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Friday, July 14th, 2006 at 5:59 pm  |  35 responses

Win Kobe’s Jersey

Get the shirt off his back…

by Lang Whitaker

After much talk and hulabaloo, the time has come. You want to win the jersey Kobe wore for the cover of SLAM a few months ago? (You know, when he had the snake wrapped around him?) Now’s your chance. To win, you have to know the answer to these three things…

1. Not including Kicks or any other special issues, how many SLAM covers has Kobe appeared on?

2. How many different colored Laker jerseys has Kobe appeared on SLAM covers wearing? And what colors were they?

3. Kobe got his first solo SLAM cover in March of ’98. What was the headline of his cover story in that issue?

It’ll take some research, yeah, but you guys are good like that. To enter to win, email us by clicking here. Answers must be in by Monday morning, when we’ll draw a winner from the cyber-hat. Good night, and good luck.

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  • Mike

    Did you guys ever put out the results to the other sweepstakes questions?

  • http://none jone

    dude kobe dosen’t deserve any more covers at slam… untill he changes his playing ways he should be banned… it sets a wrong impression to our younger readers… selfish and a quitter that is how i see kobe… what i really hate the most about his game is how he shoots 30+ shots a night and shoots at what 33%? wade and le bron are more mature than he is (playing wise)… i used to be a kobe fan… but now i have seen the light… the lakers will never win another title with kobe leading them… unless he suddenly plays team ball… bwahahahahahaha… will never happend… good luck laker fans… you’ll need it.

  • facts

    actually kobe shot 27 per game in 2006 and shot 45%, and 35% from three. so….. yes.

  • dray

    I believe that kobe did quit in game 7. I also believe that he did that, because he and phil saw the bigger picture. they played teamball, the roll players did their thing, they won, they started believing in themselfs. then they lost 3. in game 7, where everybody thought kobe would take over, he did not, because he knew, this team wasn’t going all the way, not this year. but he knows he needs the believe they got in themselfs the 3 firs t games to carry over to next year and then…who knows.

  • alex “the ambassador”

    wat a stupid mf get ur facts straight.
    yes kobe does shoot alot but if it wasnt for him the lakers would not have reached the playoffs and scared the suns.

  • B

    jone is an idiot, why would the lakers benefit from kobe playing team ball with the guys he currently has on his team? have you ever watched a lakers game? i would rather have kobe shoot from halfcourt every play than pass it to kwame no hands brown in the post. if kobe didnt let it rain 30 times a game the lakers would be no better than the knicks

  • davy

    I agree that the lakers might not win another title(lakers die hard fan), and I do love kobe despite him being selfish,but you can’t deny his talent, forget the 81 pt, carrying the lakers to the playoffs by himself, that was hard task(not gonna happen next year unless we get garnett”doubtfull”), we gotta give him credit for that, but flash and ‘bron showed me why i love basketball, what flash did during the finals was…. “can’t find the word , if there’s one that can describe what i feel”.

  • Wellwisher

    I HATE when people say he was selfish during the 2006 playoff run. The dude literally dragged the Lakers to the playoffs and got the best out of a SUBPAR cast. You think anyone else would be able to get KWAME BROWN of all the frickin players in the world to contribute??? The dude loses every pass he catches yet he still scored during the Phx series. I won’t say you all are haters, cause you aren’t and I’ve given up trying to explain his greatness to people who let thier blind ignorance overshadow his amazing abilites on the court (*ahem* Lang) but I know that’s only cause he is losing now. Actually, no wat….even if he was winning he’d still be hated on. lol the guy will NEVER get a break, no matter what he does. Which is why I respect him so much.

    He does have a lot of areas he can improve on (in terms of trusting his teammates) but I wouldn’t blame him for trusting slowly. When you have a point guard by the name of Smush and your starting powerforward can’t catch the ball and was at one point the biggest joke in the league…and ur used to winning, it becomes a process to trust others. It’s not easy as you media bozos make it out to be.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I’m tired of arguing about this, but I will say what I’ve always said: When he wants to be, Kobe is the best all-around player in the NBA. I still think it’s funny that after I complained all season about Kobe not playing team ball (and everyone told me I was an idiot and that the rest of the Lakers were terrible)and then he started passing in the playoffs and everyone said, “Well, Kobe has to prepare everyone else to play team ball.” Really? And everyone just all of sudden got better at the exact same time?

