Kobe Bryant reminds us, he’s still here

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Kobe BryantIt seems like an eternity ago when Kobe Bryant had one of the worst nights of his career. That night came against the Denver Nuggets on New Year’s Day in a 90-99 loss in Denver. In that game, Bryant shot a dismal 6 for 28 and finished with 18 points, just 21 % from the field. Since then, Kobe has averaged 36 points per game on 51% from the field in the last five games and more importantly, led his team to a 4-1 record in that time.

“Kobe’s trying too hard.” “Kobe’s too old.” Kobe can’t do what he used to do anymore.” “Kobe takes too many shots.” “Kobe Kobe Kobe!” These were just some of the things being said with a plenty of vigor throughout not only Laker Nation, but the basketball community. Talk show hosts all over had written Kobe off as all but washed up after that horrific outing on New Year’s Day. Fans were jumping off the Kobe band wagon and lining up to criticize the future Hall of Famer. How did Kobe respond? The best way he knew how to respond- by showing the world he still has “IT”

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That night in Denver seems to be a distant memory for Kobe, he has shot confidently over the past five games taking the Lakers to a 7-4 record on the season; giving him the Western Conference player of the week honors.  What’s the difference between the Kobe we saw not even two weeks ago and the Kobe we see now? There’s no difference, Kobe just got his swagger back.  He got it by shooting his way out of his slump.  He has the same shot selection he had on New Year’s, it’s just that now those shots are falling in for him.

The worst thing that could have possibly happened took place.  Kobe took his lousy game he played personally. He got mad and when Kobe gets mad, he lights it up. The way he lit it up at home against Phoenix on January 10th.  He scored a season high 48 points on 18 for 31 from the field in just 38 minutes. Casual fans throughout will see this performance as a statement game. A statement that proudly proclaims…”I’m still here! I always was and always will be the Black Mamba and don‘t you ever forget!”

Notice the casual fans moniker at the beginning of the statement.  Not to be confused with true Laker fans who are used to seeing their star rise to the occasion. They’re used to seeing Kobe play the hero on any given night and lead his team to victory. The M-V-P chants seem to get a little louder at Staples Center. If Kobe keeps this up, he’ll start hearing those chants on the road in what should be hostile environments. Perhaps this is what fueled Kobe through this stretch. Perhaps this is what continues to fuel Kobe. Perhaps Kobe’s resolve is stronger than anyone of us could imagine. Or… perhaps this is just Kobe being Kobe.

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