One year ago today, Kobe Bryant pulled his big douchebag move and demanded a trade from the Lakers. Now, one year later, the Lakers are in the finals. Now everyone's blowing Kobe because he led his team to the finals… including Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike in the Morning (audio link):
"I don't think this has ever happened in my lifetime, not that I can think of. I can't think of anybody that had had such a complete 180 occur in their career. To consider how despondent he was… you gotta remember I had spoken to him a couple of days prior to him coming on my radio show last year and announcing to the world that he wanted to be traded and for exactly a year later to be in the situation where he's the reigning league MVP… where he's on his way to the NBA finals… where its entirely possible and likely that he'll capture an NBA world championship just two months removed from leading the United States to a gold medal… considering all the things he's accomplished and the metamorphosis that has taken place in regards to his image… I've never seen anything like it, I really haven't. But its a tribute to him… its unprecedented… its miraculous… but you talk about the American Dream and how anything is possible… definitely… when you look at what has transpired with him over the last year you can't argue. As Don King will tell you… only in America."
Where do I start?
Kobe Bryant was an MVP candidate last year who led his team to a 7th seed. Afterwards, he dickishly took his trade demands to YouTube. This year, he won the MVP and led his team to a 1 seed.
Where, pray tell, is the turn around? Where, kind sir, is this miraculous, unprecedented American Dream?
The Lakers, after improved play from Andrew Bynum, the return of a stabilizing force in Derek Fisher, and a trade that most people consider so lopsided that they half-jokingly called for an investigation… have made the NBA finals. Turnaround?
Dare I say that this was expected from Kobe Bryant and the Lakers?
This wind-bag hyperbole fest is exactly why people like me hate Stephen A. Smith. To flat out say that a perennial MVP candidate experienced some kind of metamorphosis simply because his GM had enough smarts not to trade him for pennies on the dollar is one of the most ridiculous arguments that I've ever heard. Congratulations to Kobe for coming out and actually playing up to his potential after not getting traded.
Stephen A…. that's not a turnaround… Kobe simply did his job. He had a great season. He deserved the MVP. His team dserved to be in the Finals. But this was NOT a turnaround.
I guarantee you this: Paul Pierce won't get this kind of blowjob on ESPN if the C's advance. Meanwhile… he was the beneficiary of a similar trade… he also hinted at trade demands in the offseason… but he has ZERO championships… he didn't force the trade of one of the best players of all time… and unlike Kobe's Lakers… the Celtics were the SECOND WORSE TEAM IN THE LEAGUE LAST YEAR! Yet, Paul Pierce rededicated himself to defense… accepted two superstars with open arms and played the most unselfish ball of his career… and when it mattered most… he out-dueled LEBRON FRIGGIN JAMES in the biggest game of his life.
So Mr. Smith… when if you went this ga-ga over Kobe Bryant's "turnaround"… I can't wait to see how insane you get when it comes time to recognize what Paul Pierce has done. If you care to mention him at all.