I must admit that the new and improved Kobe Bryant has really impressed me with his unselfish play, his belief in Phil Jackson’s system and coaching style as well as still possesing his super human ability to take over a game whenever needed. I mean you gotta admit, the Lakers look pretty good early.
Kobe Bryant changed his jersey number from the number 8 to the number 24 to represent how much greater than Michael Jordan he thinks he is (come on, hes not fooling anyone). He did it against my advice, which was to change his number to 81 to represent his unbelievable accomplishment of scoring 81 points in a single game. I mean dont you think that changing his number to 81 would have been pretty cool or at least much less insulting to MJ?
The Lakers are 12-5 and are currently leading their division, a division that includes championship contenders like Phoenix and the Los Angeles Clippers and look to be a championship contender themselves. Bryant is averaging just (lol) 26 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists per game but the difference he makes goes much deeper than just statistics. His new attitude toward the game seems to have rejuvinated Phil Jackson. The Hall of Fame coach looks happier than hes looked in a LONG time and that triangle offense is really starting to kick in. Lamar Odom is playing like he did back in Miami (sigh) and Andrew Bynum is starting to make everyone understand why he was drafted so early. In the last two weeks, the Lakers have wins against the Nets, the Jazz, the Clippers and the Pacers…all of whom can easily be considered playoff teams.
Kobe said that by changing his jersey number from 8 to 24 he is signifying a shift from the first half of his career to his second half and I thought…huh? But to be fair, he has done exactly that. Bryant has distributed the ball like it was a $4 million eight-carat, purple diamond ring (jk Kobe) and has therefore created a team that doesn’t rely on just one player to score anymore. The offense is built around several key players and offers a much more diversified attack which easily explains the Lakers 12-5 record.
Now I’ll be the first to admit, I am NOT a Kobe fan. I am however, just another sports fanatic who believes in giving credit where credit is due and right now, #24 deserves just as much as anyone.