"FINALLY LIKE MIKE?"
by Henry Abbottwww.myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/After Bryant scored 60 in a road win over the Memphis Grizzlies,
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson told reporters,
"Kobe went right back at them.
He just smells blood in the water
and he's going to go after you."
I interviewed Jackson many times during his years
as coach of the Chicago Bulls.The "blood in the water" quote
was the sort of commentary he frequently offered
about the incomparable Michael Jordan.
In Bryant's career with the Lakers,
I can't recall Jackson offering a truly Jordanesque quote about Bryant.
Oh, Jackson has had plenty of nice things to say,
some of them genuine.
But I perceive this quote as different.
Kobe Bryant has finally achieved the status he has sought so long.He finally has neared the level of respect,
that Jackson accorded Jordan.
It has taken him a long time to earn that status.
Fans still withhold from him the respect they gave to Jordan,
the sense that Jordan was bullet-proof,
that he could do no wrong in their eyes.
Because of the criminal allegations in his past,
because of the perception of his selfishness,
Bryant may never be accorded that level of respect by the fans.
But there's no question this is a new day.Bryant has arrived at his moment,
able to use his full arsenal truly for the first time.
His four big scoring games in a row all resulted in Lakers wins.
He is the man at last."BRYANT AMONGST THE SCORING ELITE"
By Dave McMenaminwww.nba.comBy scoring 60 points in a 121-119 win over Memphis on Thursday,
Kobe Bryant became the first player since Michael Jordan
in April of 1987 to score 50-plus points in three straight games.
At this rate,
Bryant has a chance to become
the greatest scorer the NBA has ever seen.Let that marinate for a minute.
The G.O.A.T. of the NBA.
Top of the totem pole.
Best of the bunch.He entered the league having not one measly collegiate point
and could exit with more scoring feats
than any player to ever lace them up.
How did it happen?
How did a player who scored zero points in his NBA debut
and who took 16 games as a pro to reach 80 career points
end up scoring 81 in a single game?
How did a skinny guard out of a suburban Philadelphia high school
that took 90 games to reach the 30-point plateau,
end up scoring 30 points in a single quarter
(just short of George Gervin's record 33)
against the Jazz this season?From 7.6 points per game as a rookie,
15.4 as a sophomore, 19.9 in his third year,
to a run of eight straight seasons of 22.5 per or more,
Kobe has morphed into the most potent scorer in the league today.Pile up the evidence -
the three seasons with 30-point averages,
the 17 career 50-point games,
the thousands upon thousands of points.The title of ultimate scorer
might not ever rest upon one sole individual,
but Kobe Bryant has assured that his name will be in the conversation.