Kobe Bryant is an amazing athlete and persona. When he retires, some of the highly-touted rookies this season better be ready to crank it up both on and off the court. I'm trying to imagine a single figure who could be both despised and iconic. But this isn't the Kobe breakdown. I saw the stats before I saw the game and there was just one moment that really put it all together for me. A single frame that described what I was watching. Kobe can be cold some nights, Kobe can shoot far too often most nights. But he didn't get many looks in the first half. And would you expect any mid-to-late-thirties guard with a blown out Achilles tendon to have a great night against Kawhi Leonard? But back to that first half, Kobe only managed four shots and never had a chance to really get in and influence the game early. Kobe can't impact the game unless you give him the ball, as his defense is a great simile for late career Derek Jeter (-16 on the night). Not that we expected them to beat the Spurs anyway, but here you have it, game in a single frame:
Correction: This post originally stated Kobe shot 1-11, not 1-14.