'Tssss. Tssss.' (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBA/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards shooting guard Jordan Crawford is a lot of things — a game-winner, a dominant scorer who passes all the time, a man with strange ideas about shoe storage and a dude with a remarkably irrational amount of confidence. He's also someone who seems like he'd be fun to talk to, as evidenced by his engaging apperance on ESPN's "Dan LeBatard Is Highly Questionable," available in podcast form here, in which he relates a pretty great story about the first time he ever matched up with Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant:
LeBatard: Can you give me a time that you were on the court, on a professional basketball court, and you looked to your right or your left and said, "I can't believe I'm up here with this guy?"
Crawford: I did it with two people. I did with Vince Carter my rookie year. I couldn't believe I was playing him, I was checking him. And then Kobe, of course. When I first played with Kobe, I was hearing — like, they call him "The Black Mamba" — and then he was doing, like, the little snake sounds when he wanted the ball. (laughs) It was crazy. It was crazy. It was crazy. So, them two moments.
LeBatard: Wait a minute — what was this sound? He was calling for the ball by making a snake sound?
Crawford: Yeah, it's like, tssss, tssss. It's like, "Fish, Fish, Fisher — tsssss, tssss." He'd do that. (laughs) And it's like, they call him, they say — like, everybody tells you he's gonna do it before you play him. Like, "Wait 'till you hear him do this." And then he do it, and it's like, "What?" Like he's really a mamba.
I can't blame Crawford for thinking that it is weird and crazy that Kobe actually makes hissing noises on the court, because it is weird and crazy that Kobe actually makes hissing noises on the court. Like, it doesn't really matter if someone tells you that you are about to experience something weird and crazy — if the thing really is weird and crazy, you're still not going to be adequately prepared to face it, because it will still make you go, "Wow, this is really weird and crazy." And then while you're doing that, Kobe's received the pass from Derek Fisher, dribbled around you, drawn a defender, gone up and under around the rim to shield the ball from the shot-blocker and gotten an and-one. All while you were going, "Did this dude just did this?"
I mean, I was kind of surprised to hear Crawford's story, and I already knew that Kobe did this, because it was reported on back in October by Sam Amick and Mark Medina. In retrospect, that's when I probably should've started to get worried about things not working out so well for the partnership between Kobe and Dwight Howard — the reports that, after learning of Kobe's hiss, Dwight "settled on a strange, pigeon-like coo" to call for the ball, should've been a dead giveaway, considering how snakes and pigeons are natural enemies (probably).
As we know, though, Kobe's always working to add new wrinkles to his game, even when it comes to weird on-court manifestations of his chosen reptile persona. Check out his new mess, on display last month when the Lakers took on the Oklahoma City Thunder:
Seriously? (Noah Graham/NBA/Getty Images)
We get it, Kobe. You're a snake. A snake who wants the ball. A snake who could have been the greatest point snake of all snake, except it wasn't in his true snaketure. We're clear on the concept; you can put your hands down.