by Marcel Mutoni @marcel_mutoni

Kobe Bryant is on a roll of late when it comes to insulting anyone who dares to question his team or the man himself.

Last week, Bryant called those who doubt that the Lakers can contend for an NBA title this season “mentally challenged”.

After bouncing back from an awful 11-point performance on Saturday (which, granted, included the game-winning shot), with a blistering 40-point effort last night, Kobe had a message for his own doubters.

From the LA Times:

So he said he didn’t approach the Lakers’ game against Golden State on Sunday as a chance at redemption, or anything so trite as that. “That’s not going to happen,” he said. “I had an 81-point game. That’s just not going to happen tomorrow.” [...] The doubters don’t bother him, he said, not even hearing the criticism they offered in analyzing Saturday’s near-debacle. “It’s interesting to me to hear people talk after a game like that, that I’m done and all that stuff,” he said. “The amount of idiots that live out here, after 16 years, is baffling to me. I guess people just get dumber over the years.” Including those who carp about his efforts.

”We’re all surrounded by idiots. All of us,” he said. “We’re all surrounded by idiots.” Not a diplomatic way to treat the fans who are paying the ever-increasing freight to see him play. Or did he mean the media gathered around his locker? “Take it as you wish,” he said. “The only thing that people need to know, even if I told them I’d come out here with a sprained ankle and all sorts of stuff, they know after 16 years I’m going to go out there and do my job and I’m going to perform. And whether I struggle for 31/2 quarters or whatever the case may be I’m going to play hard. I’m going to put my team in a position to win.”

Hilarious bravado aside, these are the facts: Kobe Bryant holds a slim lead as the NBA’s top scorer. He is taking the most shots of anyone in the L, and shooting the second-worst % of his illustrious career. It’s clear that he must work harder that ever to score his points.

These are all signs of a great player slowing down, but still fighting against father time, and for the moment, winning the battle.

But for how much longer, and how far can his heroics carry the Lakers this year and beyond?

Only an “idiot” would venture to take a guess, I suppose.