Kobe Bryant’s nightly is-he-or-isn’t-he-terrible debate took a turn with his 31-point performance against Washington, but all points of view are welcome here, as long as we can criticize both application and target. From Greg Howard of Deadspin:
“He is not playing like s---; he is a s----y player. But what he also is, and what he has always been, is utterly, unapologetically shameless. Shamelessness is different from bravery (which he has) or confidence (which all great players have). Bryant’s shamelessness stems from his single-mindedness. He wants to win, and he wants to further cement his legacy, even if his playing ensures the very opposite. He now finds himself the leader of a team that is — largely because of him and his poor reputation as a teammate — too young and too untalented to do anything but lose, wait, and have another go next autumn. But that’s too late for Bryant, and so he has put his teammates on his back and is dragging them to the bottom. It’s glorious! His shamelessness is why he’s still shooting 18 times a game; his shamelessness is why he is somehow still the Lakers’ best scoring option.”
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In other NBA news that doesn’t use the words “Stephen,” “Curry” or “preposterous,” James Harden has put the finger on his suddenly rancid defensive instincts and desire.
“Forty a night is pretty tough, especially if you want to get efficient on both ends of the floor,” Harden said to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “We got to figure it out. We have to figure out how to give guys more minutes and be more effective on the court so as a team we can get better.”
When asked if the workload was limiting his effectiveness defensively, Harden said, “Who do you know now who is playing 40 minutes at a high level on both ends of the floor nowadays? Playing those minutes, you’re going to have some lapses, you’re going to have some mistakes. I try not to worry about them. I try to give it my all on both ends of the floor and live with the results.”
Ladies and gentlemen, not your 2015-16 Most Valuable Player.
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Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is apparently going to take to the vacant Georgia head coaching job, but head coach Nick (Fun Times Ahead) Saban referred all questions to . . . well, let’s go to him.
“I can’t say any — I don’t have anything else to say about it, so don’t ask. There is no more. I know you would like, in some kind of way, to extract something out of this bottle that’s not there. It’s not there. You all speculate and create things, and then you want people to respond to it. Get this bottle to respond to it, because I don’t know anything more than that. I told you everything I know. You can ask the bottle, but don’t ask me.”
Which reminds me, this, about 3:30 in this video.
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Matt Hasselbeck, the serial calendar-cheater making the Indianapolis Colts a viable team again, has been drug-tested three times since the start of the 2014 season, including this August and just the other day. The reason: If I’m his lawyer, I say it’s because he’s 40, and his record as Andrew Luck’s surrogate is 4-0.
Or maybe it’s the ESPN story headlined, “Matt Hasselbeck embraces different methods to heal 40-year old body”
Evidently methods that evade his urinary tract, the sly old fox.
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Former Shark/current Coyote John Scott is the latest NHL player whom voters are trying to prank-vote into the All-Star Game. From the AZ Central:
“Currently sitting at the top of the All-Star fan voting ahead of Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane and Jaromir Jagr, Scott was asked by reporters Wednesday what he thought about being the latest subject of a fan rally to vote in a unique player to the All-Star roster.
I don’t know what’s going on,” he told Sarah McClellan of AZCentral. “I just kind of stay out of it. The guys are giving me a hard time about it, but it’s kind of neat. The fans, they obviously like me for some reason.
“I don’t want to have my name in the headlines for this reason. Like, it’s a fun little thing and hopefully it’ll die down over time. It’s not something — I definitely don’t want to be voted into the All-Star Game.”
Yes he does (“You never know. There’s still some time left. I could turn it on.”) So do fellow prank-targets Shayne Gostisbehere of Philadelphia (59th in the voting) and Boston’s hired fist Zac Rinaldo (98th). They all join previous voting favorites Rory Fitzpatrick of Vancouver (2006) or Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons last year, largely on a voting surge from everyone who can identify Latvia on a map.
In other words, if you vote, vote Scott. You’ll feel better about yourself.
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More genuine in his refusal is the 43-year-old New Jersey Devil/Hall Of Famer in stasis Jagr, who tweeted, “Fans – I appreciate your votes for All-Star game, but 3 on 3 would kill me, and i don't want to die yet :) Thank you for understanding. Too old :)”
Nice, but old is the new young. Ask Kobe.
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And finally, Stephen Curry’s next contract will have a “fourth quarters played” provision. Through Wednesday, he doesn’t have enough time accrued to get benefits.