At 11:59 p.m. last night, I was strolling happily in my backyard with my new dog. Everything was right with the world… even though I was standing in the dark and cold with an animal that was too nervous to figure out that the whole song and dance was in an effort to make her poop. ‘No matter,’ I thought. I’m happy to do it for a new friend.
Suddenly, the taste of bile appeared in the back of my mouth. I’d felt it before, but this time it wasn’t tinged with remnants of Jager and whatever I pointed to on the Denny’s menu at 4am. ‘How odd,’ I thought.
The dog circled nervously as the taste spread. My stomach started to cramp. ‘Time to go inside.’
By the time we hit the door, I was sweating and nearly doubled over in pain. Holding back dry heaves, I quickly tried to figure out what I did make me feel this way. Then I saw the clock. 12:04. It was March 11th. The day I have to say nice things about Kobe Bean Bryant.
I can’t call him a douchebag. I can’t call him a me-first malcontent who, instead of waiting to see how young talent would develop around him, decided to go on a schizophrenic “trade me, don’t trade me” public display.
3 cases of Pepto later, I think I’m ready.
The best thing I can say about Kobe Bryant is: I hate him.
No really, that’s a compliment.
Most people who have played sports will tell you… they enjoy being booed on the road. To paraphrase Curt Schilling… there’s something very satisfying about shutting thousands of people up. When the other team’s fans target you specifically… they’re not doing it because you’re an OK player. You’ve got to have some skills to draw the vitriol of 17,000 strangers. To be targeted specifically, you have to have done memorable things to the opposing team.
Opposing fans don’t remember 5 points and 3 rebounds. But they remember 42, 10 and 10… including a dunk on your whole front line and the game winning fadeaway 3.
The best thing about being hated by the opposition is… they’re going to hate you no matter what. If go into the opponent’s gym and lose, it’s “hah!… you suck!” If you go in and win… it’s “F-You… you suck!”
Look… the world needs villains. No one plays cops and cops. Without villains, there is no Superman. Batman doesn’t really become Batman if his parents aren’t killed. Hulk Hogan doesn’t become Hulk Hogan without the Iron Sheik walking around with an Iranian Flag saying “America… ptew!” The same is true of the NBA. It needs the bad guy that occasionally wins. And yes, that means championships too.
I’m not going to get all sing-songy about Kobe’s skills. Everyone knows that on basketball talent alone, he’s in a rare class. If the Hall of Fame had a Hall of Fame… he’d be on the ballot. But that’s not what this is about. This is supposed to be about praising Kobe. And the nicest thing I can say about Kobe is this:
I really hate that guy.