Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Mavs-Cavs game chat, starting around 8pm ET.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Case for Kobe

Although it gets said a lot, It’s not true, strictly speaking, that the purpose of a pro basketball team is to win a championship. We certainly want them to act as if that’s their purpose –– since it’s almost always more fun to watch a successful team play –– but in reality their purpose is to entertain.

In light of this, it’s time to gather support for bringing Kobe to Dallas, for which I have a great rally cry: Make the Regular Season Fun Again.

Last year, the Mavericks were a blast to watch in the regular season. Winning 41 of 45 games can make just about any fan giddy, even while we were all simultaneously terrified of the possible playoff disaster that became reality. This year, there will be none of that. Dallas could win 70, or 80 for that matter, and we’d all still be forced to shrug our shoulders and repeat the mantra: nothing matters till the playoffs.

And while I’m sure the local play-by-play guys will stop harping on it eventually, I live in Massachusetts. That means I only get to see nationally-televized games, where the announcers will talk about it every single time.

That got old last year, and this year it’ll be beaten into the ground with a fury we can hardly imagine.

Not to say we should give up Dirk, even if the Lakers wanted him. Kobe has never proven he can win anything by himself. But alongside another superstar, we might be looking at a different story. So I say, if the Mavericks have a chance to get Kobe and Dirk on the same team, they should give up whatever they have to in order to make it happen. That means package Howard, Harris, and Dampier if you have to. Certainly send Howard and Terry if you get the chance to keep Harris.

Getting Kobe is a great scenario for a fan: personality conflicts would likely disappear, as Kobe would suddenly turn into a great guy, like when Shaq went to Miami or TO came to Dallas. Then there’s the chance of getting to see him score 50 points several times a season, and if he ever finally exploded for 105, he’d do it as a Maverick. (This is like the Rangers getting Nolan Ryan just in time for his 6th and 7th no-hitters, his 5000th strikeout, and his 300th win.)

Can you imagine how much of a relief it will be, when the game is on the line, not to worry that Dirk will miss the big shot and disappoint us once again? Kobe can miss those all season, and at least no one will be saying it’s because he doesn’t have guts. And of course, Kobe has tons of championship experience, and he might genuinely help Dallas’ chances of winning it all some time (or 3 times) in the next few seasons.

But all that’s just gravy. Here’s the real issue: if we don’t trade for Kobe, we’re facing 82 games of the most meaningless basketball any of us can imagine. It’ll be like watching the pre-season out there. And I know we all said the same thing going into last year, but this time it’ll be for real.

Going back to where I started: basketball is supposed to be entertainment. I’m sure there will be exciting individual games, but the real fun of an NBA season comes with arguing with your friends about whether the team has what it takes to win it all, or whether your best player has a shot at MVP. If ever there have been two moot points, they are these two questions for this squad.

So unless the team crumbles early in the season and has to make a big push just to make the playoffs (which would create some drama, at least), there’s no way this group can give us what we’re really looking for. That’s November, December, January, February, March, and April we have to sit through, and I’m not really prepared to do that.

So let’s hear it: Bryant for a Brighter 82.