After the Los Angeles Lakers finally eclipsed the Suns in game 6, Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles asked Kobe Bryant to comment on the upcoming installment of the historic Celtics-Lakers rivalry. Kobe’s response, “I’m playing in it. I don’t give a damn about it. That’s for other people to get excited it about. I get excited about winning.”
When taken at face value, Bryant’s comment seems downright moronic–as if, at the exact moment he was responding, Ron Artest’s mind was telepathically controlling Kobe’s mouth. Such an occurrence would require considerable brain power and seems highly unlikely, as Artest is obviously illiterate. I mean c’mon, you saw his Tweets about Phil Jackson during the Utah series.
If you didn’t, or just want to laugh your ass off again:
“Finally Phil Jackson didn’t mention me in media before talking me Now I can build on game 2. Hopefully he talks to me before media.”
“Ever since phil mention things about me in media before coming to me first I was weird. So every pray he can somehow close his yapper and now say AMEN.”
Really, dude? Do you want us to buy you hooked on phonics? No wonder Phil Jackson gets so fed up with Artest’s crap. You have Coach Jackson, a prolific reader and published author, attempting to communicate with a man who can barely understand the scoreboard. Aw, now I understand why Artest hoisted that three when could have run out the clock. He can’t read good.
Assuming that Jedi-mind tricks weren’t at work, we can only conclude that Kobe is making a concerted effort to downplay the influence of Celtics-Lakers history. Despite his best efforts to project otherwise, there is no doubt that Kobe Bryant wants nothing more than to play and beat the Celtics in the finals.
As Markazi points out,
If you grew up as a Boston Red Sox fan, you dreamed of hitting the walk-off home run to beat the New York Yankees. If you grew up as a Washington Redskins fan, you dreamed of scoring the winning touchdown to beat the Dallas Cowboys. And if you grew up as a Lakers fan, as Bryant did, you dreamed of hitting the game-winning shot to beat the Celtics. (or Visa Versa)
Downplaying the importance of Celtics-Lakers is like calling Marilyn Monroe ugly. You’re talking about a magnificent duel between two fundamentally different teams, cities….coasts. Every player involved in this years Finals carries the weight of the wars waged by previous generations of superstars. For Kobe Bryant, this series is about his legacy as an all-time Laker great; the ring that would tie him with Magic Johnson.
For the Celtics, nothing would be sweeter than tarnishing that legacy.
Doc Rivers is well aware of the historical significance of this rivalry. He didn’t mince words during a WEEI interview on the Dennis and Callahan show.
I know the history. I love the history of the game. To be part of it is huge for me, personally. But you feel a responsibility. You don’t want them to beat you. And that’s just the bottom line. Let’s say you were playing Phoenix. You still would want to win the world championship, obviously. But you’re playing the Lakers, and it’s like you’re thinking more about you want to beat them and less about wanting to win the title. And that’s probably good.
Being that the C’s are such a cohesive unit, it’s safe to assume that Doc’s sentiment trickles down through the line up. Pierce, KG and the rest of the squad are well aware of the tradition ingrained in Celtic green.
As for Boston fans, there is no doubt that this rivalry resurrects the passions of past match-ups, as the triumvirate of Bird, McHale and Parish gives way to Pierce, Garnett and Allen.
Oh yeah, Rondo is pretty good too.
As I sit here, watching the Red Sox play the Athletics, a night before the NBA Finals even begin, audible cheers of “Beat LA” reign out over Fenway Park.
Let the show begin.