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Friday, March 23rd, 2007 at 3:19 pm  |  206 responses

Kobe for MVP

Fri-Day! Yes! KB24!

by Lang Whitaker

My friend Marcus is a huge fan of the New York Knicks. I am not sure why, exactly, although Marcus was born in Africa and raised in Europe, so maybe he just doesn’t know any better.

Anyway, last night Marcus and I were text messaging back and forth about the Knicks and their playoff chances, all while I was watching Kobe pour 60 on the Grizzlies. When the game ended, I texted Marcus and said, “Kobe went for 60!”

Marcus wrote back and said, “Again. What! And Steve Nash will get the MVP again. Hmm. What’s that about?”

Consider this: Kobe Bryant is a three-time NBA Champ, a nine-time All-Star, an eight-time All-NBA Selection, a six-time All-Defensive Selection and two-time NBA All-Star Game MVP. But he’s never won an MVP award.

The obvious question is, Why not?

Well, all three of those titles came while playing next to Shaquille O’Neal, arguably the most dominant center of all time and easily the most dominant big man of his generation. It didn’t really matter how well Kobe played on those teams, because Shaq was always going to get his share of the attention and headlines.

It wasn’t until Shaq went to Miami that Kobe was really able to come into his own as a player and a person. His first season without Shaq, 2004-05, Kobe finished second in the NBA in points per game, but the Lakers didn’t make the playoffs. Then Phil Jackson returned last year and Kobe went buckwild, including that 81 point night against Toronto. Kobe averaged an obscene 35 points per game, the Lakers finished 8 games over .500, made the playoffs, nearly knocked off the Phoenix Suns.

And Steve Nash won his second MVP award.

This season has been an odd one. The Lakers have been beset by injuries all year. But Kobe has been their rock, averaging nearly 31 ppg and carrying the team to a 36-32 record. Not to mention his current run of a combined 175 points in their last three games.

The question, however, remains: Why has Kobe never won an MVP award? And why isn’t he the leader in the clubhouse right now? His shot selection isn’t perfect, and he does seem to coast defensively for extended periods of time, but Steve Nash isn’t exactly Gary Payton and he won two MVP awards.

When I did game notes from that epic Dallas/Phoenix game a few weeks ago, I noted that it was basically an MVP contest: if Phoenix won, Nash became the leader; If Dirk won, he became the leader. Phoenix won, of course, and Nash surged into the lead in the court of public opinion.

At some point over the last few years, the NBA’s MVP award seems to have become about rewarding the best player on the most exciting team. The name of the award is the Most Valuable Player award, which would seem to intimate, at least to me, that it should go to the player who is the most valuable to his team. You can’t really assign numbers to this—unless you’re John Hollinger—which makes it so much fun to argue about.

I understand Nash winning the award two seasons ago. Last season, not so much.

Throughout this season, I think Kobe’s value is becoming more and more obvious every day, with every pass that bounces off of Kwame Brown’s hands, with every game Lamar Odom sits on the bench battling an injury, with every brain fart from Andrew Bynum, with every jump shot that Smush Parker clangs off the rim.

This year, to me, the most valuable player in the NBA is Kobe Bryant.

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  • Elvis

    first

  • http://www.customizedchopshop.com PIMPN

    first?

  • http://www.customizedchopshop.com PIMPN

    dammit elvis, didnt you do heroine and die on a toilet? what a way to go

  • gazza

    Even as a lifetime achievement awards, to quote Sir Charles, Kobe deserves the MVP, no matter what your criteria are

  • Elvis

    That’s right Lang. Kobe is the MVP. The lakers have played better than anyone expected and even going on that losing streak(due to injuries) they still have a good team. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

  • Michael

    Kobe is going to lead the league in “getting robbed for MVP”S”

  • Elvis

    Pimpy, dont be jealous…LOL

  • http://www.customizedchopshop.com PIMPN

    but yes, i concur lang. bean for mvp

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    I still think it’s Dirk’s award to lose this year. But it’s a decent argument.