    Thing is, no matter what he does, Kobe will always create this kind of discussion.

  • Tim

    as best as i found kobe has been on (REDACTED; LANG SAYS: DON\’T GO POSTING YOUR ANSWERS HERE, PEOPLES.)

  • Omar

    Apparantly all of the Kobe haters didn’t actually watch any of the season or even part of the playoffs, you guys like to go off what you see on ESPN. The fact is that as much as everyone calls Kobe garbage, realize that he is the one who took his team with less talent around him than DWade, to the playoffs, when he got there he took it to 7 games averaging 23 points–12.4 less than his regular season average, yet people say Kobe doesn’t adapt to the situation, all the Kobe haters see the best player out there, don’t know what to think and then they try to hate him. Back off.

  • BRANKO

    Yo Jones… stick to the WNBA cuz clearly you don’t know what you are talking about when it comes to Kobe and the NBA. As Lang stated, the discussion will go on forever; but for you to act as if the whole team is Kobe and there were no other players (who under pressure buckled) on that Laker squad is quite frankly assenine or indicative of you never seeing him play except two games. Did you lose some money on that series you crybaby?

  • Wellwisher

    Lang, you stated said that “everyone just all of sudden got better at the exact same time?” in your defence to this arguement.
    Uh…no?

    If you knew anything about the Lakers you would know that they went on a roll BEFORE the playoffs started and began to gel well around March or so, and everyone began to gradually improve thereafter. By the playoffs, they were a cohesive unit and that is what the media and the rest of the world saw.

    Kwame stepped it up little by little as his confidence grew and same with Lamar and Smush and Walton (although Smush faded towards the end of the playoff run).

  • ATTN LANG

    Is it just me, or is it significantly more difficult to find your guys’ emails now? I cant seem to come across a link to either yours or sams on the website or in any of the postings. Just wondering.

    Anyway, this story is great, apologies if it’s been posted but I haven’t seen it.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/5766288?FSO1&ATT=HMA

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    What I’m curious about is this knee injury Kobe announced today. Did it happen recently while working out? Did it happen during the season and he just waited until right now to have surgery (and miss playing on Team USA)? I haven’t seen an explanation anywhere as of yet, but I assume that’ll come tomorrow or the next day.

  • http://thehype.wordpress.com Hype

    So.. Kobe, knee surgery and the location of the AP story is: “Colorado Springs”? I’m trying real hard not to laugh here.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/basketball/nba/07/15/bc.bko.us.bryantout.ap/index.html

  • Max Airington

    First of all, an e-hug for Lang. Some kids can be so mean. Besides, he’s right. Kobe has cemented himself as a polarizing figure. Everything he does is completely subject to fans (mis?)interpretation, rendering his statistics and awards almost useless.

    Example: At age 32, Kobe wins finishes off back to back titles. Where does that put him historically? Jordan? “But he had Shaq, for three of them…..”

  • Robert

    Look All Yall that are hating on Kobe have the right to but you stil got Respect him I dont like the Lakers I dont like Kobe that much but I still Respect the man in my eyes there is nobody in the L with a more complete offensive game than him and he is not that bab defensively he is actually quite solid So before you start slanging on Kobe think and go get a pick up game going with the athletic people instead of your buddies with all the bear bellys and that are like 45 years old

  • Zach Leon

    Lang what happend with the fitted hats/slam t-shirts/ and the lifetime issue. I won the t-shirt and I havent gotten a response yet or gotten it at my doorstep. Who were the other winners?

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    You should have gotten a response…when I’m back in the office next week I’ll check into it, and we’ll run all the names of all the winners on The Links.

  • Daniel Aguilar

    on Witch email should I summit the answer for teh Kobe trivia?
    Thanks Peace
    DAZ 13

  • indy

    To Lang;
    “Kobe Bryant experienced discomfort in his right knee about two weeks ago, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Saturday. The All-Star guard had surgery on the knee Saturday in Los Angeles and will miss USA Basketball training camp.”

    http://www.pe.com/sports/basketball/lakers/stories/PE_Sports_Local_D_spl_16.23c6343.html

  • Steven Lai

    The enigma of Kobe is as always what we’re even arguing about here; What’s the best strategy to maximize his undoubtedly great potential. No matter how we argue this point, we’re still (well for the most part) merely fans and outsiders. We’ll never truly understand him, and perhaps that’s just how he likes it.

