Saturday, May 3, 2008

Kobe is MVP, legions of lovers and haters forced to somehow become even more extreme

So Kobe is MVP. You might be expecting an anti-Kobe rant, the typical kind from the Blazer fan that clings to the belief that the Lakers and Portland are some how rivals despite logic that says otherwise. (Always open with a run on sentence, always!) Nope, but I'd imagine you can find a bit of that without looking too hard.

I'm also trying hard to sidestep the whole "who deserves it" debate. I think we can say that little area has been covered and will continue to be bludgeoned to death. Now that I think of it, the angle that the MVP debate is lame has also probably been bludgeoned to death. Anyways, we know the MVP concept itself is purposely vague. If the criteria were operationalized, we really wouldn't need voters or discourse. That would mean a lot less bullshit, for sure, but I assume there are lots of people who like the bullshit. We all are producing and consuming it on some level. That isn't one of my burning interests at the moment.

The first thought that came to me when I learned Kobe won the award was how this would impact his lovers and haters. I've always been impressed with the extemity of the polarization Bryant seems to have. I'm not sure that sentence makes sense, but hang with me.

A lot of his fans can be so overboard and dogmatic with their passion for the guy that they really make it hard for others to appreciate one of the best basketball players in history. That perspective has been disseminated more eloquently than I could ever do here.

But before I criticize those dipshits too much, I should awknowledge that a lot of the problems I have with Bryant fans apply equally to his haters. I was one, probably for years. I am a Blazers fan after all, and we have no shortage of anti-Mambas in this growing demographic. In fact it might even be part of how one Blazer fan judges the real fanhood of another:

Out of style dirty Blazers hat?


Hates Kobe?


But the impact of hundreds of conversations focused on Kobe hatred ended up having the same impact on me as having to endure his die hard supporters. The conversations were so repetitive, dogmatic, and baseless that I came to a point where it became impossible for me to hate Kobe Bryant.

The extremity of these two camps is what makes me crazy. Its that disgusted face a Lakers fan gives me when I say Kobe is compelling to me because the same thing that makes him so great keeps him flawed. That disgusted face and the process behind it are often the same when I tell one of his haters the same thing.

Now those in these groups (that are actually just one group, but don't tell them that) have an MVP trophy to deal with. It seems like this will propel them to new extremes I didn't think were possible in the pre-MVP Mamba era. Hopefully this spits a few back towards the middle.


Anonymous said...

As a long time Kobe hater, one of my favorite NBA moments was when he was booed in Philly at the all- star game, I always knew the day would come when he would win an MVP award. Now, this day has arrived and I find myself surprisingly apathetic. I really don't care. My biggest gripe is how many excuses the media has provided him with the last few years for not leading the Lakers to play-off success. I find his defensive skills and leadership skills sadly lacking for an MVP.

Jack Brown said...

If the media were Kobe apologists I don't think it would have taken him this long to win an MVP. Remember, they have the biggest say in the thing. The closest he had gotten prior to now was 3rd in voting, and that happened only twice!

Additionally, nearly every year there are some voters that leave him off of their ballot entirely, and they vote for 5 people! Like I said, Kobe haters are just as ridiculous as his supporters.

Anonymous said...

Good point, Jack, but how many times have you heard that Kobe doesn't have the players around him to win or, Kobe can't concentrate on his defense because he has to concentrate on offense?
I think that privately most of the media don't like Kobe but because he is a superstar publicly they have to pander to his ego. Thus, they can show their true feelings in an anonymous vote.

Jack Brown said...

If that is the case, I think it affirms that people who hate Kobe are as silly as the ones that love him. Not using your vote on a guy who obviously deserves some spot on your top 5 ballot? Because you don't like his ego? Very mature.

It will be interesting to see if he was left off any ballots this time around.

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