This article is probably two-and-a-half months late, but this is the result of watching way too many old clips of NBA All-Star games and talking with fellow basketball fans. That All-Star game would be the 2001 edition, and that fellow basketball fan would Justin Tinsley.
Tins and I spend way too much time talking about a player’s legacy. If you’ve read Tins long enough, you know that the man’s number one focus is the legacy of Mr. LeBron Raymone James. The man is slightly obsessed, but that’s okay, because that’s his favorite player. Its the type of thing we all do with “our” guys. Of course, legacies are remembered in time, and Tinsley shared a gem of a Youtube clip which highlights the 2001 All-Star game. Who knew a certain five-time NBA champion’s legacy would be sullied by bad advice he’d give 11 years later?
We all remember what happened in the 2012 All-Star Game. LeBron had the ball in his hand, got the ball to Deron Williams wide open off a stagger screen, and Deron missed. The ball gets deflected up in the area, and the ball gets back into LeBron’s hands. LeBron’s doubled, he dribbles and sees Dwyane Wade flash open in the corner. LeBron’s 35-feet away from the rim with two folks around him, so LeBron whips the ball late and Blake Griffin intercepts. Game over.
Of course, who’s got something to say to LeBron for his decision making? Kobe Bryant, that’s who.
Kobe chastises LeBron, pleading with him to shoot the damn ball. Even LeBron’s teammates looked on with confusion, not sure to make of what just transpired.
Oh, Kobe. You realize we got you on camera, right?
Lets step back in the time machine to 2001, West down one, with ten seconds to go.
Kobe. You passed the ball after a double team came your way, right? Hell, it’s understandable. You got Dikembe Mutombo flying at you; pass the ball. I mean…you could’ve shot it, yes. But you didn’t. Why? Because it’s not the smart basketball play. Thus, you passed it to the best power forward of our generation.
Yet, you have the unmitigated gall and audacity to chastise LeBron for passing the ball from 35 feet away? No, man. Go sit down, stop telling people how to play the game, and focus on doing what people who used to wear #8 and rock afros do. Go hard and just play the damn game.
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”