Monday, June 16, 2008

I Have a Man Crush on Kobe Bryant

Like any good statistician, I looked for the numbers that would prove Kobe Bryant is better than LeBron James and I would disregard the rest. It turns out Bron Bron is a statistical freak. He was even better on efficiency ratings like assists to turnovers and points per shot attempted.

I try to like LeBron James. After all, he and I share the same birthday. It’s not his incessant whining or the way he plays the victim role when he’s fouled that makes me dislike him. He is 250 pounds and built like a truck, and I don’t think he needs to check for blood every time he hits the floor.

The reason I can’t embrace LeBron is not his fault. It’s that some people legitimately feel he’s better at basketball than Kobe. Every knowledgeable analyst calls Kobe the best basketball player on the planet. Hubie Brown said he’ll end up one of the five best guards ever. Phil Jackson said he’s one of the two best guards he’s ever seen. We all know who the other one is.

I could make an argument that Kobe is a more polished offensive player than Michael Jordan, that he’s an artist with the ball and can create whatever shot he wants. I could refer to his higher three-point and free-throw percentages to show that he’s a better shooter than Jordan. Of course I won’t say that. That would be un-American. I’d be deported to Canada.

Three-point shooting and free-throw shooting are also the two stats I’d use to show that Kobe is better than LeBron will ever be. This past season Kobe’s three-point percentage was 5 points higher and his free-throw percentage was 13 points higher. LeBron’s field-goal percentage was slightly higher because of the kind of shots he takes, not because he’s a better shooter.

LeBron’s only offensive weapon, with the exception of some streaky shooting nights, is to get in the lane for a layup or dunk. I expect over time opposing defenses will adapt to his style and force him to shoot more jumpers. LeBron’s jump shot can improve, but it still won’t be close to as good as Kobe’s.

Just as a reminder, Kobe once scored 81 points in a single game, the second most in NBA history. In 2003 he scored 40+ points in 9 consecutive games. In 2006 he scored 45+ points in 4 consecutive games, and a year later Kobe scored 50+ in 4 consecutive games.

Eight years ago I made the claim that Kobe is the next Mike, in the sense that he’ll be as close to Jordan as anyone can be. I may have been correct. Or, maybe I’ve just had a man crush on Kobe Bryant for eight years.

Postscript #1: I also have a man crush on Will Smith.

And Leonardo DiCaprio.
And Ken Griffey, Jr.
And Brad Pitt.
And Tom Brady.
And Josh Holloway.
And Adrian Grenier.
And of course William Hung.
Postscript #2: I’m not gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that).


karla said...

That's so mean. Just when I was swooning dreamily from the images of Josh Holloway and Adrian Grenier, you smacked me across the face with that pic of William Hung. Ouch.

Michelle said...

Haha, your funny dude! I have a crush on all the same people as you!!!

Anonymous said...

shaq from where the heck you landed here and who allowed you to?