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My Beef with Kobe Part II: Split Personality August 15, 2007

Posted by Marquis Chapman in Basketball, NBA, Sports.

Kobe Bryant is a complex individual. I don’t think fans of Kobe will ever know the real Kobe Bryant.  As a  matter of fact, I firmly believe Kobe has a split personality.  If you get a chance to watch Laker games, you may know what I’m talking about.  During the course of the season, it is a guarantee that you  will see two very different  personalities of the Laker’s superstar. Not only does this affect the team and the coaches, but it sometimes affects the outcomes of the games.  Let’s take a more in depth look at the two very different sides of Kobe Bryant.

The two personalities of Kobe Bryant can been seen at any of the Laker games.  The first personalty is more dominate than the other. This personality is the aggressive, unstoppable offensive player that often carries his team on his back.  Bryant seems to always encourage his teammates, and continues to have confidence in them no matter what.  Whenever the Lakers are facing a great team like the Spurs or the Mavericks, Kobe usually takes over the game.  He scores at will, sets up his teammates, and plays solid defense.  Whenever he plays like this, and he usually does, you can never count the Lakers out of any game.  This is the Kobe Bryant that we’re all accustomed to.

Now, the other side of Kobe isn’t seen as much.  It comes out every now and then during the season, but has been appearing in the playoffs the last couple of years.  This side of Kobe doesn’t seem as focused.  This side of Kobe seems to get more and more frustrated with his teammates.  He no longer encourages them, neglects them during timeouts, and shows no confidence in them whatsoever.  This side of the superstar isn’t as aggressive as the other personality.  The player that often takes over the game seems to disappear and becomes just like any other player on the floor.  He noticeably shoots less and doesn’t even try to create shots.  He passes up scoring opportunities and looks to pass more.  He seems more lackadaisical, and that competitive spirit seems to vanish.

This type of incident most recently occured in last years playoffs, when the Lakers were facing the Phoenix Suns in the first round. Kobe was playing fairly well, but suddenly he decided to pass, and pass, and pass some more. As a result, the Sun’s lead just got bigger, and bigger, and bigger.  The Suns eventually embarassed the Lakers by blowing them out, and moved on to the next round.

Why? Why the sudden change of play? Why the last couple of years does the other side of Kobe decide to come out when the games matter the most? I’m sure this has to make Laker fans extremely upset. As a fan, when it’s playoff time, you want your star player to do whatever he did to get your team to the playoffs. You don’t want an unstoppable scorer to suddenly start to pass everytime down the floor.  In Kobe’s case, he definately can’t do that due to the lack of good players around him.

Put it this way, if the great point guard Jason Kidd was to lead the Nets to the finals by averaging 15 assist per game and throwing amazing passes, fans would be a little upset if he suddenly decided to start shooting almost everytime down the floor. It just wouldn’t make sense.  A player shouldn’t just change his style of play when he makes it to the playoffs, especially if its been working.

Obviously, the two personalties are complete opposites.  The most important thing to note about the two however, is not the different playing styles, but the fact that one personality is a good teammate and the other is not.  I don’t have an answer as to why the other personality comes out when it does.  I suspect that it’s Kobe basically shutting down due to all the work he has to do during the season.  This side of Kobe is fed up with losing and even more fed up with his teammates.  It’s only a matter of time before one personality conquers the other. Which one will it be?

Be sure to check back on Friday for Part III of My Beef with Kobe




1. Sportsattitude - August 15, 2007

Excellent post. I always use the word “complex” in describing my thoughts on Kobe as well. It is going to be very interesting to see where he goes from here because now it’s time to start “finishing off his legacy.” Will he be known as a guy who rode Shaq’s coat-tails to NBA glory but wasn’t enough to push lesser players to a higher level…or will he go somewhere else and forge a completely new chapter in his career away from the bright lights of Hollywood?

2. The Scrapper - August 15, 2007

Kobe is crazy, but he IS the best ball player on the planet.

3. The Mixtape Monster - August 15, 2007

best ball player on the planet? wow. WOW.

4. Dondeng - August 15, 2007

You forget to mention another dynamic that exists in this conundrum that is Kobe… you, then fan, the media. You forget to mention that 50% of the fan/media want one Kobe and the other 50% want the other Kobe. While you want to like the Kobe that does this for you – and I quote..

“You don’t want an unstoppable scorer to suddenly start to pass everytime down the floor.”

The other 50% want the other Kobe and critisize the “Killer Scorer” Kobe. He is in no win sitation, damned if you do damned if you don’t. When he is in Scoring Mode he is called selfish, (maybe not by you but believe me it happens). When he is in passing mode he is still called selfish..what is Kobe to do? Please your 50% or please the other 50%?? So it would be inappropriate for you to write such an article and leave that aspect of the dynamic out.

5. Marquis Chapman - August 15, 2007

Good point, but how come Kobe just can’t balance the two. I’m sure he is talented enough to mix it up. Why does it have to be ALL shooting or ALL passing?

6. Rolling a blog joint « Cuzoogle - August 15, 2007

[…] Talk Sports continues his beef with Kobe […]

7. withmalice - December 25, 2007

Why does it have to be ALL shooting or ALL passing?

How’s that working out for you now? 😉

Worth noting that Kobe’s assist per game total has always been around 5 or so… and is top in the league amongst shooting guards this year – yet he’s managing to play in a balanced manner.

8. Marquis Chapman - December 25, 2007

I agree. Kobe has done a great job balancing his game this year, but just wait until playoff time.

9. withmalice - December 26, 2007

Again, why the hate?
You’re doing a disservice to both yourself as a commentator on sports, and to your ability to enjoy a player who really is pretty special.

Look at where Kobe could have ended up… Chicago or New York. Neither franchise would be markedly better off, and he’d be in a far, far worse situation that that which he finds himself now.
Where he’s at now could be a contender if they add a more dominant power forward… or if Odom can manage to find a way to co-exist on the floor with Kobe (as he did against the Suns).

At this stage of Bryant’s career, he wants to win. That’s all. In the past few years, it has been evident that it’s all come down to him. He had to play well for the Lakers to win. Not so true now… there have been several games thus far this season that the Lakers have played well, despite off nights from Bryant.

Yes, the Lakers had a similarly good run at the beginning of last season… but you can’t help but feel this is a lil’ different. Andrew Bynum’s growing. As stated by many around the league he may not be ‘there’ yet, but he’s definitely on the right track, and the signs are promising.

The Lakers look like being a better team over the next few years than either Chicago or New York. And Kobe’s gotta be happy about the situation that he now finds himself in. Could’ve been a helluva lot worse.

10. martin - August 24, 2011

what a butt

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