  • cajun jambalaya

    Black Jack Bauer is certainly deserving of MVP consideration, but three games does not win you the award. Dirk has prevailed this year…

  • J-Bird

    The Lakers are only a few games over .500, and as a team they look worse than last year, giving Kobe the MVP would confuse the S*@t outta me.

  • The Latvian

    Well put Lang… We’ll see how Kobe finishes the year. If the Lakers keep winning and he’s playing this way, there seems to be a three way race for the MVP. It’s a toss up after that…who knows how the votes will go.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    Kobe was the MVP last year – this year will depend on how the next month shakes out.

  • Vitor

    C’mon Lang…where’s the hate?

  • Bigi

    M-V-P!!!!F**k Nash and Dirk…

  • Marques

    Kobe’s not the MVP this year or for any of the previous years Post-Shaq. The first year went to Nash but should have been split between Nash & Shaq. The next year belonged to King James. This year it’s either Dirk or Nash but not Kobe. He is a wonderful scorer but is basically Iverson redux. Until he plays with another complimentary player (Iverson with Melo) and is not so much of a #1 option but a 1a or 1b option, he will not make his teammates better. He feels the need to score so much now and rightfully so…

  • J-roc

    Kobe is not getting mvp this year but it should be dirk or steve

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    i remember last year’s race for MVP had no one player standing head and shoulder above others, cases could be made for most of the elite players. so i made the argument that sometimes logic goes out the window when it come to MVP and asked: what was the most memorable thing about the 05-06 season? kobe going for 81. and he averaged 35.4 points a game the whole season, the highest PPG for the season since MJ had 37 PPG in 86-87. that was TWENTY YEARS AGO!!! and yes people argued that he doesn’t really quite play within the team, but with that cast, did people even really expect them to be in the playoff before the season? i’d call that exceeding expectation, and more importantly, team success. isn’t that what MVP does? to help the team suceed, in whatever way it is?
    because of last year’s sucess (and this year’s Lakers fast start), i think his case for MVP is being held against him. so like Michael said, he’ll probably lead the league in most MVP snubbed.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    And Kobe was the real MVP of those Laker championship teams, in that he was the go to guy in the 4th quarter of any close game. Shaq wouldn’t be the go to guy in the 4th quarter of a close game of 6th grade girls, as long as they could foul him.

  • Slick Nick Da Ruler

    I love Nash, but he does not belong in the elite company of NBA 3-time MVP award winners. For history’s sake, it should go to anyne but Nash, even though this is arguably his most deserving season. Kobe is the most dominant, most feared, and talented player in the NBA. He is the most valuable.

  • Cheryl

    I agree that Kobe is the MVP this season, but for very different reasons than most. I think the MVP should go to the player that–love him or hate him–the league would be boring without. That is the “league” MVP and also the reason that, for his Laker years, Shaq was criminally robbed of “league” MVP. (and by the way, Gilbert should be in the running this year for his blog alone!)

  • Kadavour

    The Lakers were everyone’s dark horse when they saw how smoothly they played when they’re healthy. I mean, they still hold the 6th spot in the west after TWO 6+ losings streaks! They had to be doing SOMETHING right before those injuries. I think it’s safe to say that the Suns and Mavs maintained pretty good health throughout the season. Kobe can’t be his teams facilitator because he’s their only reliable scorer. So that criticism about his shot attempts vs. assist numbers is ridiculous. Forget his body of work over his career, right now he’s at 30, 5, 5. He is the guy u want to take that lost shot. He’s the dude u want on the FT line down the stretch. Kobe’s the guy who guards the opposition’s best scorer down the stretch. Don’t those attributes constitute MOST VALUABLE PLAYER? Then when u look at Phoenix and Dallas’ rosters, u see how deep those benches are. I don’t think much should be made of this, but it’s worth mentioning: both teams have dudes who can START on nearly any squad on their benches.

    KB24 for MVP.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Wow, yeah, Kobe’s scoring average last year was the highest since Jordan’s 37.1 in ’86-87? That’s crazy! And we all know who won the MVP in ’86-87. That’s right—Magic Johnson. Good argument.

