Friday, May 15, 2009

11 comments Tim Keown Hates Kobe Bryant's Face

I am not a huge hockey fan but there is a hockey team located 80 miles from where I live so I watched the Hurricanes-Bruins game last night and I must admit I was very pleased about the outcome. Sometimes when I am watching the Hurricanes I am even able to forget they used to be the Hartford Whalers. I hated that team name. For reasons unknown, I just hated it. The Hurricanes name doesn't make much more sense because Raleigh is not located in Florida and hasn't been hit by a tremendous amount of hurricanes lately but I get over it. Either way, I liked the outcome. Now I am fully prepared for a 4-1 Penguin series victory.

Back to Tim Keown and Kobe Bryant. He hates how Kobe Bryant looks when he is playing basketball. This may seem unimportant to 99% of the population, but not to Tim Keown.

The strangest moment of the NBA playoffs took place during Game 3 of the Lakers-Rockets series, when Kobe Bryant hit an 18-foot turnaround jumper from the left elbow with Shane Battier's right hand in his face.

THAT is the strangest moment of the playoffs? None of the fights between the teams have been weird, not Big Baby running over a child on the sidelines, not Mark Cuban yelling at Kenyon Martin's mom, but Kobe Bryant hitting a jump shot?

Bryant immediately began shaking his head with a look that indicated he smelled something really bad. This -- as you know -- is Kobe's dismissive face, the one he now makes after nearly every basket.

I don't think it is odd that Kobe gets super motivated to be guarded by Shane Battier who, as Michael Lewis wrote, is one of the few people that is supposed to be able to guard Kobe. I think Kobe is just being extra specially motivated, so he is not smiling, but being intense. There is nothing wrong with a player being intense. We beg Dwight Howard to be more intense.

The strange part came afterward, when he started back downcourt and turned to the TNT broadcasters at center court and yelled toward commentator Doug Collins.

"He can't guard me," Bryant said. Shaking his head, his mouth curled downward in a semicircle of disgust, he stared down Collins and said it again, "He can't guard me."

Kobe Bryant is completely ripping off Michael Jordan from the 1992 NBA Finals when he raised his arms to the announcers calling the game on NBC in reference to the fact he was red hot and he knew there was nothing the Blazers could do about it. That is considered an important and memorable moment in his career, yet when Kobe does it, it is weird.

Writing this comment by Kobe was weird, is weird.

When Harlan asked his partner what it was all about, Collins sounded genuinely perplexed. "I'm not sure," he said, and they quickly and quietly moved on.

For anyone who doesn't recall, I think it is about this article. Really as a journalist for ESPN you should be able to reference this column by Michael Lewis and be able to understand this is why Kobe is sort of taunting Battier and saying Battier can't stop him.

And that's the deal about Kobe: None of us is sure. How can a guy with that much talent play with such little joy?

Does anyone remember Michael Jordan ever playing with joy? He was insanely competitive on the practice court and during games. He berated teammates for missing open shots, for not being ready for his passes, and he practiced as hard as he played. There is a book called "The Jordan Rules" about this by Sam Smith. Kobe is the exact same way. In fact his personality is Michael Jordan incarnate, it's just Kobe has a much different public perception painted of him for some reason.

Jordan is seen as having worked hard all the time to make his teammates better, while Kobe is seen as insanely competitive who doesn't enjoy the game...yet there is not a huge difference in their faces on the court. They play the game intensely.

Larry Bird is known as one of the greatest trash talkers of all time. That's all he did on the court. Kevin McHale may still be scared of Bird's wrath. Basketball is the job of these players, some take it seriously.

Unlike LeBron, though, Kobe can't let his game speak for him. He has to accentuate everything with the facial expressions and the dismissiveness.

I'll be honest at this point. I have never noticed any bizarre faces that Kobe makes on the court, but I have noticed LeBron James' faces all the time. He has a face where he squints his face up and makes it look like he is about to take a shit, he has a large yell he does after a big dunk, and he also has numerous faces he will make after he hits a three point shot. LeBron's game speaks for itself but he also makes facial expressions.

