Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I apologize in advance for this. I know, I know. . .I haven’t updated this blog in God knows how long and now I’m writing about . . . basketball?
I promise, I will get back on the reality TV blogging bandwagon in a few weeks with the return of Project Runway and Top Chef. (Not sure if I’m blogging about Top Chef Masters, although NYC Prep does hold a certain allure. . .)
But I have to defend my man, Kobe Bean Bryant, aka The Black Mamba, aka (in my house, at least) The Kobester.
Mind you, if I had to defend Kobe every time some highly biased, unfair, or just plain mean-spirited ink was spilled over him, it would be a full time job. . .with lots of overtime.
(I already had a major rant about his unfair media treatment here.)
But today I simply have to chime in about a subject that has been lighting up sports websites and blogs across the nation.
I am referring, of course, to Kobe’s face.
In the course of these NBA finals, Kobe Bryant has rolled out a new facial expression, above.
His teeth are bared, his jaw is jutting out, his eyes are glaring. He looks a bit like a cross between a pit bull and a really frustrated toddler. (Kobe may intimidate with his game, but his face is just a little too choir boy to really be an effective weapon). In all my years following Kobe as an athlete, he has never pulled out this face. Early in his career, during his slavish-MJ-emulating days, he trotted out the tongue. Since then, there have been a host of post-basket gestures: The Dikembe finger-wag, the fist pump freeze, the airplane takes flight, the my-balls-are-bigger-than-yours, etc.
I have no idea what this face is except to say this:
When you’re Kobe Bean Bryant, always the most intense guy on the court, where do you go when you want to amp the intensity just a little bit more?
You go to this face.
I’m serious. Kobe’s pit-bull face is his equivalent of “This one goes to 11.” He’s always an animal on the court. Now, in his quest for his 4th ring, he’s a certified beast.
But what are the haters saying? How could I not see this coming? That the face is FAKE.
That this face—contorted in intensity, testosterone, and just a wee bit of rage—is all part of the Kobe Bryant public image machine. He’s trying to prove to us, through his face, just how bad he wants it. He’s kind of like an NBA mime. His grimace is as fake as his post-game reunion with his adorable daughters and his wife in the tunnel (he just does that to pretend he’s a good father!), his diplomatic graciousness at the Olympics (he’s just doing that to pretend he’s a good American!), and, of course, his on-court trash talking (which ESPN writer Tim Keown ludicrously said was all an act.)
So here’s my response to this nonsense:
Kobe doesn’t need to prove how intense he is, just ask any of his teammates or opponents.
If the face was somehow calculated, don’t you think he’d pick a more—how shall I put this—telegenic face? I mean, that face ain’t got no alibi.
And finally I’ll say this: The fact that column inches and radio air time have been wasted on the legitimacy of Kobe’s face proves two things: That sports journalists have WAY too much time on their hands. (Duh.) And that Kobe could donate his body to science and people would argue that he was just doing it to get some good post-mortem pub.
Just for the record, I believe in The Face! The Face is great! The Face ain’t no mistake! The Face is on the case!
Lakers in 5, bitches.