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Kobe Bryant wants you to keep on doubting him

Jan 11, 2012, 2:14 PM EDT

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

Six years ago, if Kobe Bryant dropped 48 points in a game, we called it Tuesday. It seemed like nothing out of the ordinary. There were a couple highlights on SportsCenter, his fantasy owners patted themselves on the back, and then we pretty much moved on because we saw this all the time.

But in 2012, Kobe’s wrist is supposed to hurt too much, he’s too old, and his Lakers trying to evolve the offense away from him toward Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The Lakers are no longer the favorites to represent the West in the NBA finals. They are on the downslope, their leader no longer capable of carrying them to the promised land.

Kobe eats that stuff up.

He dropped 48 on the Suns and it’s news now. No guy in the league for 16 years has ever scored that many points. For Kobe it’s just another chance to prove you wrong. Check out his post-game quote, via friend of this site Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times Lakers Blog.

“Not bad for the seventh best player in the league,” Bryant said in a shot at the ranking a panel of ESPN writers gave him this offseason.

Maybe Michael Jordan was the only other player who could take a perceived slight — like only being the seventh best player in the NBA or a playoff loss from six years ago to the Suns — and have it fuel him for a Tuesday night regular season game in January. Kobe remembers everything.

With that comes nights like Tuesday. He came out hot — 17 first quarter points on 8-of-11 shooting — and at that point coaches and teammates just get out of the way because when he is hot there are few like him. His confidence and belief in himself can still fuel monster games.

With it also comes nights like last week’s 6-for-28 shooting games. He was clearly ice cold and yet his confidence and belief in himself is such that he keeps shooting through the slump because he is sure next one will fall. There are no mid-game adjustments to pull back and feed the rock to others. It’s not how he is wired.

Like a character out of a classic Greek tragedy, Kobe’s greatest strength is also his weakness. Always has been, it’s just that before the injuries and miles piled up on his body, the downside didn’t show as much.

But go ahead and believe that he can’t keep up this 29.5 points per game scoring average while shooting 46 percent. Keep thinking he can’t carry the Lakers deep into the playoffs like he used to. That’s just more fuel to the fire for him.

  1. nicosanchez02 - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    And people want him off the USA roster!! Including this site!!!

  2. pudgalvin - Jan 11, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Does he get to play Phoenix in the Olympics?

  3. p1nch3dloaf - Jan 11, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Playoffs?!….ain’t gonna happen without world peace. Bynum and Gasol aside, the roster’s been a bowl of whirled peas.

    Ron Artest>Metta World Peace

  4. spree8 - Jan 11, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    noone that old has never scored so many points??? That a lie

    • humanvue - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:13 PM

      You’re right. According to http://www.basketball-reference.com the following players were older when they scored 48 points or more.

      Michael Jordan x 4 times
      Andre Miller
      Hakeem Olajuwon
      Bernard King x 3 times
      Karl Malone
      Alex English
      Larry Bird

      It’s nice that we can use our free time to put in work that Kurt gets paid to do, but doesn’t.

      • Kurt Helin - Jan 11, 2012 at 9:54 PM

        That note came straight from Elias Sports Bureau, but I was not clear. No players in the league more than 16 years have scored that much, I have edited the post to reflect that.

  5. zacksdad - Jan 11, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    “No guy that old has ever scored that many points.”

    You are quoting another article that states no one that has played that many seasons has never done it, but it does not mention age.

    Can you verify your statement and correct if needed.

    • spree8 - Jan 11, 2012 at 5:09 PM

      exactly! why i got 12 thumbs down is beyond me because what i said was true. that statement was a lie. appearently Kurt forgot that MJ scored 50 when he was almost 40

    • dirtydavis - Jan 11, 2012 at 7:48 PM

      Ok…. Either way Kobe Bryant is destined for historic scoring season.

  6. loungefly74 - Jan 11, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    good. i love “an angry kobe”. with what he has done in his career, he has earned the right to shoot like that. and lets face it, if the Laker’s front office had an issue with his approach, something would have been done about it. the guy is still world-class.

    @p1nch3dloaf, i agree that he does need a complete contribution from the rest of the team to win another ring. that’s a no brainer. everybody has to have there moments…even guys like barnes and blake for the Lakers to win.

  7. ebrownwareagle - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    BEEEEEAN!!! Still the best in the league!

  8. lakerluver - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Kobe is the ONLY perimeter player that can be put in the same sentence as MJ. If he wins another ring or two he could very well surpass MJ. Personally, I think when the conversation of the greatest NBA player ever is brought up, the name Wilt Chamberlin should be the first name spoken. 100 pts, 50 for a entire season, and 25 rebounds says it all for me!!

  9. skinzfan21 - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Can this guy give up the MJ persona already!!! Its gotten old…….why take a list personal when you’ve obviously began to slow down and there’s younger stars people would rather begin a franchise with? Only makes sense…….spend less time putting on an act with your “not so injured wrist” and build to your legacy by holding grudges against more formidable opponents!! The Suns had no idea of this grudge! I’m still waiting for this guy to get revenge on someone like the Miami Heat for that embarrassing Xmas whippin he took……go drop 48 on them and announce your hate for Lebron to the world and then i’d buy in!! Until then, always remember father time is undefeated, dont take it so personal

    • mfdr111 - Jan 12, 2012 at 2:55 AM

      The miami heat? your idol is thew biggest choker in the history of sports and got treated like a female dog by shawn marion….yo’u a clown just like your idol…GTFOutta here

  10. makjak2 - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    I heard Kwame was the one that told him that he could carry the Lakers. Give credit where credit is due.

  11. glink123 - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Spot on. Kobe = 2012 MVP

  12. fouldwimmerlaik - Jan 11, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Kobe can do anything he wants to do. He is Kobe. No body can claim to be any better. Go Kobe!!!

  13. cluelessdufus - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    who said we doubted him

  14. smoothaswilkes - Jan 11, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    Kobe Bryant is the new Chuck Norris

  15. adubman - Jan 12, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    40 tonight, 48 last night….Kobe Bryant is not of this mortal realm. There are 8 to 12 year old kids watching him that will always remember where they were when Kobe was shooting the lights out!! In my 45+ years following the Lakers, I can honestly say, I’ve never seen anyone quite like #24…..quite simply, he’s dogged, gritty, conditioned, ridiculously gifted, determined, steely, and most of all, an assassin. The Lakers have had its share of the greatest that ever played the game & Kobe belongs in the same sentence with them.

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