Kobe Bryant: Baller, champion, inspiration to Kanye West

Have you heard that Kobe Bryant(notes) is a closer? Because he totally is. (Unless he's not, in which case, forget it. But for the sake of narrative, let's say he totally is.) You probably had heard about the Kobe-is-a-late-game-assassin-and-finisher meme, because, well, you're reading a basketball blog in the middle of August, nerd. It's a safe bet you're up on things like that.

But did you know that his skills as a final-moments finisher extend from the floor game to the rap game? (Not including the all-you-can-eat buf-FAIL that was "K.O.B.E." Obviously.) Well, apparently Kanye West knows, because he enlisted the help of everybody's favorite Mamba last weekend.

As shown in the photo West released early Sunday morning on Twitter, Bryant joined producer/Keys-spouse Swizz Beatz and the mighty Mos Def in the lab to lend a hand and what Tenacious D once called "inspirato" as ‘Ye tried to finish the verse he was writing for the much-anticipated remix to his summer smash, "Power" (NSFW language, so beware, kidlets).

On one hand, if Kanye was looking for someone to help him build on the concept of #POWE, well, he's made an error — I can think of at least one NBA player who's way better suited to speak on that subject.

On the other, though, big ups to Kobe for subverting the dominant offseason narrative — "While LeBron James(notes) is becoming a big weird cable TV spectacle and being Mr. Cool Chopsticks in Vegas, Kobe's in the gym, working on his game."

It's become a popular discussion point because it's so easy to comprehend and spread — this guy is the best because he is always working so hard; this guy is less than that because sometimes he has fun/does horrible things to entire cities on live television — but ultimately, boiling elite players' habits and outcomes down to such a binary is overly simplistic. Yeah, over the course of his career, there's no doubt that Bryant's done plenty of offseason work to enhance his already prodigious skills (including just rehabbing to get healthy this summer). But sometimes he also likes to chill out like Cap'n Smiley McWhiteSneaks with a crazy fashionista who wants to do a song with Justin Bieber and Raekwon.

Sometimes, even Kobe leaves Cutthroat Island.

Hat-tip to Rap Radar.

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