Ladies and Gentlemen, #8 Kobe Has Returned to the Lakers

One of the underlying stories of the chaotic 2011-12 NBA season was the following: "What would the Los Angeles Lakers look like with a new regime change, with new role players and an aging Kobe Bean Bryant?"

At the onset, there was an immediate shift in casual fandom, as the Lob City era officially became a movement by the arena-sharing Clippers and the Lakers now had competition within their own area code. Things didn't seem optimistic at first for Laker Nation, and as the "leader" of the troops went down with an apparently serious injury to his shooting wrist, the Macaulay Culkin face was in full effect for the folks wearing Forum Blue and Gold.

Then Kobe Bryant went into the time machine.

What's transpired over the last week or so has been something out of a classic replay of games on NBA TV or ESPN Classic, as if Kobe went and found his old bold block font No. 8, went an found an old afro pick, started talking to cute R&B singers and put on his Adidas Crazy Eight's to reminisce.

The old Kobe we've all come to know and, in some ways, love, is back. The Gunner Kobe who wears blinders for 40 minutes a game and goes out and gets his shot with no regard for human life. Pass the ball to a posting up Andrew Bynum down in the paint? Naw, I'm going to take this baseline fade. Kick it Pau Gasol at the elbow? Naw, I'm going to get to the rim. Kick it to Derek Fisher for the corner three? Nah, I'll take this three at the top of the key instead.

Over the last week, Kobe Bryant is averaging 36.6 points/game in his last five, in which the Lakers are 4-1. Maybe the belief that Michael Jordan and Kobe have had about the triangle has a bit of merit, that it limits the freedom of a singular superstar like a Kobe or MJ. Of course, the triangle was never about a singular player, but the symmetry and balance that helped the entire offense. It won 11 championships's not a bad offense.

Yet, this Kobe seems to have the freedom to do things he used to do from 1996-99, when an inept Del Harris would like Kobe grow on the fly; you know, jack up untimely jumpers in critical situations and be a "Jack'em Joe" all-star. Now at age 33, Bean has shown that his offensive arsenal is vast and is poised to use his repertoire of skills at a moment's notice. As someone who loathes Kobe, even I can appreciate what I'm witnessing.

It'll be interesting to see if Kobe can keep it up. That wrist doesn't seem to be healing any faster as pain-killing injections are now part of the pre-game warmup routine and that German-engineered knee could be built like a 7 Series Beamer or an old refurbished Beetle that's been rusting in a junkyard. No one really knows.

Lets enjoy it for what it is, because it will always be funny to see Kobe look off an open Luke Walton in the corner and go 2-on-1 and shoot the J.

12 Replies to “Ladies and Gentlemen, #8 Kobe Has Returned to the Lakers”

  1. He seems to be using all the questions about age and injury, along with the insistence that he defer more to Bynum and Gasol, as fuel to prove everyone Kobe is still Kobe. As much as I hate him, I'm enjoying watching him play as much as ever.

  2. It's fun watching Kobe like this, BUT the Lakers have to win this year to validate Kobe going 5th gear so early in the season, right? At what point does Kobe scoring like this and being used in this manner become a negative for him and the team? If you running this high/hard this early in a hellacious season as this, he may have nothing left come playoff time or next year going forward. Regardless of what happens this is definitely fun to watch...

    1. Kinda reminds me of KG over the last two years. He was going so hard trying to prove that he could do it at an older age, he broke down before the postseason began. Unfortunately, this is Kobe and unless that wrist breaks or knee snaps then...he's gonna be out there.

  3. He seems to be channeling all of the demons in his life and using them as motivation. His family life, his personal endeavors, his age, his doubters and the naysayers are all being used as fuel to prove everyone wrong. Also it's his first time outside of the triangle offense in his career. Remember how Mike played before the triangle offense. Mike would score 45 - 50 on any given night because the breakdown of the clock left him going one on one. Remember what Lebron was doing in this offense as well. I am sure Kobe can get his numbers in this new offense but I am not so sure he can win another ring in this offense. But it is nice to see the Mamba spit his venom once again.

  4. Kobe's is averaging his 2nd highest total of assists in his career. The sign of a great player is when your usage rate is high but your advanced (efficiency) metrics stay high. Most players who are "gunners" have awful advanced metrics. And those players usually have teams that lose.

    Kobes metrics stay high. Kobe wins.

    1. He's playing phenomenal basketball right now, i think stylistically it takes me personally back to his #8 days....when he would be a gunner. Some might not view him as one now, but his metrics are off the charts right now. Amazing.

  5. Fact about Kobe when his life is n shambles he balls rape charge he balled his woman gone now he's ballin outta control that new knee got him n his time machine . And its all vanessas fault lol and I got him in the 2nd rd of the fantasy draft how tight is that?

  6. Completely agree w/ Vthrilla. Although it is fun to watch Kobe do his thing and be not only good, but great at it. Now without the assurance of having his triangle and being able to predict their moves from years of playing together. I feel that this new coach is gonna wear him out too quick, ie; Iverson. He racked up points won some games but at the end all he had to show were more injuries than playoff games.

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