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Kobe says his USA teammates can’t teach him anything new

Aug 9, 2012, 9:45 AM EDT

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It was vintage Kobe Bryant.

For the first half and a few minutes of the third quarter against Australia he was just not good — 0-for-5 shooting, three turnovers and Coach K had taken him off the Aussies best scorer in Patty Mills.

But if Kobe is 0-for-5 he is sure the sixth shot will fall and he will take it without fear. And in the third quarter Wednesday he knocked down a three, then on the next possession stole the ball and turned that into a corner three. After that it was on. He finished with 20 second half points as he rained down threes and looked invincible.

Kobe has that run in him at all times, his confidence never waivers. Never. For better or worse.

As examples of that, look at what the quotes, from Jeff Zillgitt of the USA Today (via Ball Don’t Lie).

When a news reporter suggested Bryant was the best U.S offensive player in the low post other than center Tyson Chandler, Bryant stopped the question.

“No, no, no,” Bryant said. “Not other than Tyson Chandler. I’m the best post player on this team, period. Tyson Chandler is not in that conversation.”

Asked what it’s like to be the old guy on the team, Bryant said, “I’m where everybody wants to get to. I just happen to be still playing.”

“Can you learn anything from these young guys?” he was asked.

Bryant: “No.”

“You know everything?”

Bryant: “I don’t know if I know it all, but I know more than they do.”

What you think of those quotes is really what you think about Kobe. His fans love his brash confidence and point to his accomplishments and titles (count the ringzzzz!) and correctly note Kobe wouldn’t have that if he didn’t possess that level of confidence. The confidence to take and make big shots

His detractors will point to the missed big shots, the playoff losses, the times he shot the Lakers out of games late with isolations rather than getting the ball inside to mismatches on Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum. They say he has something to learn still.

As usual, the truth is in the middle. Like the hero of a classic Greek myth, Kobe’s greatest strength can also be his undoing. His confidence is what makes him both great and infuriating. (Although Kobe is spot on about Chandler’s post game, the conversation is about LeBron, Kobe and ‘Melo.)

I’m not sure Kobe really does have much to learn from the guys on Team USA. But how he applies what he knows can be frustrating at times.

It’s just all part of Kobe.

  1. borderline1988 - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    He’s pretty arrogant. Those comments are not impressive in the slightest, and as a role model, Kobe is failing fans miserably.

    And to let you know, arrogance and confidence are not the same thing. Often, arrogant people actually have real self-confidence issues underneath it all (not saying that Kobe has that issue, just making a point).

    Regardless of how great of a player he is, he honestly seems like a total arrogant jerk when he makes statements like those. Maybe he is the closest thing to Michael Jordan after all.

  2. dougmanoh - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Add one hash mark to the Hate ‘em Column please.

  3. omniusprime - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Only a fool thinks he can’t learn something new. I thought Kobe was smarter than that but his overblown ego makes him sound so arrogantly stupid. Napoleon said he learned everything he needed to know about warfare before he ever fought his first battle, no wonder he ended up losing the war. The older I get, the more that I learn still teaches me there is still far more to learn. Kobe still has much to learn about sounding smart instead of smarta$$.

  4. diablito0402 - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    @omnimusprime,
    Dont be ingnorant, kobe got more rings than the rest of the team put together,he is in the same sentence with jordan, its like saying jordan can learn something from joe dumars or something, the best clutch player in this era, come on man WEAK SAUCE!!!

  5. itsonlyaspeedbump - Aug 9, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    It would be silly to dismiss Kobe’s accomplishments by calling him a ball-hog or arrogant jerk. He has to be considered a top-10 player by almost any measure. The only thing that gets me is the ‘count the rings’ argument.

    Bill Russell has ELEVEN rings. Does that make him the greatest ever?

    Robert Horry has 7 rings, and hit numerous clutch shots in the playoffs with Rockets, Spurs, and of course the Lakers. But no one would be silly enough to argue that his rings, or even his clutch shooting would put him in the same hemisphere as Kobe as a player.

    Kobe’s championships (3 of which he got as the 2nd most important player on his team) should not be such a huge factor in the discussion of his (or any basketball player’s) greatness.

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