Of course he did. Every legit super hero has the back of his trusted sidekick. (Getty Images)
From the firing of Mike Brown through the courting of Phil Jackson to the hiring of Mike D'Antoni, with all the amazement and agita in between, it's fair to say that it's been a pretty eventful few days for the Los Angeles Lakers. So the great Lee Jenkins uses this lede for his piece on a whirlwind weekend in L.A.:
Kobe Bryant did not speak to reporters after practice Monday because Lakers point guard Steve Blake suffered an abdominal strain and could only get an appointment with an Orange County doctor in the early afternoon, so Bryant flew him there in his helicopter to avoid any irksome traffic on the 405.
... it seems completely appropriate and par for the course — so long as, y'know, the course is kind of over-the-top and far afield from the experiences of us mere mortals.
As FoxSportsWest.com's Joe McDonnell notes, this is (amazingly) not altogether uncommon — Bryant frequently makes private helicopter trips to and from Lakers practices and games "instead of traversing the often-crowded Southern California freeways [...] from his Orange County home." Nothing quite like being able to keep the cherry red $329,000 Ferrari in the garage in favor of something cooler.
Our friends at the Yahoo! Sports Minute have more on the Black Mamba hustling his trusted sidekick (let's call him Caretaker, I guess) to the Mambacopter, delivering a hearty "Mamba out" to the crowd below and soaring away:
Blake, the 32-year-old backup point guard who has been bumped up to the starting job for the past five games since offseason acquisition Steve Nash suffered a small non-displaced fracture in his left leg in the Lakers' second game of the season, told ESPNLosAngeles.com's Brian Kamenetzky that the abdominal injury isn't necessarily new, but it has gotten worse:
"It's something I've been dealing with for the last couple games. I've been trying to push through it, but [during Sunday's game] it was hurting pretty bad," Blake said. "I think I can try to play through anything, but I don't know if it would be good for me to try and play through it because it will probably never heal. It's one of those things where we have to make a decision."
Blake aggravated the strain during L.A.'s 103-90 Sunday night victory over the Sacramento Kings, limiting him to just 14 minutes of floor time and an early third-quarter removal from the game. He missed practice Monday prior to his helicopter trip to an ultrasound appointment designed to determine the extent of the injury. Pretty cool teamwork, Kobe. You get an A+ for leadership, loyalty, camaraderie and 'coptering.
The Lakers have ruled Blake out for Tuesday night's marquee matchup with the Western Conference-leading San Antonio Spurs, meaning that starting lead-guard duties will fall to either third-year man Darius Morris (hmm) or oft-forgotten man Chris Duhon (yikes). Sounds like L.A. might need some more heroic, teammate-saving stuff from Kobe Tuesday night; I'm sure Lakers fans feel fairly comfortable with that scenario.