The Full Truth, even if you don't want to hear it. By Kobe Bean Bryant
"If the Lakers are playing, I'm watching to see what he does. He is THAT dude." -Lebron James
It's simple really. No one wants to root for Goliath. I've been in the league 12 seasons, and have been most hated for 11 of them. I understand, but even after winning one MVP last year (many seasons overdue I might add) all people want to talk about is Bron, or Wade, or Colorado hotel rooms and 7th games against the Suns. I get it. I'm not the sexy pick. I don't get triple doubles regularly, nor do I show the athleticism and young Jordan like abilities in the open court like Mr. Wade (at least not anymore, have to save the legs you know.) What I do show, however, is that I am STILL the best basketball player in the world. I am the best at closing out games against anyone, be it an NBA team, Summer Pickup, Spain, or Martians. I am still the guy you would take to play someone one on one for the lives of your family. I'm still the guy you would take if you needed a last second jumper to win. I'm still the upgrade to what you saw in Mike (hey, let's be real, I have better footwork and a better jumper from 18 feet out.)I'm still THAT guy. What I am not, is a coddler. Hell, He (the one in Chicago) wasn't either. You either perform, or you get off the team. I'm not here to hold my teammate's hands, we are all professionals. I am here to win rings, 3 I already have if you weren't aware. Speaking of rings, let me be categorically clear with you all: Shaq's 3 rings wouldn't have happened in LA without me (and me alone) as the closer. He played 3.5 quarters a game (horribly out of shape) and then was a non-factor late in games due to his being less of a complete player (free throws, cough). I made the triangle go, not him. Now, back to this season. My numbers have only slightly dropped since my MVP year last year, and my team has more wins this year. Shoot, my MVP numbers were less then the previous 2 seasons but somehow I got it last year instead of other years. Go figure. Being the most hated player the past 10 years isn't easy, but someone has to do it. I bet if you asked Wade or Bron who their pick for MVP was, they would be pointing out to LA. And while we are talking about Wade or Bron, need I remind you that I am a big reason why they are having the years they are having in the first place? Those dudes weren't waking up at 6 AM to put up 1000 jumpers before lunch. They watched ME working that hard during the 2008 summer. That helped them realize what it really takes to be the best, to work hard to stay on top of your game, to always add new things. It's the most important lesson I learned early on watching Jordan, and it is probably going to be the most important thing I pass on to these younger guys. So, forget that I have 3x rings Wade has, or that I have lost more finals then Lebron has been to, or that I am a lock for the Hall of Fame, and that I am ranked in the top 3 in points, (while still leading my team in assists.) Forget that I am my team's best player, and that we have the second best record in the league. Forget that my team is the favorite to get out of the West (the tougher conference), and that, with a healthy Bynum, we should be getting another ring this year. It's ok. And lastly, forget that I am still only 30 and have a good 3 to 4 more seasons to make you hate me more. I understand. I'm not mad. I'm not even really going to bother you with numbers or facts to strengthen my case because it doesn't really matter with you all anyhow what I do. You were never completely comfortable with me being the undisputed best player in the world anyway. Story of my life.
P.S. While we are being real, the truth is that I did choose #24 because it was one better then #23. I really do want to retire the best and I have to make even you, the doubting, hating pseudo-basketball fan, give me that title that you so happily give to Jordan.