Ball Don't Lie - NBA

I can't really win, when it comes to Kobe Bryant(notes)

He's been unfairly maligned for so long, by so many pathetic people, that when I put up well-researched musings that fly in the face of what Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson tell you - his clutch play isn't as hot as you would think, same with his defense, overall he hasn't been as good a basketball player as LeBron James(notes) (or a healthy Dwyane Wade(notes)) over the last few years - I get lumped in with those who make Colorado jokes or those who hate Kobe "just ‘cause."

Hell, just a few weeks ago, I was termed a Kobe "hater" just for pointing out that Lamar Odom(notes) (as a way to point out just how brilliant Odom is) had a better plus/minus last season than Kobe. Doesn't mean he's better than Kobe, it just means ... ah, it doesn't matter. I mentioned Bryant's name. That's enough for 600 comments.

It stinks. I work at this stuff, and it's pretty numbing to be lumped in with message board mugs when I'm watching and re-watching and re-re-watching games, only to call him a 9.7 out of 10, and see nothing but vitriol aimed my way as a result.

But this, I'm sorry, we can all agree on it. There's absolutely no reason why the Kobester should be charging $25 for admission to his own website.

Player sites, good god, they're awful. They have been for years. I haven't frequented any of them, ever, because there's absolutely nothing to learn from them. Nothing to gain about the game. Same with most tweets, from NBA players, and about 95 percent of quotes from NBA types. By and large, if you want to learn about the game, you have to watch the games. Not listen to the participants talk about it.

So, the idea that Kobe would ask his fans for $25 to, well, let's let LABallTalk run down the list:

  • An exclusive KB24 T-Shirt
  • Access to exclusive content including videos, audio and photos
  • Members-only access to exclusive contests.
  • Access to exclusive KB24 events
  • Access to member only messageboards, blogs, social network.
  • Exclusive access to KB24 events (chat/blogs/live video/listening party, meet & greets etc).
  • Much More.

Is there anything there you would want anything to do with? Contests? To win another shirt? The "KB24 T-Shirt," wouldn't that be some heavily adorned black T that you wouldn't be surprised to see a Dane Cook advocate wear? And are Laker fans really hurting for message boards, blogs, and social networking outlets? Do they have to pay Kobe Bryant - the man who has been making eight figures as player for the last ten years - 25 bucks for the right to all this?

And, if you'll follow the LABallTalk link, you'll find out that the price has been recently slashed in half. That's right, it used to run close to $50 a month.


Kobe, I'm sure, has nothing to do with this. He's just as bored with this sort of stuff as any other NBA player, but more than any other NBA player, he's at least telling his representation, "yeah, sure, whatever ..." while he's at a gym shooting jumpers; as opposed to saying the same thing while working the 12th hole, or at a Dave and Buster's, or some seedier late night outfit. Bryant, to his credit, doesn't give a rip while he's actually working on his game.

But there's no excuse for this sort of lame, (small) cash grab. I know how much it costs to run a website. I was working on one during Kobe's rookie year. I know how much video hosting costs, I was working on a video-heavy site before Phil Jackson even became Kobe's coach. I know that there are people to pay, and that content can't come free, forever.

I know we shouldn't expect free things.

But when you're a well-compensated star making close to $30 million a year after endorsements set in, shouldn't you - I dunno - give a little back to the dorks that buy your shoes, and buy those lame T-shirts, and are bored enough to check in to see what you had for lunch and what you thought about the new "Harry Potter" movie? You don't have to give t-shirts away for free, mind you; wouldn't the great lot of your fans prefer nary a t-shirt to begin with, and a free look through their favorite player's site?

Can't you just write that stuff off, at least, while you plug your many endorsements on a site you truly have nothing to do with?

Kobe? Wake up. Some idiots in your entourage are making you look a right tool. You might have to only make 300 jumpers today, instead of 500, and work this one out.



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