Archive for November, 2010

Kobe Bryant is getting flack for a new commercial for Call of Duty: Black Ops in which he makes a cameo. I’m sure you have seen it by now.  It takes place in a bombed out urban war setting with businessmen, scientists, construction  works, what looks like a Best Buy worker, Kobe and Jimmy Kimmel all carrying automatic weapons and shooting at some invisible foe. Or maybe they’re shooting out each other. I’m not sure.  The tagline is “There’s a Soldier in All of Us.”

That’s supposed to mean that people of all walks of life will be playing this game. I get it; if you want to move some product you put famous people in the commercial. Whether they have any connection to the product or not. Does Kobe even play video games? He strikes me as the kind of dude who doesn’t play them at all.

So of course, all the usual characters come out against this ad.  All the anti-gun, anti-violence, anti-video game groups and anyone else with a cause they are trying to sell to the public.

You would expect those people.

The group I didn’t expect to have a problem with this was ESPN. They did a story on their website and aired a segment on “1st and 10”. In that segment, Skip Bayless called Kobe’s participation in the commercial “the all-time What Were You Thinking?”

 He went on to say, “He was smiling while holding an assault rifle in combat while we have troops overseas at this moment doing the same thing for real in combat. It’s completely out of bounds for Kobe Bryant, who I thought had completely rehabilitated his image after Eagle, Colo., but even the great Kobe Bryant is not that, so to speak, bulletproof.”

For Bayless to invoke the troops in this argument is completely transparent and also hypocritical.  He’s saying Kobe should have thought about the troops before he made the decision to be in this commercial. My question is; When has Skip Bayless ever thought about the troops? What has he ever done? Google “Skip Bayless” and “US troops” and see what comes up. Nothing, because Skip Bayless has never done anything for the troops. Except use them as a prop to justify his mock outrage.

And what would ESPN be saying if it was LeBron James in that commercial? I imagine they would be saying that he is “just having fun” and “repairing his image” and probably “showing that he’s a true warrior” or whatever nonsense they gush when they have a LeBoner.  And ESPN should take a look at the moral decisions some of their on-air personalities have made in the recent past. (The name Jay Mariotti comes to mind.)

I think everyone needs to take a step back and realize that it’s just a commercial about a video game. To be sure, there is real violence in the world that needs to be addressed.  But this violence did not start with video games and certainly not with Kobe Bryant.

I know it’s early in the season but I think the Lakers need to put some feelers out to see what they can get in a trade involving Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum. We have to shake this team up somehow.

You think I’m overreacting? Haven’t you heard what happened?? The Lakers have lost TWO games! In a row!!

The ThreePeat is doomed! We might as well give the title to those goofballs in South Beach. It’s all over!

Of course I’m just kidding. I do not believe any of those things I just wrote. But to listen to all the Laker Haters out there (and some “fans”) you would think all the above is true. So I am here to instill a little sanity into the conversation.

So let’s look at a few facts. I know, facts don’t have a big place in sports conversations but I’m going to give it a try.

Yes, the Lakers have lost two games in a row. Before that, they won eight games in a row. Now where I come from, eight is bigger than two. So the first streak is better than the last one. Also, I’m not sure if some of you people know it or not but the NBA Season is 82 games long. We’re a tenth of the way through the season and the Lakers have won 80% of their games so far. So if they keep up this pace they will only win 66 games. Losers!

Second, let’s take a look at the latest loss. The Phoenix Suns came into town Sunday and rained down a team record 22 3-pointers on the Lakers.  The Suns shot an unbelievable 55% from beyond the arc and only won the game by five points. Let that stat sink in for a second. The Suns have a record night shooting and the game was still in doubt until the last minute.

It kind of reminds me of Game 3 of the 2009 NBA Finals. The Orlando Magic shot 75% from the field in the first half and only won by 4. At that point I knew the Lakers would be alright.

I think this season is going to shape up the same way. The Lakers will lose a few games here and there but those teams that beat them will have to play their best game.

So all the Laker Haters can rejoice and clog up my Twitter timeline with smack talk after each loss. That’s okay.  I’m not going to worry until Game 7 of the 2011 NBA Finals. Just like I did last year.

The answer to the above question is: Of course he is. Paul Pierce is the biggest front-running douchebag in the NBA. He talks shit with every win and sulks off the court after every loss. (Think back to Game 7 of last year’s NBA Finals). The question really is rhetorical. Paul Pierce is the NBA equivalent of the Studio Gangster. But that’s not the important part of the story.

This all started after the Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat on Thursday. After the game Pierce decided to tweet the following, “It’s been a pleasure to bring my talents to south beach now on to Memphis.” Funny, to be sure but you know he wouldn’t have said jack if the Celtics had lost. Again, think back to Game 7.

What makes this even more funny is that he was taking a cheap shot at LeBron James and the Miami Heat; the Ultimate Frontrunning Douchebags in the history of the world. That’s the punchline. Its two studio gangsters having a fight. Think Soulja Boy having beef with Ja Rule. That’s how funny this is.

You know who doesn’t think it’s funny? Udonis Haslem. He was the one who called Pierce a studio gangster. The whole quote is this: “”Paul who?” he said.”Man, ain’t nobody paying them dudes no attention, man. You know what studio gangster is? Look up that; look up the definition of studio gangster. I’m here to play basketball. First of all, I don’t tweet. So I wouldn’t know what he tweeted if you guys didn’t tell me.”

Let’s just set aside the fact that LBJ has to get teammates to defend him for a second and focus on the fact that a member of the Miami Heat is calling someone else a “studio gangster.” The whole city of Miami is made up of studio gangsters. From Rick Ross to DJ Khalid. From the Jersey Shore Guidos to The Basketball Wives. South Beach is the Studio Gangster capital of the world.

As a Laker fan I love to see two pretenders to the throne fight amongst themselves but this goes beyond all my wildest dreams. It’s off the charts on the Irony Meter.

If the Celtics want to puff out their collective chests when the win a game and sulk when they lose, that’s fine with me. If the Heat want to get overly defensive every time they lose a game, that’s fine, too.

I wouldn’t expect anything less from either of them.