  • Kadavour

    above: guy u want to take that LAST shot. not lost.

  • Sparker

    fickle fickle fickle fickle fickle. if it’s just the guy whose team would be sunk without him, why not zach? why not gasol? why not chris paul or chris bosh? why not (more obviously) lebron? it’s individual play AND team success. kobe’s great (he’s always great- does that actually play against him, ie. prevent him from standing out?) but the lakers are just good. until they become a truly elite team, it’s going to be between the best players on the best teams.

  • irvbx

    am i the only person that remember nash being a nobody and scrub by nba standards when he was on phoenix originally, anyways jason kidd is better than steve nash every was and he got robbed of the mvp aswell few years back

  • http://mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    Russ, Jordan came in SECOND in 86-87 and his team was 40-42. Jordan got 10 first place votes. Bird was the three time reigning MVP, won his division-again, and got ONE first place vote. The MVP has NEVER made any sense.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    You can’t give a white guy FOUR straight MVPs. It’s in the by-laws. Whoever cast that single first-place vote for Bird was banished from all future NBA involvement.

  • http://mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    So Nash is safe this year? And what about the 22 guys who left Kobe OFF THE BALLOT last year? Can we get some affirmative action?

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    If Arod and Andre Dawson can win MVPs coming in last place, why can’t an NBA player on a team that’s not at the very highest level? The MVP voting has been tough to understand ever since Malone over Jordan and arguably Robinson over Hakeem.

  • Kadavour

    kinda sounds like affirmative action huh Russ?

  • http://mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    Scottie Pippen still deserves an MVP for the 94 season…

  • Kadavour

    lol @ me and Max with the affirmative action thing. only his came a minute before mine.

    Voting in the NBA is anything BUT a democratic process. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Dave or Stu is from FL.

    I’m going to look that up

  • Karma

    wow…what a difference 3games makes??….still look at the past ten games 3-7, and the ten before that 4-6…..unless this is the start of a 15+ win streak no way he gets the mvp…….what was wrong with giving nash the award last year?? would kobe have provided everyone on the suns with career highs?? yes I think the first could/should have gone to shaq but the second he earned

  • Kadavour

    above: are from FL. bad grammar

  • http://mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    So Lang, under your newfound criteria are you retroactively giving Kobe an MVP for last year too?

  • http://the-seed.net/suns Hersey

    Kobe’s career greatness and former giant sidekick aside, how does this outburst prove he’s the most valuable player? The Lakers have had a six-game and a seven-game losing streaks in the last two months and Kobe played in all but one of those games (elbow suspension). Paul Pierce missed a few months and the Celtics lost 18 games in a row during that span. True the Celtics are awful but PP’s injury proves that if you take any all star off a team, that team will struggle. The ‘without him they stink’ argument doesn’t really work. Sidenote: remember T-Mac in Orlando? He never finished higher than fourth in the MVP voting. All Stars leading their teams to real greatness is what makes the MVP. Individual excellence as a component of team success.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Nash can only win two consecutive times since he’s both white AND Canadian. So he’s out of the running this year.

  • namik

    Dirk should win it this year, unless the Lakers win like 10 of the next 12-13 games. Those 2 losing streaks sunk any chances Kobe had. Even if we had won 50 games, Nash or Dirk would win. Why? no idea but if he finished 5th last year, its pretty much a wrap. No player is more crucial to his team. That should be pretty obvious but somehow he is places 6-7 on that list. Kobe will never win the regular season MVP and thats pretty sad.
    And this was not written by Lang Whitaker. it’s just not possible.

  • delinda

    lang ,are you ok?

  • Andres David

    Who do you think works harder to be the best? 7 ft tall freak of nature Dirk? Lets take breaks on defense Nash? Genetically perfect Lebron James? If it came down to a staring contest, the souls of those three would be sucked into Mamba’s eyes. Haha real recognize real.

