The Lakers still need two more games to close out the Magic, but those people who never doubted Kobe's true greatness for most of his career are filing early to get a leg up on those who did.
Leading the charge today is the only writer Jason Whitlock hates more than Will Leitch, Page 2's hypnotic Scoop Jackson who gifts us with "Kobe Thrives On All Our Hate":
Hello, my name is Hate. I've been around for a long time. Thanks for creating me.
I'm here today to talk about Kobe Bryant. Yeah, you know, that dude. The one who keeps me alive, simply because of the way so many of you feel about him. You see, there's hate, and then there's the way millions feel about him. There's animosity, jealousy, anger … and then there's the way so many of you..."
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it. Scoop Jackson's hollerin' at The Haters or whatever it is Scoop Jackson does. Fist-jab for Scoop. But he's not the only one who's come to pay early respects to Kobe prior to him winning this title. Here comes ornery Oregonian writer Geoffrey C. Arnold who does his own version of hollerin' at The Haters by letting everyone know well in advance that Kobe's already great — but he's going to be one of The Greatest after this victory because it's the first title he's going to win by HIMSELF:
Jordan played with Scottie Pippen, likely a Hall of Fame selectee. Chamberlain had Billy Cunningham (Philadelphia) and Jerry West (Lakers). Russell played with a bunch of Hall of Fame players, including John Havlicek and Bob Cousy. Johnson enjoyed the talents of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy. Bird teamed with Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, both in the Hall of Fame.
Bryant's most talented teammate is Pau Gasol. Gasol is a two-time All-Star, but it's questionable if he'll be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. After Gasol it's Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza.
Sweet Google-y moogly, Geoff, you're right. Compared to the other Greatest NBA Players to win titles, Kobe's the only one to do it with such an inferior supporting cast. He's playing with the Filipino transexual team compared to what Jordan, Chamberlain, and Russell had to work with. Fist-jab, chest-bump for Geoff.
And here's NBA.com's Vince Thomas who is letting us all know that, win or lose, Kobe's got nothing to prove to nobody no more so let him holler at The Haters for a bit:
This is a public service announcement for Kobe Bryant. He is two wins away from his FOURTH ring, not two wins away from his FIRST ring. The rhetoric — for the five years since Shaq bounced from Hollywood to Hollywood South — has been revisionist, ignorant and misguided. "Kobe's never won a ring without Shaq." That's what they've said. What they've meant is, "Kobe only won those rings because of Shaq. Those were coattail rings. His rings were Scottie Pippen rings, James Worthy rings." Excuse the juvenile retort, but — shut up!
Jump back! Anyway, fist-jab-chest-bump-elbow-wiggle-bro-hug for Vince. You did Kobe right.
Thank you for your continued support of Deadspin, those of you still left to thank in this section. Who's out there? Can't see too well. Oh, hey UkraineNotWeak. Yeah, I see you. You got friends down there? Good. Enjoy the games.