It's a tie game. The seconds are winding down in the fourth quarter, Kobe Bryant has the ball and a chance to win the game as he attempts a one-on-one maneuver from the top of the key. Why in the heck is 6-3 Oklahoma City guard James Harden guarding Bryant in this situation?
Because it's the middle of August, there's an NBA lockout, and this is the Drew League. Harden is the best NBA player on site, and OKC's Thabo Sefolosha (who has usually defended Kobe quite well) is nowhere to be found.
Also, it's Kobe. He may not execute at the level you'd expect, but he has done this many (many, many) times before. He dropped 45 of his team's 139 points, and he nailed the game-winner on Tuesday night.
I understand that the 1998 lockout was a different time, with a different scope, and a different set of rules. And that summer leagues and acceptable summer nights out were a different story back then. During that summer I acted just as you have during this lockout, scouring everything my modem would let me glean from what actually leaked out.
It wasn't that you didn't see 35-year-old Michael Jordan at these gatherings in 1998. You also didn't see 23-year-old Ray Allen or the soon-to-be 20-year-old Kobe Bryant at these games, either.
And you certainly didn't get a lot of Kobe Bryant-types nailing game-winners in summer league championships, during the last lockout. Especially while wearing cheapo mesh jerseys with numbers (Kobe wore No. 20 in this performance) that weren't even their own. I'm not slamming the 1998 crew. I'm just telling you that things have improved.
And if nothing happens from here until September of 2012? Just watch this clip a few more times to tide you over. Thanks for that much, Kobester.
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