  • the brown guy

    team success has always been a factor, thats the only thing thats preventing kb24′s mvp, he is THE best player in the league right now but his team doesnt show it, last season he probably should have won it, but i guess the votes went to steve because he had the same level of success without amare. but team success always matters, remember garnetts mvp? didnt win till he led his team out of the first round, ai ? he CARRIED his team all yr and then into the finals, this yr dirk will probably win, because he’s the best player on the best team, without him they would still be good, but they wouldnt be championship worthy

  • Nadav Mor

    Lang,
    My computer has been hit with a lethal virus. For some reason my browser shows that there has been some love given to Kobe Bryant by you. I can’t believe this is happening. Gotta get a new computer.

  • the brown guy

    oh and call these haters stfu and go home, nash and dirk are still awesome players, credit where its due children, credit where its due

  • the brown guy

    *can all not call

  • Shiz

    Kobe bomaye!!

  • John S.

    if kobe keep scoring 50 points or more and keep doing this and win at the same time he should get MVP. they tried him last season.

  • Reggie Evans

    Don’t fall for Lang’s reverse pyschology!!!

  • doctor j

    when i hear people talkin bout KOBE is a ballhog, is just laugh. its ridiculous. 175 points in the last three. thats 58.3 points per. and, might i add, the lake show is 3-0. if kobes keeps this up, mvp is most definitly is awarded to mr. bryant.

  • Ryu

    If you have the Suns without Nash, it’s still a damn good team, with Amare, Marion, Barbosa, etc. (of course D’Antoni would have to create some new plays without Nash). But what do you get, if you have the Lakers without Kobe? I’m pretty sure they would be actually worst than the BETcats…

  • Reggie Evans

    It’s just reverse psychology, yo … Lang, you’re a hater!

  • phanb

    team success has not always been a factor… THAT IS A FACT…

    Bob Petit, 1956 (team finished 6th out of 8 teams)
    Kareem Abdul, 1976 (team finished 9th overall)
    Moses Malone, 1979 (team finished 6th overall)
    Michael Jordan, 1988 (team finished 8th overall)

    where are the Lakers in the overall NBA landscape??? 12th overall

    so taking things into context… if they can climb to somewhere in the 6-9 range I would measure that as team success with the roster and injuries…

    If you don’t think there is hatorade going around, Kobe being left off the ballot of 22 voters… hahaha that’s pure undeniable evidence right there

  • phanb

    and I only say this because what is Kobe doing? things that haven’t been done in 20 – 40 years…

  • phanb

    Also as a sports nation we need to ask ourselves something… what is valuable to a basketball team…

    Defence
    Offence
    Clutch Ability
    Leadership
    Dominance of Position

    Kobe gets a check in all 5 categorys

    Dirk would be lucky to get a check in defence or Dominance of position (I’d rather have Garnett or Garnett)

    Nash, same goes for defence and it’s a toss up with him and Billups in my mind

    Everyone and their grandma knows who is the most clutch out of the 3…

    One last thing, it’s easier leading vets and all-stars to battle then it is leading cast-offs and young players…

  • Reggie Evans

    KOBE THROWS ANOTHER ‘BOW!

    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=2016986601

    courtesy of Forum Blue and Gold

  • Max

    Why hasn’t Kobe won an MVP! He was charged with raping a woman… is that the kind of person we should honor. I can’t vote but Dirk or Nash deserve it more than a rapist. Or maybe a rapist is valuable in the NBA.

  • http://the-seed.net/suns Hersey

    The MVP award isn’t based on what a team is without a certain player. With Kobe the Lakers are the sixth or seventh best team in the West. Kobe can be a scorer or facilitator and his team ends up in the same spot. I’m just saying…

  • Western_dream

    CO-MVP’s? Can that happen? Not saying it will because without Kobe the Lakers are a 1-81 team. Just wondering, does anybody know if the NBA allows it?

  • Western_dream

    Hersey, MVP does stand for Most Valuable Player, meaning the most valuable for their team. Add Kobe to any team, they make the playoffs. Add Kobe to a contender, Champs. There is no arguement here. Just Think about Kobe with the Bulls, Wizards or even Magic.

