Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Quotable:"I don't know anybody who's ever deserved this trophy more. I don't know anybody who's ever worked as hard to accomplish what he's accomplished." Phil Jackson, Lakers coach

Hate it or love it, in a unanimous decision on Tuesday night, Kobe Bryant officially popped his cherry as league MVP (Most Valuable Player) in a high energy ceremony at the Staples Center that ended in a promise that the Lakers will “play until June.” The first time MVP winner was anything but selfish with the recognition of his achievement when he paused for the cause long enough to acknowledge the contributions of his teammates.

"This is not an individual award," Bryant replied. "The special thing about this award is we have done it together."

It wasn’t too long ago when trade rumors swirled around the Lakers’ franchise and Kobe’s whines for a trade resulted in boos echoing from the Staples Center as soon as the First All-NBA Team Champion stepped foot on the court opening night. With the injury of promising Lakers center, Andrew Bynum and inconsistent performances by Lamar Odom and Luke Walton, the Lakers were far from the force to be reckoned that swept the doomed Denver Nuggets in the first round. In what was the plot curve in a well written Hollywood script, Lakers’ general manager, Mitch Kuchpak answered the cries of his superstar in distress by enlisting a trade for Paul Gasol (one of the blockbuster season trades alongside Phoenix’s acquisition of Shaq and Dallas’ acquisition of Jason Kidd.) and Trevor Ariza.

Throughout his 12 seasons, Kobe has never been ranked above 3rd place in contention for league MVP and in the race for MVP, analysts weighed in on whether Kobe was deserving of the honor simply because he is one of the greatest players in the game. Tuesday all doubts were set aside with Bryant running away with 82 first-place votes and 1,100 points in the media vote. He was followed by New Orleans' Chris Paul (28 and 894), Boston's Kevin Garnett (15 and 670) and Cleveland's LeBron James (1 and 438). Kobe joins other past Laker MVP winner Shaquille O’Neal and three time Laker MVP winners, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson.

And so the story comes full circle as Kobe and Co. make a play to return to the status of champion elite, currently leading the Utah Jazz 2-1 in Round 2 of the NBA playoffs. Ball hog? No more. While Kobe only averaged a modest 5.4 assists and 6.3 rebounds this season, he was able to accomplish what has held him to the stigma of not being a team player for so long – the ability to connect with his teammates. Taking newer recruits Ronny Turiaf, Sasha Vujicic and Jordan Farmar under his wing while involving veterans Lamar Odom and long time friend, Derek Fisher, has resulted in a gelled Lakers’ team non existent during the Lakers’ respective 00’-01’ and 01’-02’championship runs.

"He's deserving in this particular season with all of the question marks and everything going on coming into the season and the uncertainty,"
teammate Derek Fisher said. "Not only did he statistically have an MVP-type of season, everybody can reasonably say they were better this year because of what he did. He met the so-called criteria, elevating his teammates' games."

At first glance, it would seem Chris Paul or Kevin Garnett would be more ideal candidates for the MVP award. Kevin Garnett has turned around his team in one season, forming a menacing triple threat in the East that has won them the both the league best record and the best record in the Eastern Conference as well as a very real contention for the Championship. Not to be out done, Chris Paul’s Cinderella story is an awe inspiring proof that experience is no guarantee to winning in the Playoffs. His leadership over the young and hungry, New Orleans’ Hornets has given a Katrina ravaged city hope and a reason to be proud again such as sending the Dallas Mavericks home in the first round. Despite a torn ligament in his finger and an upper respiratory infection, Bryant played ALL 82 games this season, giving up shots and reaping the fruits of his labor with a more productive supporting cast, the best record in the Western conference (66-25) and a berth in the NBA Playoffs. A testament to Kobe's preseason vow of sacrifice and ecommitment in mending a relationship on the rocks with a team he has played with his entire career.

"The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it."
Theodore Roosevelt


A Tru Gentleman said...

Although I loathe Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, I must admit that he deserved to win it this year. To the naysayers that say that he should've gotten the award sooner, I disagree. Even though he has been the best overall player the past few years, he never elevated his team along with his individual play in spite of his greatness. Being the best player does not always make you the most valuable. The MVP is not always the one who scores the most points per game or the most SportsCenter highlights. The award is for the player that means the most to him team and makes them better. The one that raises their play to another level.

This is the 1st year in which Kobe MADE his teammates better. He never trusted them until this year and therefore forced shots and hogged the ball. This was his reward for finally playing the game the way a teammate should. I give him his props on the award.

Qiana M said...

That is really admirable that a player so many people love to hate can make even naysayers bow down and give him his props. Chris Paul and Kevin Garnett certainly elevated their respective teams but Kobe has come a long way from forcing shots, balling out of control to setting up the ball as well as he executes to allow his teammates to shine. He finally lets them carry himself sometime and play that triangular offense the way it was meant to be played. If Kobe and Co can keep the Jazz at bay they got a real shot at the Finals.

Anonymous said...

Kobe Bryant is the MVP(Most Valuable Player) in the NBA(National Basketball Association) this year..I will give credit where credit is due..Kobe has doing his thing for a long time...He has been the best player in the years for about four-five years now...Everybody tried to compare him to Michael "Air" Jordan..He had the skills like MJ, but did not utilize it that well..I had always said that Kobe Bryant will always be a good player, but never a great player..People always wondered why..I had always said that if Kobe learned to pass the ball more and trust his teammates, that team will definitely be going places, maybe even to the NBA Finals if they could get out of the west..The thing is that I do not believe that KB24 should have won the award by himself..I think that he should have shared it with Chris Paul a.k.a. CP3..You can give an agree for Kevin Garnett but adding him and Ray Allen to the Celtics was great because those two was already unselfish and everybody that they were going to be in the playoffs as a high seed...Everybody knew that the Lakers would be close but not as high as they were..Nobody in their wildest dreams ever thought that the Hornets would be where they are at..It is all because of CP3..Without Chris Paul, that team would be no where as good as they are right now...This is why I think that KB24 and CP3 should have been CO-MVP's..Also, Kobe Bryant should not have been the only one who should have been unanimous for the All-NBA Team...Chris Paul should have been a unanimous choice as well..All in all, if the Lakers beat the Jazz and the Hornets beat the Spurs, we will see the Lakers-Hornets and see who the real MVP of the NBA really is...

THOUGHT!!! said...

I too once loathed the womb Kobe came from...him and his ignorant lil sister (Philly thing).

However...there have only been two players that I have seen in the association with flawless games.

The GOAT...THE GOD-MC...I don't even have to say his name...he could fly...

and Kobe Bryant.

The MVP (Most Valueable Player) award should go o the player who is most valuable to his team...and makes the largest impact. Kobe has long since deserved this award!

Dude was running with Smush Parker, Kwame Brown, Brian Kooc, Lukie Dukie, Rony Rice Pilaif and a whole bunch of other off-brand, dock workers, firemen, and mail-carriers...and took them dudes to the play-offs...had he not been on that team they would've been in the middle of the pack in the I beleive he deserved it for the last two years.

Thaddeus said...

Okay... I guess I will engage in this conversation.

This season turned me around in terms of Kobe Bryant. He made sacrifices this year that I believe superstars make for the sake of winning. Him winning the MVP was definitely just, because everyone forgets that he is playing with torn ligaments in his hand.

Overall, the player that really got my attention this year was Chris Paul. I believe he transcended to the echelon of James, Kobe and Duncan, and it's only a matter of time before he leads a team to a championship. He is often compared to Isiah Thomas, and I truly believe his drive is such.