Found this one via LA Times Lakers Blog...
Kobe's 81 sets selfish example for kids
Terence Moore - Staff
Friday, January 27, 2006
The worst thing to happen to basketball was the dunk. More specifically, you had Dr. J becoming Dr. Frankenstein by turning his perfection of the thundering slam into a monster. It helped kill the purity of the game. That is, if the discussion involves things that entice youngsters into playing the wrong way.
Here's the latest of the worst things to happen to basketball, and it's a horror in progress: The aftermath of Phil Jackson sitting smugly on the Los Angeles Lakers bench last Sunday and allowing Kobe Bryant to gun his way to a ridiculous 81 points. Through it all, the ruthless duo couldn't care less about the other Lakers (two assists for Bryant), or about the game already rolling toward a rout against pitiful Toronto, or about the effect of this selfishness on youth.
This is scary. This is very scary, especially when you listen to Javaris Crittenton, the wonder guard from Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy who is dribbling toward Georgia Tech. "Anything that any great NBA player does is always going to come down and have an impact on the younger generation," Crittenton said. "There are 5-year-old kids out there who probably don't know their ABCs, but they know that Kobe scored 81 points."
They also know through osmosis, if nothing else, that it is more about "me" than "us" in today's NBA. Well, except for the flukes that are the Detroit Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs. Eight guys scored 50 or more points in a game last season and just five did so the season before that. We've already had eight such players this season, and we're still a month from the All-Star Game. As a result, Bryant will go from the ridiculous to the absurd sooner than later by trying to surpass Wilt Chamberlain's record of 100 points in a game.
There is tonight, for instance, when the Lakers will play their first game since Bryant became Mr. 81. They'll be at home against the defensively flawed Golden State Warriors, which means Jackson and Bryant will have another chance to ignore the whole and manipulate the environment to their liking for an individual.
Whatever the case, Big Kobe already has spawned Little Kobes everywhere, but that won't necessarily be true 2,000 miles away from Staples Center, where Crittenton will spend tonight at a Henry County gym against Eagle's Landing Christian.
This is the same bunch that Crittenton torched for 54 points two weeks ago with his Little Kobe moment.
"When we play them at their home this time, they'll bring a whole other team inside of them, and they'll come hungrier, which is why you can't be complacent and say, 'Oh, I scored 54 against them before, so this is going to be a cakewalk,' " said Crittenton, whose maturity is noted on and off the court. "I'm not going into this game or any game saying, 'I'm going to score 70 this time.' If I don't and get 30 or even 20, hey, as long as we get the 'W.' My goal is to just play and get my teammates involved and let the rhythm come to me."
Sounds good. Then again, somewhere it is written that "a little child shall lead them," and thus we have Crittenton delivering his indirect message to Big Kobe: A basketball team is about everybody, and if you happen to be the star, that doesn't mean you have to try to scorch those around you by slinging your brightness in their faces.
Even Allen Iverson and LeBron James understand as much. They rank No. 2 and No. 3 behind Bryant as the only other NBA players averaging 30 points or more per game. Still, while Iverson is seventh in the league in assists, James is 15th.
Bryant? Uh, 35th.
Let's end with that "little" child of 6-feet-4 and 185 pounds. He said the following when I asked him if he could score 81 points someday: "In the NBA, I don't think so, not since I'd have to set people up as a point guard. I'm not going to say that I wouldn't, but I can't say.
"In high school, I have a couple of more games left, but that's not my goal. If 81 points don't get me a state championship, then I don't want them."
I like this "little" child.
https://www.ajc.com/friday/userreg/ursi ... lYgBpOa8wr