Friday, October 10, 2008

Kobe Bryant and the Olympics

I remember reading an article about who amongst the star-studded Olympic team would take the last shot. With so many alpha-males on the team, would there be fighting and confusion over who would have the ball in their hands as the game wound down.

I admit I bought into the confusion; however the answer should have been easy to figure out. Kobe Bryant was taking the last shot, hands down. No question about it. No confusion.

The rhetorical device used by the article was to simply compare each player on a one-item basis. The author judged each player on their single best merit and came up with a predictable tie. Kobe was a gunner. LeBron was the most athletic and dynamic player. Dwayne Wade was finals MVP. Carmelo was probably the best outside shooter. Dwight Howard was a dominating inside presence. And Coach K was a wayward college coach without the clout to force the other players to agree on who would take the last shot.

But compare the players by their own standards as to whom was the best player:
Lebron James: one finals appearance, one all-star game MVP
Carmelo Anthony: no finals appearances, three time all-star appearances
Dwayne Wade: one Finals MVP, one championship,
Kobe Bryant: 5 finals appearances, three championships, one season MVP, 2 time All-star game MVP, two time scoring champ, 10 time all-star starter, 8 time all-defensive selection, and an 81-point game.
Not to mention Kobe hit the game winner in their Blue-Red scrimmage in Las Vegas last summer, then stopped LeBron on the other end.

So it should have been no surprise to see the ball in Kobe's hands at the end of the game, driving and dishing, hitting a four-point play, and generally being aggressive and attacking when everyone else was focused but not willing to assume the mantle (and risk) of having the ball .

I think an underrated aspect of being on that team was that whoever was taking the last shot had a lot of risk. He would have to justify taking it over everyone else on the team. Considered that way, how could anyone justify shooting when Kobe, a more experienced and accomplished veteran, was on the court?

Summary: The author of the original article use a poor rhetorical device in just looking at the single most impressive accomplishment of each player (which is commonly done) and not looking at their body of work and comparing who had the most status amongst those players.

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