Can we please, for one second, stop talking about Kobe Bryant’s ankle?
From the moment Dahntay Jones, now the league’s dirtiest player since Bill Laimbeer, attempted to cover Kobe’s last-second shot against the Atlanta Hawks, we’ve heard about Kobe’s tender ankle. “Out indefinitely” is what we were told, the Lakers’ playoff hopes dashed with a single, unfortunate twist.
I did a Google search for “Kobe” and “ankle” the other night and received fifty-six million responses. That’s a lot of swelling. Can someone please get the internet an ice pack?
Here’s what happened. The Lakers were losing to Atlanta Friday night. Down two points, Kobe went up for a last second shot. (After all, who else on their roster would take it?) Kobe missed the shot but, depending on who you ask, the aforementioned Jones apparently got too close to Kobe’s landing point. His left ankle landed squarely on Jones’ foot, prompting much of the mainstream media to ask what Jones was doing undercutting Kobe in the first place. How dare he get so close, basketball not being a contact sport and all.
Afterwards, with microphones shoved in his face and the collective breath of Laker nation held intact, we heard Kobe tell the media he got “Jalen Rosed,” in reference to an incident twelve years prior where Rose, then with the Indiana Pacers and now an analyst for ESPN, came under Kobe while he elevated for a jump shot. Rose has admitted that he undercut Kobe to intentionally do him harm, sticking out his foot for Kobe to land awkwardly.
Hours afterwards, we were told that Kobe was out indefinitely (Oh, the horror!) while other injuries that happened the very same night, such as Carmelo Anthony’s or Tyson Chandler’s, carried far less weight. I was watching the Knicks-Denver game when Chandler bumped knees with Corey Brewer. There was genuine concern of ligament damage as he was helped off the court, yet nowhere near the coverage of how long he’d be out.
We just cared about Kobe. Invent the Kobe Ankle App and become the world’s next millionaire. We were even treated to close-ups of Kobe’s ankle, a battle wound that rocked the nation.
That was, of course, until Kobe played in THE VERY NEXT GAME! Ladies and gentlemen, we have redefined indefinite. Please alert Noah Webster.
At this point, we don’t need for Kobe to prove to us he’s a tough guy. We know he’s a tough guy. Nor do we need hourly updates on the swelling of Kobe’s anklebone. We get that he’s one of the best players ever, trying to carry a Lakers team full of dysfunction into the playoffs. Just spare us the violin strings and the lectures about the unwritten rules about how to cover a jump shooter.
I’m no professional basketball player but one rule I know to be true is that, with the game on the line, you cover your man like a blanket no matter who he is.
Maybe it’s the media’s fault for fueling the fire, inducing Kobe to say his only regret was having to wait another, full season to exact his ‘revenge’ on Jones, clearly an act more fine-worthy than having an opponent accidentally land on your foot.
Or perhaps, just perhaps, all this talk is overblown, considering Kobe was on the floor two nights later.
Kudos to Kobe for being in uniform, playing through pain and cheering his team onto victory in the very next game and those that followed. He’s a gamer. Just spare us the hour-by-hour infla-mamba-tion coverage. After all, that swelling can’t be any bigger than his ego.