A little over a month removed from getting some innovative/experimental treatment for his arthritic right knee over in the land of Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant felt spry enough to take flight at the end of the Thursday session of his 2011 Kobe Basketball Academy at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Y'know, my ankle's bothered me a bit the last couple of times I've gone out for a run — I should probably fly to Germany for some platelet-rich plasma therapy. I bet my insurance will cover it, as long as I show them this clip.
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Not quite the same level of bounce as the Los Angeles Lakers star had back in his skyscraping heyday, but after a season in which persistent knee pain (somewhat) limited his productivity and forced him out of what the Los Angeles Times called "an overwhelming majority of the Lakers' practices," some offseason lift from Kobe is surely a welcome sight for sore-eyed L.A. faithful.
Nice and smooth. After the jump, a pretty fun seven-plus-minute clip of Kobe answering a game-to-five challenge from a camper calling himself "The White Mamba" (no Scalabrine).
My five favorite things about this clip:
1. Kobe saying, "Mamba don't play that," which I'm sure will be his 2012 catchphrase, in recognition of the 20th anniversary of Keenen Ivory Wayans' brave choice to leave "In Living Color" due to concerns about censorship.
2. White Mamba's high black socks. Maybe there's a little more than "no Scalabrine" in here after all.
3. White Mamba checking the ball right into Kobe's chest, then trying to force him left. Clearly, somebody paid attention during the "Adhering to Sound Team Defensive Principles That Don't Work So Well in One-on-One Games" session earlier in the day. If you give this dude one capable help defender, he's taking this thing to "win by two" territory.
4. Kobe taking White Mamba to the post. Even in a quick summer camp game, Kobe remains mindful of needing to bring smaller defenders down low and do his damage over the top. Also great: White Mamba will have excellent per-possession post defensive stats after Synergy breaks this down later.
5. White Mamba getting an easy layup after Kobe takes it easy on defense. That alone will get him so much respect for the first month of his J.V. team season; then, when some dude from Pomona or whatever manages to check him after school, he'll be able to say he shut down the kid that scored on Kobe Bryant, and on, and on. Everyone feels good. Pay it forward, gang.
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- Kobe Bryant