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Kobe Bryant Would Like You All To Know That This Is Still His Team
The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Dwight Howard and Steve Nash because the typically hero ball-centric Lakers can no longer survive under that regime. Kobe, as it turns out, still insists upon exuding his macho bravado and puffing out his chest. During yesterday’s media day, he set everyone straight as to the Los Angeles on-court pecking order.
“‘I got a question earlier about whose team this is,’ Bryant told reporters at the Lakers media day Monday. ‘I don’t want to get into the, ‘Well, we share …’ No, it’s my team. But I want to make sure that Dwight, when I retire, this is going to be his. I want to teach him everything I possibly know so that when I step away this organization can ride on as if I never left.’”
In that elder statesman sense, yes, this is Kobe’s team. And though he’s still a premiere NBA shooting guard, this team will only thrive if Steve Nash is permitted to dominate the ball and distribute at his discretion. Kobe’s insistence on passing the torch to Dwight Howard is also curious, since Dwight’s entire trade saga hinged on his anti-hero ball mentality – he wanted help and stability, not a target on his back. His preferred destination, Brooklyn, neatly synopsized that attitude, with Deron Williams and a smattering of role players already in place.
The Lakers’ other stars will continue their servile deferment, if only to avoid stirring the pot and bruising Kobe’s ego. And, though Kobe might be the most talent player on the squad, it will be his own refusal to adapt that could disturb this delicate balance of shots, minutes and macho. Because at least offensively, Nash, Gasol and Howard are not black holes, but the greatest articulation of sharing basketball players – they fill all the non-scoring roles, too.
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