As much as I hate bringing attention to Stephen A. Smith’s columns, reading them always rises the bile up my throat to the point where I can’t let them pass without comment. In this week’s edition of “I’m an idiot paid to write a column for a major U.S. Newspaper,” Smith talks about the wonder that is Kobe Bryant. (And also manages to take a couple of shots at Billy King and Mo Cheeks.)
Smith’s theme: The Sixers need to get a player like Kobe Bryant before they will be legitimate again. Now, I realize that Kobe’s scoring explosion over the past four games has been a sight to behold. He’s been amazing. He’s been thrilling. The Lakers have been winning. He’s decided his teammates aren’t good enough, that if the Lakers are going to win any games, he has to do it all by himself. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Sixers have exactly the same type of player for a little over a decade?
Is Kobe Bryant doing anything more right now in Los Angeles than Allen Iverson did in Philadelphia from 1996 until earlier this season? Has Stephen A. conveniently forgotten that this Sixers’ franchise had a player just like Kobe, in broad terms? How did that turn out? I know you can say Kobe has rings (plural), but were they won because of him, or in spite of him? What’s happened in Los Angeles since Shaq left? Where is Kobe’s solo ring?
I think it’s laughable that people are talking about Kobe as MVP. If he’s the MVP this year, a year in which Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki are leading their respective teams to 60+ win seasons, then Allen Iverson should’ve been the MVP every time he took a talent-bereft Sixers team to the playoffs, not just the one time he took them to the finals.
Smith has softened his tone a bit since his reactionary piece last week after the Sixers’ 50–point loss to the Rockets, but he still thinks the Sixers are headed in the absolute wrong direction. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results each time. For some reason, Smith thinks the only way to rebuild this franchise is to follow the exact same road map that led them to a 5–19 start this year. Get one “superstar” to take all of your shots, minimize the surrounding talent and get all the glory.
No thanks Stephen A., we’ve been down that road before and it wasn’t pretty. Los Angeles is on that road right now, and you know where it’s going to lead? Another disappointing playoff showing, that’s where. The Sixers have their (potential) superstar, and he’s a completely different animal from Kobe and Iverson for that matter. He’s unselfish he cares about making the players around him better. We’re glad you’re watching and everything, but why don’t we let the Sixers try a different route this time, it can’t be any more frustrating than the old way.
By no means am I saying that a player with Kobe’s talent wouldn’t make the Sixers a better team. That’s ridiculous. What I’m saying is that the Sixers don’t need a superstar in the mold of Kobe (bad teammate, unmanageable ego, ball hog), to bring them back to relevance. In fact, they should be looking for the opposite type of player, a leader.