Kobe Bryant isn’t who he used to be. Everyone around him (except maybe Byron Scott) knows it. He may not act like he knows it sometimes, but we know he knows it too. One of the best at what he does who’s probably hanging around too long.
I’m sure there are plenty of good metaphors to make with this situation, but I have a thing for old westerns. So U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn from True Grit makes the most sense to me. (John Wayne in the original, not Jeff Bridges in the remake. Have some respect for yourself.)
They don’t have much in common in physical appearance, but the overall vibe they give off is strikingly similar.
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 7, 2016
Cogburn struggles to get out of bed in the morning, either from a killer hangover or maybe his body failing on him after a lifetime of grittiness. Bryant has missed 14 games this season and 139 in the last four, definitely because of that second reason.
Cogburn takes on four dudes that are trying to kill him all by himself.
Bryant still has no problem taking on defenders that theoretically could kill him, like his repeated punking of LeBron James last night.
This rarely happens, and it defies logic and the laws of time and human physical limits, but I’m cool with anything that shows the old Kobe still hiding somewhere in there. This has made a big change from earlier in the season, when a struggling Kobe was just plain depressing. Like Cogburn at the beginning of the movie, he was generally seen as a joke. Now Bryant and his Lakers actually, sometimes, kind of fun. They’re still terrible, yes, but there’s a little drama and energy. There aren’t any gunfights on the prairie, but there also aren’t any rattlesnakes, which is most important.
Kobe may not be defeating bad guys very often, and he definitely not saving any lives. But he’s still proving, however infrequently, that he’s still got some game left in his own. Like ol’ Cogburn, he’s surviving solely off of true grit.