  • John

    Right on…Kobe deserves the MVP

  • MagicChicken

    I really like Phanb’s last comment. … “it’s easier leading vets and all-stars to battle then it is leading cast-offs and young players…” I mean that’s pretty much what the MVP race has turned into: “which good player has the best GM?”

  • MagicChicken

    By the way, props to Slam and Lang. Slam has always had a special appreciation for the “underdog”, and always rooted for them a bit. It took awhile to see Kobe as an underdog because he got titles in recent memory. But with the amount of hate this guy gets from everyone, I think it’s time that someone stepped up and told it how it was. politics, and pasts aside, the title “MVP” is simply something which does not deserve to be absent from Bryant’s illustrious carrer!

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    And the Bulls, Wizards or Magic wouldn’t be instant championship favorites if you just gave them Dirk, Shaq or even LeBron? I’m not saying Kobe isn’t valuable, I AM saying that he’s not the obvious and only MVP candidate. Dirk went home after losing in the Finals last year and improved pretty much every aspect of his game. He’s far and away the best player on the League’s best team—that should count for something.

  • Decs

    Max is an asshole.

  • http://mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    Yeah he is. Kobe 50. Again.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    MVP!

  • Spencer

    There are some numbers to watch for the MVP race, readily available on nba.com. First, go to stats / Lenovo and chose 1-player. Currently the order is Duncan, Nowitzki, Nash. Where is Kobe on that list? Next, look at stats / hotzones, then pick this season, and your favorite players, being sure to inclued the three mentioned above. Fun fact to discover: How do you think these four rank in percentage at the rim? Elsewhere? Clue: these numbers can justify leaving Kobe off the list.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    That game just made me mad that the Bulls dumped Tyson Chandler for Ben Wallace.

  • Sherri

    i REFUSE to believe tht its really Lang writing all these KOBE appreciation columns.it just cant be.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    hmm… what now? no one else but wilt left. it’s making it increasingly difficult to deny it huh? history in the making. well, history made already. one has to wonder if he orchestrated everything, maybe that 3 shots taking in the second half of game 7 is to set the stage for this season. am i talking crazy?

  • http://slamonline.com mutoni

    i refuse to acknowledge anyone who doesn’t think kobe’s the mvp.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    maybe the league suspensions motivated him to make Dstern eat his words? can’t you just imagine the awkwardness when dstern gives out the mvp to kobe? then having to give cuban the larry o’brien trophy a month later? that’d be fantastic. i’m rooting for that to happen.

  • Drolfe

    I think Kobe is the MVP. *combs hair, smiles, and readies self for Mutoni’s ackowledgment*

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Consider this (I wrote about this in SLAM a long time ago, but it seems relevant now): In 1961-62, Wilt Chamberlain averaged—AVERAGED—50.1 points and 25.4 rebounds per. Meaning a 45/20 was a subpar night. That same year, Oscar Robertson, in only his second year out of Cincinnati, averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists, a feat that no one’s ever come CLOSE to duplicating. The MVP that season? William Felton Russell, who averaged just 18.9 points and 23.6 rebounds a game. And it was the PLAYERS who named Russell MVP, not the media. Points aren’t everything. NUMBERS aren’t everything. I still go with Dirk.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    And it’s not like Chamberlain and Robertson were putting up their numbers on terrible teams. Chamberlain’s Warriors went 49-31, and Robertson’s Royals went 43-37—both good for second in their respective divisions.

  • Kadavour

    how could u say Dirk is the best? fine, let’s play player switch. Put Dirk on the Lakers, and Kobe on Dallas. which team do u like better?

  • Kadavour

    Russ, big O got ROBBED that season. that’s the best single season in NBA history

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    The Mavericks ARE the best team in the League with Dirk as their best player. That’s actual real reality. Who’s to say how they’d be with Kobe? They’d have to change their entire system, for starters. It’s unrealistic to think of things that way. You have to deal with them as they ARE. And, as they are, I like Dirk as MVP. Period.