    What we can all accept is that he’s always going to be his own man. He’s been hated on by all levels: From Charles Barkley on down. But we all fail to realize the enormous pressure on his shoulders. Losing Game One this year was both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, many praised his unselfishness and willingness to play team ball. Yet, he was burned for the same token, unable to turn it on to seal the game.

    With the type of pressure he faces, it’s unreasonable to expect anything less than trying to shoulder the load. If he’s going to be scorned (and honestly with as inconsistent a squad they have), last year he might as well have kept gunning. They struggled just as everyone knew they would in the first year of the triangle.

    As a basketball fan, I can easily tell you he’s probably too selfish for his own good. But playing ball for the Lakers is a different monster than playing, for example, the Memphis Grizzlies. With all the historical and recent success, expectations are naturally higher than 99% of the league. Combined with the perception of his coup d’e tat of the squad, expectations for the team success is crucial. Short-term, Kobe Bryant firing 27 shots per game is the easiest path to a W. Long-term, it’s working the ball and the triangle. I can’t necessarily agree with Kobe’s gunning, it’s definitely understandable.

    MJ was a gunner, himself, as the rest of the team was groomed alongside of him. Who’s to say that’s not the pathway of our own Kobe Bryant?

  • Max Airington

    Michael Jordan became who he was not only due to his talent and desire, but also because of his immaculate timing. He arrived on the scene when sports media and marketing were still in their developmental stages, and used his business acumen to establish himself as a force in the market. This was on top of being the best basketball player on the planet. There will never be another MJ, because not only would a player have to match his on court accomplishments, they would also have to completely revolutionize the way the sport is viewed and marketed.

    Its tough to be the guy who has to follow that act. Kobe came in and wanted to build from Money’s blueprint only to fail miserably. Not on the court, but in his projection of himself to the public at large. His behavior and mannerisms seemed calculated right down to his blinks. His first deviation from that cookie cutter image left him accused of rape, which apparently did nothing to enhance his ‘street cred’-a facet of today’s NBA that MJ never would have acknowledged. All of Kobe’s moves are immediately placed under suspicion and overanalyzed due to his history of questionable behavior. Even if he literally took a bullet for LeBron, and pushed Wade out of the way of a speeding car, there would be speculation on his motivations.

    Then theres Shaq. It never ceases to amaze me how people continually give this guy a pass for his petulance. The fact of the matter is that he is extremely sensitive, and needs constant attention. Ask Phil Jackson. The way he tried to lay blame on Kobe for his trade to Miami is hilarious. As if his cursing out Jerry Buss during a pre-season game about his undeserved contract extension might have had something to do with it. It was primarily a business decision. Even if Kobe took out a full page ad in the LA Times, professing his love for Big, Buss was never going to give $20mil a season to an out of shape, injury prone, aging center. After watching him limp through this postseason would you want to owe him $80mil over the next four years? Yeah, me neither.

    More importantly, for all the Jordan comparisons that are thrown Kobe’s way, I’ve only heard one person bring attention to the most important question….could Michael have played with Shaq? The man said himself that he didn’t know what he would do. Michael was blessed with another excellent wing player that allowed him to roam freely around the court, posting or playing the perimiter as the situation dictated. He couldnt do that with a 7’2″ 350lb center clogging the driving lanes and constantly demanding the ball. Money was even more headstrong than Kobe, and if he was the little brother in that situation, I don’t think that he would have been any more deferential to Shaq-or appreciative of his sloppy work ethic.

    Bottom line, Kobe is still the most complete player in the game and is 27 years old. People just need to watch and see if his leadership and game develop of the next few years, and not let any biases or distastes for his personality interfere with an evaluation of his on court performance. (And no, that wasn’t directed at anyone in particular. Like Lang…) Besides, you don’t want me to break out MJ’s list of transgressions. How the hell do you give Steve Kerr a black eye? At least Kobe picks on someone bigger than him. But then again, Chris Childs did give him that two piece and a biscuit…okay I’m rambling again…..

