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Friday
Jun122009

Fisher Admin bails out Kobe Corp

Photo by Jim Rogash

----I felt it.  Dwight Howard felt it (you could see it on his face).  And I assume everyone else in Amway Arena felt it.  Did you?  That overwhelming feeling of emotion conquering your body: all arising from the little 7-year-old girl.

::::::::::::::::::::

Gina Marie Incandela, diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder, unable to speak just a few years ago, touched the hearts of millions as she sang the National Anthem.

The sports chills traveled through my body and it seemed as if this miracle of a voice was just what the Magic needed to tie the series up. And it worked, it really did. It’s just too bad she wasn’t allowed to sing at halftime, because that’s when it all went downhill for Orlando.

In the first half, the Magic built up their biggest lead of the series. Superman had 9 rebounds and 3 blocks in just the first few minutes of the game. Skip (Rafer Alston) was back on the playground as he began 4/5 from the field. The Lakers front court was in foul trouble as Josh Powell and D.J. Mbenga (who, right?) were inserted into the game. And by the half, the Magic led 49-37.

Cue in Gina Marie. Or don’t.

And that’s when the game turned. Orlando lost the emotion (Gina, where are you?) and the Laker mystique awed all. By the 4:39 mark in the third, the Lakers (no, not just Kobe) were up 57-56. Gina Marie was trying to run back on the court, but they just wouldn’t let her.

Down the stretch, the game was similar to the Gore-Bush race (you know what, this series needs a recount: Gasol’s goaltend!), until someone came up big. Huge. Bigger than Phil Jackson’s ridiculously raised leather seat, bigger than Dwight Howard’s shoulders and yes, even bigger than the stomach on Stan Van Gundy (sorry Stan, you’re still The GQ Man).

The savior of the game. The Messiah of the moment: Kobe. Just Kidding. Kobe shot 11/31 from the field.

Kobe took jumper after jumper, refusing to drive to the hoop. He must have forgotten his driver’s license at home. The Black Mamba would not drive.

Yes, Kobe, we all know you are aging and even if you’re not the highest flyer anymore (not even on your own team: Trevor Ariza has springs in his shoes), drive! Your Kobe Bean Bryant, the officials will give you a call if someone touches your jersey. Go to the basket, draw contact and get what’s free in this league (especially for superstars): free throws.

Hence, it wasn’t Kobe. Not with him shooting only 35%. It was the man who has the third most made three-point shots in NBA Finals history. Only behind Robert Horry and the should-be logoman (His Airness, Michael Jordan).

So who was it? It was The Derek Fisher Administration who bailed out the stock value of Kobe Corporations, the same way The Obama Administration bailed out AIG.

Kobe’s legacy was on the line. If not for Derek Fisher hitting a three with 4.6 seconds left in the game, to eventually send it to overtime (where Fisher hit another clutch three late in the period, to basically secure the victory), the series would be all tied up. With the next game in Orlando, backed up by the voice of Gina Marie…

…And who knows what could have happened from there. If Orlando, with assumed momentum built up, goes on to win the series, what happens to the legacy of Kobe Bean Bryant?

(Having gone to two straight NBA Finals and losing both. Moreover, losing his last three appearances in the Finals as a whole. But that’s all unsubstantiated gossip now, thanks to The Fisher Administration.)

President Barack Obama must have called Fisher before the game and let him know what bailout plans are all about. Let him know how to give out the special aide to those in need of it. By the by, Hedo-He Does Turkoglu did in fact receive a call from the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, before the game. But it looks as if Recep was outmatched by Barack. Go Barack!

Consequently, Kobe’s legacy is safe and has even escalated to another level. Or at least it seems so, with a now commanding 3-1 lead. But before we rank Kobe as “the best ever,” let’s take a closer look.

Besides the bailout plan by The Fisher Administration, whenever Kobe has won, he’s been surrounded by a legit big man and a coach who has won 9 of the last 18 NBA Championships. In 18 years, Phil has taken home the O’Brien trophy 50% of the time. Phil, c’mon man, let someone else win every once in a while (That’s it, I have officially taken away the crown from King, I mean Prince James and handed it over to Phil).

Kobe’s first three rings occurred when he was hanging onto the cape of the former Superman; the most dominant player to ever, ever, play the game (The Bigunfriendly). And now, on the brink of another one, Kobe, you’ve got The Mop (Pau Gasol). A highly underrated player whose own legacy would be greater if not stuck in Grizzly-land for all those years.

However, Kobe did have a few years without any bigs and one without the Zen Master. And what happened then? I’ll tell you exactly what happened then: A non-playoff appearance and then repeated early exits in the first round. Kobe has never made it past the first round without a legit big. So please, please, no MJ comparisons anymore. In fact no MJ comparisons ever. His Airness was one of a kind. Never before and never again.

Nonetheless, years from now, when NBA historians rank Kobe amongst the greats, indeed he will be up there. With both the stats and the rings, one cannot deny his stature. For in due time, no one will remember the specifics.

No one will remember Kobe needed a big, no one will remember Kobe needed King Phil and undoubtedly, no one will remember The Fisher Administration bailout plan.