October 13, 2009
In case you missed it, Y!'s Adrian Wojnarowski absolutely laid waste to Golden State's pathetic ownership, executive, coaching and, um, on-court personnel the other day. Absolutely, rightfully, destroyed that miserable lot that has helped ruin Bay Area pro basketball for a decade and a half's worth of fans that certainly didn't deserve it.
But buried deep inside the connected haymakers was this little line, one that had me laughing out loud:
"Jackson flipped on Friday night in Los Angeles when Nellie let him stay on the floor to pick up five fouls and a technical inside of 10 minutes. Jax was at wit's end when he started clinging close to Kobe Bryant(notes). One source on the court says Kobe addressed Jax as ‘Young Fella,' and for some odd reason that pushed Jackson over the edge. Soon, Jackson was cursing Nellie and storming to the locker room on his way to a two-game preseason suspension."
I'm sorry, that's such a jerk move, but I can't help but love it.
Bird would have done that. Magic would have done that, Michael Jordan probably did that, and each of the members of the "done that" community would have known exactly what they were doing.
Known that the "young fella" in question was actually the same age or older. And, yes, you guessed it, Jackson has four months on Kobe.
Don't blame this on Kobe missing the transactions wire. Missing the news that sent Jackson to a community college while Kobe went straight to the pros, or forgetting that he bounced around, played in New Jersey, suffered with the Spurs, before showing up to guard Bryant in the 2003 playoffs.
A playoff turn that, if you'll remember, saw the Spurs bounce the Lakers. Ah.
Kobe remembers this stuff. Just as he remembered that Raja Bell(notes) was an integral late-season addition for the 2001 Philadelphia 76ers, a team that gave Kobe and his Lakers fits in that year's Finals. And that Bell played tough D on Kobe for years, over several different teams, before Kobe called him "kid" while talking about Bell to the media in 2006.
Bell is, of course, two years older than Kobe Bryant.
No, this isn't Kobe Bryant acting as a fair-weather fan, unaware of Jackson and Bell's presence until recently, thinking them some up-and-comer. He knows exactly what's going on and how to get them off their game.
And boy did it send Jackson off his game the other night. Five fouls and a technical in the first quarter alone. Enough frustration to take an already teetering situation with the Warriors and "coach" Don Nelson, and send him over the edge.
Does Bryant need to do this? Hell no.
Are the Warriors any threat to come near the playoffs this year? Of course not. Does he need to plant that seed in Jackson and Golden State now, in order to take advantage of that frustration in the spring? No way. Even if Jackson were shipped to a Western contender, does he need that edge on Jackson? Not even close.
He's just that much of a competitor. Some might think, "get a life," and I wouldn't blame them. But I'm thinking that this is a guy that reminds of a player who played in an era before elaborate pregame kiss-and-hug sessions.
I'm not saying this is a good thing. Not telling you that the game is worse these days, now that most players are able to chill out and actually make a clear distinction between proper adult tact and competitive zeal, with that distinction shifting once the opening jump ball goes up.
What I am saying is that Kobe is one of the last of a rare breed, and that I can't help but love it when he pulls junk like this.