Yeah you right because Lebron “ripped Kobe’s heart out a couple games last year”, Lebron got to be better than Kobe right?? U buggin and you know what, i BET those foos say Kobe is the best player when they talk in private.. Have you ever watched Lebron answer tha question?? He says it quick fast cuz he knows it.. And plus he keeps it real in his locker room interview..

    And to everyone who acts like Lebron has passed Kobe i look at this past years gold medal game.. Lebron disappeared and Kobe and Dwade won that gold.. F#$k foul trouble, i was disappointed Lebron didnt leave his stamp on the game.. biggest stage and best way to show everyone what u got and he disappeared in crunch time.. And if Kobe wasnt in the olympics i will say Spain mightve beat us.. and its a good mightve..

    U supposed to be a Cali Bball Boy and you believin the hype too?? You just had ur stripes revoked for all of December..



    Pure talent and harold minor isn’t off Vince, half the game is mental. And if we want to go the their human approach. Ok then lets compare Kobe to some highschool football players just for kicks while we are at it :)

    Don’t you think if all the coaches and all the players in the league says Kobe is highly competetive and probably the most competetive in the league its most likely true?

    Then what about his work out routine so he is ready for every game, that could be why he rarely misses a game, while Vince and T-mac both have histories of being injured. Or perhaps Kobe just plays though being injured, kind of like how he needs surgery on that finger but is still playing.

    cNow given Kobe hasn’t played hard in a couple of the games you mentioned and some of this might be placed on earlier immaturity. But think of it like this the last two Laker games kobe ended them himself. USA vs Spain who went ona man made 14 nothing run?

  • J

    Bron is going to end up getting better career stats then Kobe just simply because Lebron entered the league as the go-to guy for his team like A.I. Sorrounded by mediocre players that require him to take the majority of the shots and passes. Kobe spent the first 2-3 years coming from the bench

  • Ian

    ill answer that one for u
    good numbers on a bad team
    superstars dont miss the playoffs in a league that has more than half the team in the playoffs
    gtfoh kg u overrated mfker

  • douchebag

    kobe is about as competitive as kg and ray lewis. a bunch of douchebags tryin to look all hard on tv so commentators and dumb fans will be like “man, these guys are so competitive and intense…they get in other people’s face includin teammmates talkin shit like they god…no wonder the team is so good!” not to say that they’re not superstars but it’s all an act to me. someone tell me kobe’s not the fakest nig on earth. kg too. both just some douchebags.

  • Celts Fan

    I hate Kobe, we all know this, and he has given up/been passive before, but like you said, no one’s gone full on all the time.

    @dbag, all 3 of the guys you call out are about as competitive as it gets man, but like AB said, no one can go 100% all the time. I’ll go to war with any of the 3 guys you just mentioned and know I’ll come out on top much more than I won’t…

  • weng santos

    @ Tbeezy.

    HAT-P1 is in another solar system. We live in the Milky Way, so the other dude is right for saying that Jupiter is largest, because it IS in our solar system.

    Plus, the fact that it’s code-named means it is still debated and is not yet an accepted truth. HAT-P1 is made almost entirely of gas, so the debate rages on whether it should be a called a true planet (as we know thwm) or if it’s a completely different calss of heavenly bodies.

    You should’ve just guven up and manned up to you mistake when it was pointed out instead of using Google as your defense.

    Sorry, had to speak up on that.

    And oh yeah, to stay on topic, Kobe is good, but he has 2 things: an insatiable ego, and a switch- which he turns off when to prove a point, even at the expense of losing. So no, not as competitive as Nike markets him to be.

  • Mike C

    My opinion is that he used to have that unsurpassed competitiveness but it’s dwindled a bit now. Years and years of hearing criticisms about shooting too much will do that to you I guess. One performance that everyone deifies MJ for is his 63 against Boston in 86′. Lot of people forget that the Bulls lost that game. What if Kobe came out and dropped 60 on Boston in that game 6 last year but lost the game? He would have been murdered by the media all summer long. How can anyone maintain that killer instinct to go all out each and every night when you get criticized no matter what you do?

  • doc

    @lakeshow-I aint basing it off them games,Im just saying at the same time Bron gave Kob props off the court he busted his ass on the court.Revoke mine forever cause Im a Illadelph kid to the core.Fuck LA.

  • Mr. A

    we need an entire thread dedicated to Tbeezy’s ignorance.

    I mean, really, dude? that’s on some unforgivable shit, right there.

    I’ll just assume I can blame blame the fact that nobody can get loans these days on people like you…

  • fireaustin

    Another dumb article by a dumb writer.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    I’m sorry you feel that way, Rick Fox.

  • the black mexican

    Austin, will you does us all a favor and NEVER, EVER, mention TMAC & Kobe in the same paragraph again, unless it is a paragraph entitled “1000 Reasons TMAC Will Never Be As Good As Kobe.” Otherwise, it’s just embarassing.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    Here’s the thing, though: When healthy, T-Mac is very close to Kobe. I’m not saying he’s just as good, but it’s not like Kobe is light years better.

  • Mike

    Lots of hate for Kobe, that means he has to be the best player on the planet right now. No one is even close, actually, so keep hating.

    I agree with some of the comments. You all want it both ways. If he takes over, he’s a ball hog. If he passes, he’s not doing enough. Do you guys even watch basketball? Until the arrival of Gasol, what did Kobe have around him? Odom can be awesome, and present problems in matchups for every team, but you never know what you are getting from him game in game out. Gasol kind of did the same thing in the finals last year, flashes of himself, then tentative nothing. For two or three years, Kobe would pass to teamates and they would either miss consistently, or worse, miss consistently, then dump the ball back to Kobe hoping he’d dig them out of the hole they made.

    Why not just enjoy watching greatness? You guys won’t ever be happy anyway.