I’m apparently way behind on my Xs & Os of Basketball reading because I’m just seeing this fantastic video. It features two of my favorite things on Earth: Hakeem talking and smiling, and Kobe continuing his relentless and probably psychologically damaging quest to become the best basketball player of all time.
As soon as Kobe got to the League, it was clear that he was great and that he was probably going to continue to be great in this League throughout his career unless he developed a coke habit. But this is why he’s in the greatest discussion. He does stuff that no one else would ever even think of doing. And that’s what makes him such a lovable weirdo who might end up dying sad.
I can just imagine him sitting around this summer trying to improve his post-up game.
He takes the court at 9 am (after three hours of lifting and running) and begins working endlessly on his moves. Drop step. Fadeaway. Up-and-under. Lefty jump hook. Reverse pivot, step-back J. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat, rinse and then repeat again.
Four hours later, he returns to his mansion begins eating a sandwich. He sits and chews quietly and somberly but, internally, he is utterly devastated that he is not seeing tangible improvement in his post game. He thinks “Black Mamba, these are the same moves you’ve been doing for years. You’re not progressing. You’re not advancing. You’re complacent. You’re soft. You’re weak. Look at you, eating a turkey sandwich and carrots at 1 pm in the afternoon. Is it Thanksgiving? You only took four hundred free throws today. YOU’RE SITTING HERE CELEBRATING YOUR CHAMPIONSHIP WITH CARROTS AND YOU MISSED 27 FREE THROWS TODAY.”
He finishes lunch and then washes his plate, being sure to scrub the surface counterclockwise — to go against the grain of the China — eight times. He sits on the couch to watch some film of Tim Duncan against Milwaukee from the 2002 regular season, eventually falling asleep for a two-hour nap.
He awakes at 4:24 and 24 seconds because it’s Tuesday and that’s what time he wakes up on Tuesday. Vanessa brings his daughters into the living room for 1 hour and 35 minutes and 36 seconds of play time with Daddy before dinner and, then, wind sprints and ball-handling drills. They play with some dolls. Natalia and Gianna dress the dolls and joyfully comb their hair while giggling and jumping on Daddy’s lap. Kobe tells them how if they follow the proper life path and remain disciplined to the route they have chosen than they can receive not just a Barbie Dream House, beautiful pink dress, jelly beans and all of life’s other material joys, but the knowledge of having lived a life of true happiness and fulfillment.
Natalia, 6, says they should watch Dora The Explorer.
Kobe puts in the DVD and hits play. His daughters begin clapping and cheering as Dora and Boots discuss the trip they are about to embark on. Kobe smiles as he imagines people smile when they are happy.
Dora and Boots arrive in Cairo and, soon after, start exploring the Great Pyramid of Giza.
“Daaaaddy. Where is E-Gip,” asks Natalia.
“What’s that? Where, honey?”
“Egypt? It’s Egyp-T, honey. Egyp-T is in Africa … … Africa? … … Africa … … AFRICA.”
Kobe gets up and grabs his cell phone off the table. He calls Rob Pelinka, his agent.
“KOOOBeeee, what’s up, my man. I was just about to call you. I’ve got this great …”
“GET ME HAKEEM’S NUMBER.”