Both Kobe and LeBron let their games speak for themselves, but part of Kobe's aura is that he wants to destroy the opponent's will, not just beat him. He takes it as a challenge. Not that LeBron doesn't. If you forced me at gunpoint to name which player made more facial expressions on the court, it would be LeBron.

Hey, Kobe, we know you're great. You know you're great. Shane Battier knows you're great. How about letting someone else say it first every once in a while?

Clearly, Tim Keown has something against Kobe Bryant. Look, Kobe Bryant is an asshole on the court and possibly off the court. Everyone knows/assumes that but part of that reason is that he is insanely competitive like many of the great players before him. It's what makes him so great. I don't think this is something we should attempt to demean.

You see, I want to be able to enjoy Kobe's talent. I want to see it the way I see LeBron's: transcendent, mostly pure and emanating outward. It probably will never happen, though. Kobe won't let it.

I will admit that Kobe is not the most enjoyable player to watch. Mostly because I feel like his game is so calculating is so calculating. He knows exactly what he wants to do and when he wants to do it. It seems like it lacks the spontaneity and excitement of LeBron's game. That being said, I still enjoy watching him play sometimes because of this. Apparently Tim Keown does not.

For a guy with such a constant flow of creativity running through his game, it's amazing to see how calculated he is about his image.

Again, I don't want to accuse Tim Keown of not knowing what he is talking about, but doesn't he remember a certain event in Colorado where Kobe's image took a hit? After that I am assuming Kobe wants to take control of his image and to be able to craft it in how he wants it to be seen. Which is what every other athlete does as well. Including LeBron James. I don't see how Tim Keown doesn't know this.

Maybe it's his attempt to answer the questions of the Lakers' toughness. I don't know, but in the playoffs, his performances generally follow one of two themes: (1) He takes over the game and taunts everybody in sight, demanding that all acknowledge his greatness or (2) he steps back and intentionally doesn't take over a game, in which case his attitude seems to be, "See what they look like without me?"

I know Kobe comes off as smug a whole lot, but this is the same thing that Michael Jordan used to do. He would take over a game if he needed to, but he would also let his teammates know that they can't do too much without him. We just view Kobe differently for some reason. The reason may be his smugness on the court, but I don't think his scowl means that he is trying to show up the other team, he is just very competitive.

But here's a radical idea: Stop with the smugness and the arrogance. Play your game and let your talent speak for itself.

I don't see how Kobe is any more or less arrogant than any other superstar in the league. I really don't. Any superstar has to have a certain amount of arrogance and smugness. Kobe's game is conducive to it because he plays so smoothly but I don't see it as arrogance as much as him competing.

And if you're not going to enjoy what you bring to the court, at least give us half a chance.

Fine, he plays the game joylessly. It's a job to him. Do you want him smiling all the time when he hits a shot? Then it looks like he is still being arrogant. If he makes no reaction then everyone thinks he is being smug. If he tells the announcers no one can stop him, then he thinks he is having fun on the court but it comes off as a scowl. What kind of faces do you want Kobe to make? Maybe photoshop some faces on him and then email them to him so he can peruse them and choose the appropriate face.

I barely understood this article.

I am not going to go all the way through Bill's chat from Thursday night but I am going to pick and choose some highlights that pissed me off and put them up. That's a lot of words to write about to cover the whole thing...


KentAllard said...

Congrats to the Canes. I had relatives that played for the Hartford Whalers, as well as another guy I used to know, so I've always been partial to them. I hope Brindamour is alright.

Fred Trigger said...

"I am not a huge hockey fan but there is a hockey team located 80 miles from where I live so I watched the Hurricanes-Bruins game last night and I must admit I was very pleased about the outcome. Sometimes when I am watching the Hurricanes I am even able to forget they used to be the Hartford Whalers. I hated that team name. For reasons unknown, I just hated it. The Hurricanes name doesn't make much more sense because Raleigh is not located in Florida and hasn't been hit by a tremendous amount of hurricanes lately but I get over it. Either way, I liked the outcome. Now I am fully prepared for a 4-1 Penguin series victory."


haha, yeah, I dont follow hockey that much, either, but I stayed up till the crack of dawn and that goal by Scott Walker was brutal.

word verification: grade

Bengoodfella said...

