December 16, 2011
On Thursday night, Yahoo!'s own Marc Spears wrote a story on Kobe Bryant's reaction to missing out on Chris Paul and seeing him head to their cross-arena colleagues at the Clippers. He was peeved, notably, but not altogether furious.
Earlier Friday, Kobe spoke more about the new battle for Los Angeles between the Clips and Lakers. His response, as befits a man who's accomplished as much as anyone in the contemporary NBA, is that "it's about damn time" a rivalry got going. Because outside of the 2005-06 season, the Clips haven't seemed more relevant than the Lakers, well, ever.
[ Related: Kobe Bryant Q&A: Is he a Laker for life? ]
It's a telling response for a player used to acting from a position of strength. With the Paul trade, the Clippers are now getting lots of attention at a time when the Lakers appear to have taken a hit. On the other hand, there's no certainty that the Clippers will be as good as many expect, especially with CP3's knee troubles. Remember, in the middle of the first round of the 2006 playoffs everyone expected the Lakers and Clippers to play each other in the second round for the future of L.A. basketball. Then the Lakers blew a 3-1 series lead against the Suns, the matchup never materialized, and the Clips, beaten by the Suns, receded into the background the following year. Sometimes assumptions turn out to be bunk.
So, even if the Clippers might now be better on paper than the Lakers (which is itself an arguable point), Kobe has every right to act like he's top dog. As he said to Marc, the Lakers will be L.A.'s team until the Clippers prove otherwise in real games. For now, everything is talk.
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