I was listening to NBATV’s dream team of Ahmad, GP, and CWebb, when my ears perked up. Webber mentioned that Kobe calls Gasol “The Spaniard.” My first thought? “No good. I’ve known too many Spaniards.” And then it came to me more fully. With Kobe’s penchant for comic books and notable fantasy culture, this fits pretty much right in.
Kobe, the golden child who went away for a while, pirating (the lost 40-shots-a-game years), then returned as the Dread Pirate Roberts. Adept at swordplay, chemistry, mind games, and deduction.
Gasol is Inigo. Proud, prone to moments of indulgence, exaggeration and despair. Highly talented, and quick with either hand.
Bynum is Fezzik. Huge, dominant, lazy. Well liked by everyone. You can try and call the brute squad on him, but, he is the brute squad.
Of course, in this scenario, LeBron is the Six-Fingered-Man. Notably genetically different from everyone else and capable of inflicting massive amounts of pain
This would fit with the kind of half-villain persona Kobe has adopted, as well as his ambidextrous talents and the fact that every time LeBron thinks he’s killed him, he shows up. It’s of note that the fact that the Lakers even derive this kind of mythology in comparison is notable. For the decisive nature of the team, they have added a sense of the dramatic that was missing even when SSOL was revolutionizing things. It’s partly the lure of the Lakers mephisto-work, but partly the rare combination of alchemical elements floating within this roster. Odom drifting in and out of relevance, Ariza burning the firecracker at both ends, Vujacic shifting from comical failure to sharp-toothed jackyl.
This of course presents the flip side of the fantasy and our relationship with the Lakers, for good or ill. Do we create the Lakers to have something familiar and dominant to rail against, or to worship for their dominance and flash? Or do they somehow mine the legacy of their franchise and produce something so powerful and yet so predictable? Does Kobe recognize the drama that he creates in every dagger, self-aware of the swoon and curtains that his on-court persona has wrought? Or is he just the dreadnought and the anti-hero at once, oblivious to his story but still the center character?
Or you know, he could just call him that because he’s, you know, Spanish. Either way.
In an unrelated note, and Charlotte 117 LA Lakers 110.