Kobe Bryant, cruelly surveying the NBA landscape (Getty Images)
The biggest thing to take away from Thursday's thrilling (ugly, yes, but thrilling) Lakers win in overtime over the Boston Celtics was the realization that this rivalry is really in its death throes. With both rosters chock full of stars that came of age during the late 1990s, the gritty (but, darnit, thrilling) back and forth was a clear indication that the teams that met during the 2008 and 2010 Finals were playing out the string. Even if, and we mean this, they catch a few good matchups and one or both of them make it to the Finals again this June.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, in his usual must-read way, pointed out as much early Friday morning. A few hours before that, Kobe Bryant took a little bit of time away from the Celtics/Lakers rivalry to throw some cold water on everyone's new favorite NBA talking point: New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin.
The video, which contains some NSFW language (since overdubbed) from the Kobester, puts Lin squarely in his place, whether Jeremy deserves it or not. From WEEI's Ben Rohrbach:
If you're actually, y'know, at work? Here's the transcript, again from Ben Rohrbach at WEEI's Green Street:
"I know who he is, but I don't really know what's going on too much with him. I don't even know what he's done. Like, I have no idea what you guys are talking about. I'll take a look at it tonight though."
[Asked again about Lin] "I don't even know what the [fudge] is going on. What the [fudge] is going on? Who is this kid? I've heard about him and stuff like that, but what's he been doing? Is he getting like triple doubles or some [stuff]? He's averaging 28 and eight? No [stuff]. If he's playing well, I'll just have to deal with him."
[Would he consider guarding Lin?] "Jesus Christ. Let's not get ahead of ourselves."
Remember, Kobe comes from the Michael Jordan school. Nobody is to be appreciated, nobody is to be lauded, and nobody is to be talked up unless there's some reverse psychology involved. Jordan lessened that public stance a bit in his last few years with Chicago, but by and large he wouldn't say very many sincere or even nice things about any opponent unless he was sure he wouldn't have to play them again at any point that season.
So for Kobe, covered in ice but full of adrenaline after a Celtics game that saw his team's offense fade down the stretch, is clearly giddy at the chance to possibly take on a Knicks team on Friday night that doesn't have a sterling defensive reputation (though they have improved considerably in that realm). Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire will be out, and you know Kobe is relishing the thought of taking it to the NBA's Newest Thang in what should probably be a blowout Laker win in spite of the team's tired back-to-back legs.
And, yes, the game will be nationally televised on ESPN. Like Kobe doesn't know this.
Gotta love the Kobester. He knows exactly what Jeremy Lin is doing, and he doesn't mind taking it to someone who isn't even a full month removed from the NBA's D-League.
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- Kobe Bryant
- Boston Celtics
- Jeremy Lin