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Dan Devine

Kobe Bryant goes 1-for-2 at putting on his fancy pants

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

Like most basketball-playing males between the ages of 16 and 38, Kobe Bryant(notes) has a simple pre-game ritual: He watches "White Men Can't Jump" two or three times, eats some tilapia sliders and thinks to himself, "Man, I'm totally going to dribble like Sidney Dean tonight." And like most of said males, he doesn't actually do it; he's far too busy being one of the greatest players in NBA history to waste time experimenting with mimicking Wesley Snipes' wholly unbelievable floor game.

Luckily for the Mamba, the Phoenix Suns — who are just as likable as can be, by the by — weren't putting up too much resistance against Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers in the first half of Game 2 in their Western Conference finals series on Wednesday night. This gave Kobe the freedom to don his metaphorical Colnago cap, put on a dazzling dribbling display ... and promptly get his lunch money stolen by Jared Dudley(notes). The fightin' pride of Boston College then shoveled the ball ahead to Jason Richardson(notes), who went up to the seventh floor and dropped gravity off at the fifth.

Yipes. That's kind of embarrassing, especially for an all-timer like Kobe, who knows a little something about embarrassing himself — need I remind you of his "rap" single with a hook by Tyra Banks?

Then again, he also knows quite a bit about both redeeming himself and making defenders look abysmal. Case in point: His fourth-quarter behind-the-back jack move on Grant Hill(notes).

You've got to love the precision of it — hard step right to the elbow, face dodge left toward the baseline to create space, one dribble to collect, stop quick, fade back, buckets. The sharp move nearly sent Hill careening into the camera folk (not where any Sun wants to be these days), put the Lakers up 11, forced a Phoenix timeout, opened the door for the now-quintessential jaw-jut and washed away the taint of his previous dishonor.

Turnover and dagger. Give and take. Yin and yang. Balance on the hardwood. Man, Kobe's really been listening to Phil all these years, huh?

Kobe fail video courtesy of @Jose3030; Kobe win video courtesy of lakershd.

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