  • Wellwisher

    ^^ EXCELLENT post. Read that you ignorant fans.

  • Zach Leon

    Jone, as a young reader myself (14) i dont really see what you are trying to get at. Kobe has played team basketball. If you didnt catch the playoffs this year you have no reason to talk. If your talking about start of the season it was because no one on his team could pull their own wheight. each had about 1-15 points a game, smush or odom would drop a rare 20 here and there, but all in all no one was putting the ball in the basket. Kobe had no choice really. He didnt give up in the last game of the phoenix series either. He worked too many miracles before hand and it was not likely that he could drop a quick 30 or so points to come back from a deficit that kept growing and growing.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Max, I’m assuming you’re a Lakers fan, because it’s funny to me to hear Lakers fans now blast Shaq for clogging the lane, being fat, etc. He did win, what, three titles there? Amazing he was able to accomplish so much in L.A. when he was such a terrible player.

    Could MJ have played with Shaq? That’s an interesting question. I think the more pertinent question here is could Shaq have played with MJ? I think the answer is yes, because for all his bluster and noise in the postseason this year, at the end of the games, who was getting the ball and who was getting out of the way? I think Shaq realizes that it does him better to be associated with DWade than it does to have Smush Parker as a sidekick.

  • http://Slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Did anyone see the Kobe thing on ESPN? There this kid with Lukemia and Kobe spends the whole day with him shooting hoops and playing video games. Real corny stuff but for the kid it was awesome. Just though i’d put that out there..Now as for Kobe, i’ll say the same thing i’ve been saying in the office for at least the last 2 years. Kobe is the best player in the league plain and simple. Its difficult to see that when his team goes out in the 1st rd but watch his abilty. There is no weakness in his game, none at all. But the guys alienates people and they use that as a excuse to bash him. Hey i’ll tell you Kobe isn’t the easiest guy to understand. In fact he may in fact be nuts. Still talent wise there is no one i’d rather watch. He has 5 more dominant years in him. He will win another title, do not sleep.

  • Steven Lai

    Speaking of the world wide leader, and being that this is Slam. There was a great article by your own Scoop Jackson here (http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=jackson/060519) for those of you with Espn Insider now. But I was reminded of the article by you, Max. Here’s a snippet I took from it originally.

    “But the fact that Kobe came into the L on the heels of Jordan’s second exodus — and being so Jordanesque at the time — human nature alone makes us connect him to Jordan like Bapes to Air Force Ones, Ask.com to Google, Chris Brown to Usher, Dime to Slam.

    How quickly we forget: During Jordan’s highest-scoring year, the Bulls finished under .500.
    And this season might have been the worst for Kobe. By averaging 35.4 ppg, it took everyone back to 1986-87, when Jordan went ballistic, averaging over 37 a clip.

    It’s funny when they reminisce over you inside of a paradox like this, because no one mentioned how that season the Bulls played under-.500 basketball (40-42, fifth in their division, 17 games out of first place) and how they got swept in the first round by Boston, yet Kobe got the Lakers to play over-.500 ball (45-37, third in their division, nine games from first) and push the Suns to a “win or go home” game in the first round … and he gets dogged. Or how Michael came in second in MVP voting that year to Magic, yet Kobe came in fourth this year, fifth in the general managers voting poll.

    Yet, they basically had the exact same statistical season.

    MJ, ’86-87: 37.1 ppg/5.2 rpg/4.6 apg
    KB, ’05-06: 35.4 ppg/5.3 rpg/4.5 apg

    Yet, Kobe’s season is being held against him.

    Which leaves the question open: Is the MJ lineage Kobe inherited unfair?

    The answer is yes.”

  • Max Airington

    Lang, I dont think Shaq was a “lazy, fat ass”-to quote the stereotypical SLAM reader. But I do feel that he could have been much more. He continually came in to camp out of shape, only to try and play his way into condition during season. Think that might have had something to do with those knick-knack injuries during the years? He was just as stubborn as Kobe and was frequently at odds with managment.

    Some of Shaq’s classics….
    “I got injured on company time, I’ll recover on company time.”
    “If the big dog don’t get fed, the house don’t get guarded.”
    “Pay me my f*cking money!”

