For the sake of full disclosure, I'm a Jordan guy. But that doesn't mean I don't respect Kobe.
And the reason is this: while everyone wants to compare the two, size them up and determine who is better, all Kobe does is go out, bust his butt, play through injuries and produce no matter how tired or hurt he is.
He did it again Tuesday night. He scored 42 in the Lakers triple-overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns. Lost in the box score is his 1-for-6 stretch in the first two overtimes. No, he's not always perfect, but he usually finds a way to have an impact. In this case, it came in the form of a nifty pass to Pau Gasol in the closing seconds of OT No. 2 that wound up forcing OT No. 3.
As Yahoo! Sports blogger Kelly Dwyer reminds us, "it's easy to forget that Kobe Bryant made his NBA debut on Nov. 3, 1996."
Yes, Kobe has been doing it for 15 seasons now, and do you still look at him as anything less than a high-flying, end-to-end pogo stick who can lock anyone down on the defensive end of the floor?
Love him or hate him, you have to respect him. Yes, he's a gifted athlete, but to be doing it for this long at this high a level is a testament to thousands of hours of work the television cameras never pick up.
Speaking of hard work …
A few weeks ago I was listening to the "Loose Cannons" on Fox Sports Radio. In preparation for an interview with Jerry Rice, the sometimes insufferable Steve Hartman recounted the following story:
After checking into the hotel where he was staying for a celebrity golf tournament in South Lake Tahoe, Hartman made his way to his room. As he stepped off the elevator, he was greeted by a man doing sprints up and down the hallway. It was Jerry Rice, who by this time was retired from the NFL.
Rice nonchalantly explained to Hartman that he had to get his workout in for the day.
When Rice came on the air, Hartman reminded him of the story, to which Rice said hard work is the reason why he was able to play football until he was 42. Without apology, Rice explained that some people are willing to put in the work; some are not. He was.
So is Kobe Bryant.
Cooler Talk: Betting on Butler
RealClear Sports has come out with its list of the best sports documentaries of all-time.
Here's the top 5:
1."Olympia" – Never heard of it, but it's about Jesse Owens vs. Hitler, or Good vs. Evil, so it's got that going for it, which is nice.
2. "Hoop Dreams" – Brilliant
3. "Baseball" – Is it over yet?
4. "When we were Kings" – Fascinating, especially if you didn't grow up in the age of Ali
5. "The Endless Summer" – Similar story to what our dog does as he follows the sun around the windows in our house.
My personal favorite: "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." That prayer at the dinner table – so real, so gripping.
Somewhere, General Larry Platt is smiling
Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was kicked out of a Dallas mall for wearing his pants too low. Or at least that's how it started. Seriously.
The incident happened at the North Park Center where, apparently, police asked Bryant and his boys to pull up their pants because they were "wearing their pants halfway down their hips exposing their underwear."
Seems like a reasonable request, except I have to wonder: would said cops make the same request for an exposed thong?
Hines Ward vs. The Karate Kid
It's a question that must be answered, if only because they're going head-to-head on Dancing With The Stars where, after one episode, The Karate Kid is winning, at least according to that weird Bruno guy.
Let's break down this matchup:
Ward: Two Super Bowl titles
Karate Kid: All Valley Karate champion
Decision: Even though Daniel-san took down Cobra Kai and wasn't put in a body bag by Johnny, he only has the one title. Edge: Ward
Ward: Troy Polamalu wig
Karate Kid: Shower
Decision: Wearing a Polamolu wig is like a girl dressing up like a hooker – totally unoriginal. On the flip side, have you ever seen a more original costume than a shower? Daniel totally worked it to his advantage in getting a little alone time with Ali with an I. And though the reason behind the costume was a bit cowardly, Daniel totally made up for it by raining on Johnny's high in the bathroom. Edge: Karate Kid
Ward: Ex-wife Simone with an 'E'
Karate Kid: Ex-girlfriend Ali with an 'I'
Decision: Simone is an entertainment reporter; Ali went on to play Chris Parker in "Adventures in Babysitting." Edge: Karate Kid
Ward: Bill Cowher
Karate Kid: Mr. Miyagi
Decision: Mr. Miyagi was pretty cool and all, what with that junkyard full of old cars and a totally badass Zen garden, but he couldn't catch a fly with chopsticks. Bill Cowher could scare a fly in to sitting just by scowling. Edge: Ward
So there you have it – it's a tie. Guess it will have to be settled on the dance floor. That's right – it's a dance off.