Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kobe vs. LeBron + A Double Post from the Dr.

I am speaking on behalf of all sports fans out there who hate seeing the media focus solely around one or two of the players in their game: I am sick of the Kobe Bryant/LeBron James discussion. Yes I know it’s the playoffs and they both endorse Nike and they are each ridiculously good – but c’mon, there surely must be better things to talk about right now (maybe the fact that each of their teams are being pushed to the brink in these playoffs?).

But don’t worry; the discussion can now be put to rest.

The media loves to focus on stats – heck, who doesn’t – but when you talk about the greatest players in the game those get thrown out the window. The media also likes to focus on completely irrelevant items like our friends at ESPN did recently. The network polled its NBA analysts and columnists to see whether Kobe or LeBron had the best nicknames and commercials, who would be a better soccer of football player, and who would win a spelling bee. All interesting stuff to read, but comes nowhere close to answering the question at hand.

But there can only be one thing that speaks directly to all-time greatness in the National Basketball Association. Rings. Kobe has three; LBJ has none – end of discussion.

Throw out the fact that Kobe played with Shaq, it’s not like LeBron plays with a bunch of clowns (reminder: Mo and Big Ben are former All Stars, the latter being a four time DPOY). The bottom line is the Kobe has stood next to David Stern at the end of the finals three times, and three times hoisted the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy above his head.

This is not to undermine LeBron’s ridiculous skills on the court, or the fact that LeBron will eventually get that ring. But for today, tomorrow, and this very second, it’s all Kobe. Sorry media, discussion over.

-Dr. Murphy


Two weeks ago “Pardon the Interruption” guest host Dan Le Batard told Mike Wilbon that he thought this year’s NBA Playoffs were boring – he was uninterested, had not seen anything that impressed him, and overall didn’t really think “amazing” was happening.

No big deal, right?

Wrong. I didn’t think much of his statement at first, but the more it boiled in my head, the more I began to disagree. This year’s playoffs are not only very good but also have presented interesting story lines that have contributed to such things as the Celtics-Bulls series breaking national TV audience records. The reasons are as follows…

The changing of the guard:
Probably the most obvious. The 2009 Playoffs have seen teams once considered longtime contenders fall at the hands of younger teams finally making a splash in the post-season. The Spurs (doesn’t it feel like they’ve made the playoffs every year since they joined the NBA in 1976?) were ousted in the first round by a Dallas team that was then run through by the red-hot Denver Nuggets. The same Denver team easily dispatched a Hornets squad that only one year ago was contending for a spot in the finals. The same could be said for the Jazz

On the eastern side of the playoff bracket the hyper-athletic Hawks defeated a Miami team only three years removed from a championship. The sweet shooting Magic toppled the defending champs in the second round and now hold a 3-1 series lead over the first seed Cavaliers. Also, the perennially contending Pistons were swept by the Cavaliers.

High octane offense:
The casual NBA fan is not in favor of defensive battles. They want to see scoring in bunches, long threes, and highlight reel dunks – and that is exactly what they are getting this post-season.

LeBron is scoring almost a point per minute at 36 a game. Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony aren’t far behind with 29 and 27 points per game, respectively. Ben Gordon hit over 30 twice on a bad leg. Dwight Howard is even getting in on the action, dunking and free throwing his way to over 20 a game.

Team scoring is up too. Denver tops 110 points per game against a Lakers opponent that gets themselves 102. Chicago averaged 108 against the defending champs. Even Cleveland and Orlando are nearing 100 per contest.

The stars are shining bright:
People don’t pay to watch Ben Wallace play spot minutes and defend Dwight Howard. They want to see the premier players on each team go at each other, and it is exactly what the audience is getting. LeBron is getting ridiculous numbers while receiving absolutely no help. Orlando’s forward combo of Turkoglu and Lewis has delivered in the clutch while Dwight Howard is busy tearing down shot clocks. Kobe turns it on in the fourth quarter every night. Carmelo Anthony is finally living up to his billing, even garnering praise from Mr. Big Shot himself Chauncey Billups. Early on fans got to see Rajon Rondo inhale triple doubles with Paul Pierce being as clutch as ever.

Every game in these playoffs the road team threatens to steal home court. Every night someone hits a game changing shot in crunch time. And as it stands right now, nobody (sorry Mo Williams) can guarantee who will actually make it to the final stage.

You know what Dan Le Batard, the playoffs this year are exciting, interesting, thrilling, (insert superlative here), maybe you just need to watch.

-Dr. Murphy


  1. Murph,

    Your comments that LeBron James' supporting cast is strong because it is buoyed by former all-stars holds little weight. These players are not premier players today. (Even "The Glove" Gary Payton played too long, same with Scottie Pippen on the Rockets, and Shaq now).

    With that being said, at no point were Ben Wallace / Mo Williams / Delonte West even remotely of the talent level of Shaq. This means that even if these players were of "All-Star Talent," they are not of Shaq-Kobe-LeBron talent. The way I see it, neither Kobe or LeBron have won a title without Shaq (obviously for LeBron) and both have lost in the finals. Kobe can be the one if he wins this year and vice versa for LeBron.

    Until then, its too hard to give definitives.

  2. First of all, I would never dare say that Ben Wallace and Mo Williams are as good as Shaq - but its not like they are garbage players. If LeBron was the leader Kobe is he would have them playing much better to begin with.
    All I'm saying is that take some of the credit Shaq gets for those rings and give it to Kobe.

  3. I completely agree with the fact that Kobe, who is the most skilled player I have ever seen (Yes I said it.... Sorry Jordan & LeBron), deserves more credit than he gets.

    Although, I think Kobe's bitchfest that led to breaking up that dynasty was stupid.