Thursday, May 15, 2008

Kobe Bryant Is Better Than I Thought

It's a little embarrassing to read a Sports Illustrated in a book store, but that's precisely what I was doing at Brentano's for a portion of Monday morning. Embarrassment or not, it turned out to be one of the six best decisions I've made in the last four-and-a-half days. Because...

Larry Bird, on the answering side of Dan Patrick's questions, was asked to compare Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan in terms of closing out games. While Bird flat out refused to put anyone, much less Bryant, in Jordan's category, he did have this to say about Bryant's greatness:

"Kobe is the best player in our league and has been for some time. When someone told me the other day that Kobe hadn't won an MVP trophy, it sort of made me feel like I wanted to throw mine away."

Think about that.

I was blown away when I read this. So blown away, in fact, that I asked the nice lady at Brentano's if I could borrow a pen and a piece of paper to write down exactly what Bird said.

This wasn't one of those caught-up-in-the-moment situations, where a game analyst is so overwhelmed that he heaps too much praise on the superstar performance he just witnessed. This was Larry Bird, in a quiet Q & A session.

Have you ever seen Larry Bird interviewed? He can be dull at times, but I would never say he's prone to hyperbole.

Kobe Bryant is better than I thought. Somehow.

-Brad Spieser (