Kobe Admits Who He and Wade Really Are

The Lakers play the Heat tonight, which would be annoying if Shaq were still in Miami, and rad if the Heat were any good. Then, you'd get a good, old-fashioned duel between two of the game's foremost offensive forces. That would be Kobe Bryant, whose numbers this season don't tell the whole story, and Dwyane Wade, having the best year since he won that ring in 2005-06. ↵

↵Instead, expect to see Wade valiantly trying to play his way into competitiveness, and Kobe concentrated on rising to the semi-hype of the occasion, but not really needing to. ↵
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↵This classic case of non-parallelism makes all the stranger the following quote from Kobe, where he compares himself and Wade as players. From the Los Angeles Times: ↵

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↵⇥"D. Wade is different than I am, a different personality," Bryant said Thursday night during a promotional appearance at a Florida high school. "I am more a pure scorer, so my way to help the team was to score the ball. I had to score [35] points a game just to beat below-.500 teams. ↵⇥
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↵⇥"I think D. Wade is struggling with [rebuilding] because he wants to pass the ball, set up his teammates. He's used to being on teams where he can do that." ↵
↵Wow, that sounds fun. Kobe, the self-admitted pure scorer, is on a powerhouse team that's taught him to lay back and play somewhat out of character. It's a compromise that got him an MVP, but strange to hear the man himself put it in those terms. Wade, on the other hand, has something of a distributor's instinct, but nowhere to go with it, especially when the team can't get out in transition (Marion rendered useless) and rookie Michael Beasley not yet fully-integrated into the plan, or the pro game. ↵
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↵Most interesting, though, is that Kobe will now make a statement like this. Only a few seasons ago, Bryant would've avoided this description of himself like the plague, since it opens him up to the familia criticisms of "ballhog" and "one-dimensional." Even if those were never particularly accurate, they still had resonance with fans and the media, and were a hindrance to his image's rehabilitation. These days, though, he can be honest about who he is as a player, and in doing so, make it okay for other guys to say their first names followed by "I am a pure scorer." Provided they keep coming to meetings and find a way to satisfy their drives that harms neither themselves nor others.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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