    That last one is my favorite, since he told it to Buss-sitting courtside at a pre-season game. Two months after convincing Payton and Malone to take pay CUTS.

    Shaq has accomplished a great deal over the course of his career, but I still feel as though his greatness is a bit overstated at times. He never did bother to come out on that screen roll, he never led the league in rebounding or blocks, and has been swept out of the playoffs four different times. It took him two teams and 13(?) seasons to finally find a guard he could get along with, and I have my suspicions about whether that has something to do with his diminishing efficiency. Besides, he’s said the same things about Penny and Kobe. Phil and Riles too. Point being Shaq is happy alongside whoever he’s with when he’s winning, and when he’s not-it damn sure aint HIS fault.

    I think enough emphasis isn’t put on his “sidekicks” ability to cover for his deficiencies. He was great, no doubt. But he had alot of help. 9 points in Game 6?

  • Max Airington

    Oh and….

    “I think Shaq realizes that it does him better to be associated with DWade than it does to have Smush Parker as a sidekick.”

    Even if Kobe wanted Shaq gone, you’re telling me that he wanted Odom, Grant’s contract and Kwame Brown? He’s not the GM. Throw those stones at Kupchack. Hell, I’ll join you….

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    You make some great points Myle…er, Max. And as easy as it is to pick at Shaq’s career and his flaws, you can do the same with Crazy 8s. At the end of the day, though, Shaq went to Miami and said he was going to win a championship, and he did. Even if it wasn’t all his doing, they did it. Now it’s Kobe’s turn.

  • illydiva

    Gotta take it all the way back to Dray’s comment up there ^…”in game 7, where everybody thought kobe would take over, he did not, because he knew, this team wasn’t going all the way, not this year.” WTF?!

    I will admit I’m a Kobe hater, but I can’t figure for the life of me why Lakers/Kobe fans find this an acceptable argument. In a doe or die situation, because you’re not going to win it all, it’s OK to quit? Is Kobe a prophet? If the Lakers had gone on to win that game (miraculously), how are you so certain the Lakers couldn’t go all the way? These playoffs were full of surprises. Who could’ve guessed Detroit or the Spurs would go out the way it did? I’m just saying. What Kobe thought his chances were should be irrelevant. Being such a talented player (and I will give him that), shouldn’t he always play every game to the final buzzer? That’s what I want from my team’s MVP, the league’s best all-around player, a 3-time champ. What kind of message does he send to his teammates’s already shaky psyche when he suddenly decides they’re not worth any more of his effort? Seriously, Dray, explain that one to me.

  • kody

    kobe deservs every thing he gets hes a wonderful play and this 2007 season has been great for him he is working on being a team player and its helping his lakers out alot. so give bryant some credit.

  • ashb

    The enigma of Kobe is as always what we’re even arguing about here; What’s the best strategy to maximize his undoubtedly great potential. No matter how we argue this point, we’re still (well for the most part) merely fans and outsiders. We’ll never truly understand him, and perhaps that’s just how he likes it. What we can all accept is that he’s always going to be his own man. He’s been hated on by all levels: From Charles Barkley on down. But we all fail to realize the enormous pressure on his shoulders. Losing Game One this year was both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, many praised his unselfishness and willingness to play team ball. Yet, he was burned for the same token, unable to turn it on to seal the game. With the type of pressure he faces, it’s unreasonable to expect anything less than trying to shoulder the load. If he’s going to be scorned (and honestly with as inconsistent a squad they have), last year he might as well have kept gunning. They struggled just as everyone knew they would in the first year of the triangle. As a basketball fan, I can easily tell you he’s probably too selfish for his own good. But playing ball for the Lakers is a different monster than playing, for example, the Memphis Grizzlies. With all the historical and recent success, Tplay expectations are naturally higher than 99% of the league. Nikos Combined with the perception of his coup d’e tat of the squad, expectations for the team success is crucial. Short-term, Theodoros Plakadopoulos Kobe Bryant firing 27 shots per game is the easiest path to a W. Long-term, it’s working the ball and the triangle. I can’t necessarily agree with Kobe’s gunning, it’s definitely understandable. MJ was a gunner, himself, as the rest of the team was groomed alongside of him. Who’s to say that’s not the pathway of our own Kobe Bryant?

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