  • ana8

    KOBE 4MVP YEAH finally someone admits it and he deserves it
    GO KOBE!
    GO LAKERS!

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Also, if you want to just look at numbers, Dirk is shooting a higher percentage from the floor, the line AND three, and has a higher PER.

  • Gord

    Awesome Russ, just awesome. But Kobe’s still insane, and even though I hate him, I wouldn’t be mad if he won the MVP. And even though I don’t think Nash should get it this year, stop hating on Canadians.

  • Kadavour

    also, those stats are SO inflated because the level of competition is just inferior to today’s game. “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘Team’” applied back then too. it was just a different brand of basketball. So even if a man puts up amazing numbers, he could still lose for lack of team effort. There’s more parity in today’s NBA and basketball as a science in terms of offensive and defensive schemes would prevent any of that from happening in today’s game. Mamba is kinda defying that science a bit with his recent exploits, but we’ll never see 50 and 25 in a single season.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be upset with any of the three (Nash, Kobe, Dirk) winning. I just think the Germanator has the best claim on it. (And I don’t hate Canadians, sheesh. Don’t you have to be thicker skinned up there to survive amongst the icebergs?)

  • Kadavour

    i can’t deny Dirk’s %s, they’re damn near off the scale, but Dirk can’t produce that quality of scoring in bunches. No one in the league is on Kobe’s level when it comes to puttin the ball in the bucket

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    And if that’s all that the MVP award was about, then Kobe’d have it on lock. But it isn’t. And he doesn’t.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    just a curious observation.
    does all these have to do with kobe having a more magnetic (good and bad) personality than dirk, who’s quiet and precise, gets it done with no fuzz. i mean, how many times has kobe been on the news this year? now what about dirk?

  • TC

    Dirk, then Kobe, then Nash….but if LA finishes the season strong and Kobe goes for another string of 40-50 points games then anything is possible.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    even within this site, kobe generated the most response. love, hate, whatever. as Ben pointed out at the other post, “Kobe Bryant: guaranteed to generate three-digit comments…”
    dirk is like duncan now, just silently kill you and you wouldn’t even know he was there. (i’m stereotyping but i think it’s awesome that such a precision kill squad is headed by a german assassin).
    it will be fitting that the league’s MVP is kobe bryant, creating the most buzz, generating the most revenue for the league. isn’t that what most VALUABLE player means?

  • http://mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Max Airington

    The thing that bothers me is that people seperate Nash and Dirk from Kobe with team records. However what has happened happens when these teams have met the past two years? If the Mavs and Suns are that much better than the Lakers, but are continually taken tothe limit, then shouldnt that be a credit to Kobe? If he took 7 less shots per game this year to “make his teammates better” and succeeded until they were ALL injured and then subsequently sets the f*cking record book on fire, then what else does he have to do? He has exhausted every possibile avenue of effort to improve that team and once again the Lakers are the team NO ONE wants in the first round. Isnt that what an MVP is all about? Maximizing the team? Could the Lakers possibly be any better?

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    If it was merely a matter of revenue and buzz, Michael Jordan would have won MVP 10 straight times.

  • Sherri

    dont wanna sound cliche wen i say this but if you put dirk or nash on Kobe`s spot they both wouldnt last, dirk has admitted to being nervous in critical situations and hell with tht lakers squad critical situations are part of every game and the follow up with confidence breakdown, which i personally think dirk dont want a piece of & he cant handle it either, & nash would probably get crazy if he had to pass to guys like kwame, and smush, he would pass theres no doubt abt tht but it exactly wont come up as assists in the stat sheets, and again he wouldnt wanna deal with the confidence issues. nobody wants to deal with such a young team and KOBE is actually doin` a very good job with them. if you switch nash with dirk in pho & dallas, they`d still be teams with the best record theres no doubt abt tht. so kobe is valueable to the team not only b/c he scores, b/c he puts up with their confidence issues, things tht dirk and nash barely have to deal with.

