For the breakfast of champions, the Lakers have already won themselves a spot on the box of Wheaties. That was announced moments after Sunday’s Game 5 victory.
For the sports magazine of champions, the Lakers won’t be on this week’s cover. Sports Illustrated has singled out Kobe Bryant as its coverkid. It’s easier for him to sign copies of it.
So, this was Kobe’s moment, eh? OK, now that we got that straight. Not Derek Fisher (who is also now a four-time NBA champ and proved he could win the title this year finally without Shaq). Not Phil Jackson (with that silly “X” yellow hat that his kids made for him in Sunday school). Not Luke Walton (who became the back end of the third father-son combo to ever win a title).
Not even the fans of L.A.’s moment?
Chris Ballard writes the story that includes this paragraph to justify the story’s headline:
“His performance in these Finals was memorable not necessarily for the bursts of scoring (though of course there were those) but for the moments that revealed both his evolution as a player and his near-desperate desire to win. The way he wrestled with Orlando’s Rashard Lewis, elbowing and hooking and kneeing when he had to switch onto the 6′ 10″ forward; the way he bared his teeth after big plays, like a feral animal; the way he dominated not only with baskets but with passes–a shooting guard, Bryant had twice as many assists as any other player in the Finals. Though he would never admit it, his willingness to play whatever role his team needed may have reflected Bryant’s awareness that the era of LeBron James and Dwight Howard is at hand, and that the best way for him to stay relevant, since he can’t do it by sheer force of personality, is by winning.”
There’s also this quote from Kobe, after Ballard asked him about his future and if he could see himself ever backing down and becoming a third option on a team.
Said Kobe, with a frown:
“Third option? I don’t know, that’s tough to see. One thing I’ve always been great at is scoring the ball. Even when I’m 35, I think I’ll be a bad motherf——.”
By the way for those of you non-NBA fans in the Pennsylvania area, SI has a special “Penguins Win!” cover with Sidney Crosby hoisting the Stanley Cup. Imagine how well that would sell in L.A.