Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Good vs. Evil '08

No, this is not about Barack Obama vs. John McCain. This is about something much more benign: basketball. So maybe the Magic did not make it too far in the playoffs. You can't be too surprised by Celtics vs. Lakers, and probably not too unhappy either. These are the classic teams of the NBA. However it is much more than that this year. It is good vs. evil.

Good is Kevin Garnett. If either of my sons wanted to become basketball players or play sports compettitively at all, I would have no problem with them idolizing Kevin Garnett. The Celtics have not always played beautifully during the playoffs, but you can never be bored watching KG play. He's all out on every play. He'll do anything for his team and teammates. He's unselfish, almost too a fault. Everytime he plays, he demonstrates the characteristics that you hope that children learn from sports.

Evil is Kobe Bryant. Too harsh, you say? Let's not forget this guy is a rapist. Let's not forget when he sliced open Manu Ginobili's face while trying to draw a foul at the end of a game. Let's not forget all the times that he would react to criticism about shot selection by refusing to shoot during games. Let's not forget that he forced Phil Jackson and Shaquille O'Neal out of town. Let's not forget that Phil Jackson said that Kobe was uncoachable. Let's not forget that prior to this season, he was demanding a trade because the Lakers were losing.

I won't go as far as to say that Kobe embodies everything bad about pro-sports -- that would not be true. But he embodies a lot of bad things. He's not just selfish, he's a borderline sociopath. Yes he seems like a great guy this year, now that the Lakers are winning, he's making commercials again (the rape has faded from sponsors' memories), and he won the MVP award.

I remember the Celtics-Lakers series of the 80's. I always rooted for the Lakers back then. Magic Johnson was not only a great player, but completely likeable. Plus everybody where I lived rooted for the Celtics because they had so many white guys.

I used to go to Lakers games all the time when I was in college in Los Angeles.

I would love to root against the Celtics, just because Boston has enjoyed too much success this year. The Red Sox won the last World Series, and the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season.

However, the past must be put aside. The stakes are bigger. Boston's gotta win this one. Go Celtics.

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