  • http://nba.com tt

    Wow Kobe must be pissing off his haters really bad for them to go online and rant & rave. I like Dirk & Nash, it doesn’t hurt that their team is doing so well, but they are not even close in being with the likes of Wilt, Elgin, & M.J. People sure do LOVE to hate Kobe.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    point well taken Russ. i got schooled.

  • Elyse

    Unfortunately, b/c I am a diehard lakers fan, and Kobe fan, I think that the way the media is interpreting the award is best player on a top team, or a team that has a very legitimate shot to win a championship. I don’t necessarily aggree with that definition, but so it is.

    However, for Kobe to have come in fourth last year, and not even be represented on twenty and some change ballots also shows how political it is to a certain degree. Kobe just is too polarizing, part of me thinks that even if the lakers were on track to win 55 games like they were before all the injuries, Kobe still wouldn’t get it.

    The ironic thing is that he probably wouldn’t get it b/c he would have continued to play a style that is much less flashy.

  • Drolfe

    Excellent peice of historical precedent from Russ with 61-62 season info. That proves the MVP voters are inpredictabale muthaf**kers. There’s no way to predict who’s winning it this year, althought it’s a pretty safe bet it wont be Kobe unless this ridiculousness continues for weeks. The MVP voters are a strange, strange bunch. Someone needs to sit them down and explain to them how to cast their votes in a thoughful way. Don’t look only at the win loss record. Don’t look only at the ppg average. Don’t look at the supporting casts. Don’t say ‘yeah but swap player x with player y and how do they go?’. Don’t listen to morons on TV.
    Just sit back and pour yourself a drink. Have a good long think. Look at the season as a whole. For godsake look at both sides of the ball. Keep in mind if Steve Nash wins three MVPs the world just aint right. Pour another drink. Light a pipe if that’s your thing. Think: what will the people remember about the 06-07 season? Reach over to the phone, and cast your vote.
    With that out of the way you have the rest of the night to yourself. Why not rent a movie? The Departed won best film and you still haven’t seen it. Or maybe take a drive, or a night stroll? Play with your dog. You know it’s as lonely as you since your wife took that job out of town and is away on business so much. In many ways you are your dog. But don’t blame your wife because you love her. Go flip through some old photo albums. She is your everything. Actually, you should have an early night. Have one more drink and hit they hay. You’ve got appointments to keep in the morning. Close those eyes, old man. Tomorrow is a new day.

  • anthony

    The MVP Voters are a bunch of idiots pretending to be geniuses.

  • Alex

    Ive read this magazine since 1996, and the Links since they started up. Ive thought Lang has always been too critical of Kobe, and being a Laker fan my whole life, it frustrated me. Kobe should’ve been MVP last year, and should be it again this year. I think the Suns sit Nash out 5 games a year and lose them all just to show how “valuable” he is to them. Take a look at the last two years, anytime Nash sits out, his MVP chatter heats up. A team like Phoenix can afford that when they have a big lead in their division. Doesn’t matter, Lakers would be nothing without 24. MVP no doubt. I finally agree with Lang when it comes to Kobe.

  • Kadavour

    Drolfe, i don’t know u, but i’m gonna ask u a personal question: who’s ur dealer?? i need to meet this dude.

    i just Love how the NBA is milking EVERY second of press they can from this, possibly the best week of basketball since 1961.

    2 weeks ago they were head-hunting and today’s he J.F. f*ckin Kennedy.

    Aight, if an alien nation far superior to us as far as military might is concerned descends upon the Earth and demands an exhibition from the NBA’s Most Valuable Player, who would u send. Dirk, Nash, or Kobe? i’ll send them Bean Jr.

  • Kadavour

    clearly i’m not quite as drugged up as Drolfe

  • Broken Down Baller

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but back when I used to run ball it was always retardedly easier to be good when you got to run with quality players on your squad.

    Running ball with dudes who could actually play well at that level made all the difference. Made me look better than I was. Made them look better than they were. Was that old “greater than the sum of their parts” ism.

    Give Irk or Snash teammates comparable to what Bean has to deal with and then let’s talk.