Sorry, Fred...I did not mean to make a true Bruins fan bitter. It was more of a shot at Bill Simmons and the fair weather Bruins fans. By the way, I knew the second the Canes rehired Maurice good things could happen. I think if the series is played again the Bruins will win.

Yeah, I knew Walker's goal was brutal and I really do hate that for you. I am not being an ass, I really do. This area goes crazy come playoff time and everyone jumps on the Canes bandwagon. It is kind of annoying.

AwesomeSean said...

BGF...Was Tim implying that no one acknowledges Kobe's greatness? Something about, how about someone other than you saying it (paraphrasing?) Is he effing nuts? Analysts, insiders, short order cooks and interior designers are constantly tripping over each other to spout off about the man's greatness. What a stupid article.

Bengoodfella said...

You know, he actually was saying that. He was saying because Kobe gloats and attempts to bury his opponent he does not make it enjoyable to watch him play. He is also implying no one can ppreciate his greatness because of this as well. It's nonsense of course.

Everyone loves Kobe's game and the result of all this crap that Keown spewed here is that we realize everyone does love Kobe and Keown is reaching to be negative.

Kent, thanks for the congrats but I am more interested in hearing about your relatives that played for the Whalers. I always like Brindamour and I think he will end up being fine. Hockey is like a "C" level sport for me but I try to watch it when I can, especially because the Hurricanes actually have good fan support here...maybe not always at the games, but they are pretty popular so it is fun to watch. I think Pittsburgh beats them handily though.

Chris W said...

"Unlike LeBron, though, Kobe can't let his game speak for him."

This is the dumbest thing I've ever read. I love LeBron and think he's debatably better than Kobe, but I think Kobe's game speaks for itself just fine.

Also, LeBron is definitely known to do some theatrical stuff, I don't know...before every single fucking game? (And during games every now and then).

Bengoodfella said...

You mean like throw chalk in the air in a theatrical fashion? That is what I meant when I said I have no clue what he was talking about. If anything, LeBron is more demonstrative than Kobe in my opinion.

Kobe is not as good as LeBron, that is public knowledge now but I think, other than faces he may make, Kobe lets his game speak just fine for him.

Fred Trigger said...

haha, I'm definately not a true bruins fan. I just think they were an exciting team to watch with all the young talent, and Chara beating the shit out of everyone. That game 7 loss was nothing compared to game 7 of the alcs. I remember watching that game while drinking Captain and coke and once that game got tied I knew it was over for the sox (newer sox fans have NO IDEA how much it hurt to be a sox fan then) so I went to sleep, woke up around 4am, and sure enough, there was the final score scrolling along the bottom of espn with the sox losing. All I could do was reach for the handle of captain, take a really long swig off it, and go back to sleep. Its all good now though.

Bengoodfella said...

I remember that game as well. I was watching it with a Yankees fan and I was cheering for the Red Sox at the time. That sucked tremendously because I was so tired of the Yankees winning everything. I just knew they were going to win the game.

Playoff hockey is very exciting, especially in overtime. Every shot and every time a team has the puck you just think the game could be over that second.

AJ said...

I think the comment of "Unlike LeBron, though, Kobe can't let his game speak for him." is more directed at the fact Kobe likes to take nights off, while Lebron goes out and plays every single night.

I agree with some of the stuff he is saying, but thats probably mainly cuz I can't stand Kobe. Any player who likes to hurt his own team by showing that the team can't win without him is a complete loser in my mind.

Bengoodfella said...

That is very possible he was referring to that fact. If I had to choose between the two players I would definitely choose LeBron James to follow. Probably because Kobe Bryant emulates Michael Jordan and I hate Michael Jordan for various reasons, so by osmosis I hate his attempted clone Kobe.