    I’m just sayin…

  • Western_dream

    Russ, can i just say, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good arguement. Nobody does it like Kobe thats the truth. I don’t even like him as a player and I despise him as a person, but ya gotta give respect when respect is due

  • Western_dream

    Is it just me or is Russ the only non-kobe person in the world. I can see your arguement but really think about it, just from the neutral. Kobe has put a team of walkin wounded on his back and made them a playoff team. Dirk has put a well rounded team full of former and present all stars on his shooting arm and together done enough to have a great season. Nash is the same. Kobe has achieved a Mike like feat, without his Scottie Pippen (Lamar) for half the season and more than likely the rest of it. Not hating on Dirk, Nash or anyone but Kobe deserves this, he did before his 4 50 point games in a row. Shaq left 3 years ago right? Lakers had one bad season before Kobe took over the league. It took years for Dirk to take the Mav’s that far with a superior team. Nash didn’t take anytime at all, but he had, Amare, Matrix and a all round well coached winning machine of a team. Show some love. Kobe. Bryant. 2. 4.

  • Kadavour

    i’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that Kobe gets the P.O.D.

  • galo

    50 against the hornets…again…50+ for four straight games…the most by a man not named Chamberlain…give kobe the mvp. NOW!!

  • phelony phil

    couldn’t agree with you more on this one lang, kobe is basically becoming so good, so well rounded, that even the haters are losing the will to hate. kobe for MVP, go laker!

  • John S.

    kobe did it again on friday, he scored 50 points against the hornets. it cant get better than this. kobe for MVP, yes sir.

  • 1hush D

    I nominate Lang for SLAM jackass of the year. This hata ain’t buying it. And again, I will point out that nobody with an MVP vote is claiming that BM should be MVP. So I guess I am taking a BM on your stupid idea and specious argument, of which, you are only making because of the points BM put on the Portland, Memphis, Minnesota, New Oreleans club……………………………………………………………… Nash didn’t deserve it last year? He became the fourth player in history to become part of the 40-50-90% club and led when the chips were down. Dirk may do it this year and Nash may push it to 50-50-90. Think how stupid you would have felt if BM were MVP last year and then you got to watch him give up in game 7 against the real MVP. Do you do this stuff just to pad your column response stats or are you really this clueless? Perhaps it is some sort of perverse reverse psychology …………………………………………… The MVP race is more than just the most important player to a particular team. It is more than the best player in the league. And contrary to what Cheryl wants it is not the most entertaining player, otherwise we would have a streetballer out there. What player is going to make other players around them better and move the “team” forward? ……………….Fools ride the BM jock!

  • 1hush D

    I am looking forward to watching BM put 50+ up against a team that outscores him/them (like Phoenix did in the playoffs last year) and I will enjoy watching the BMJR’s (Black Mamba Jock Riders) argue that the MVP is all about the stats……team doesn’t matter. Shoot 50 shots per game…you are going to put up some numbers on the leaderboard. Russ, thank you for your level-headed analysis….however, I AM going to be upset if BM gets it over Dirk or Nash unless he keeps doing this against teams that don’t have an excuse for allowing it.

  • The New Wilt

    The L needs to start a new award called THE BEST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE AWARD, and Kobe would be working on his 4th straight award. Then give the so called mvp to whoever the media feels is so-called making teammates better.

  • 1hush D

    BM is averaging a double double. double digit points and double digit selfishness. Seriously though, not that FG% tells us much but it does tell us that BM is 145th in the L after making 649 of 1390 attempts placing him at 46.7% ………………………. We know he is going to the line alot but it is interesting to monitor the shot attempts he is putting up. He is a couple hundred shots ahead of Dirk, Deng, KG, Joe Johnson, and Melo (but not LeBron as they are about even), but they all have the higher %. I know FG% is skewed but it is still useful.

  • Kadavour

    utfanatic2000 = 1hush D?? hmmmm. Ur putting too much emphasis on TEAM contributions. For one, Kobe is averaging 5.5 per, that coupled with the fact that he’s the triangle’s SCORER!! not facilitator, but the guy they swing the ball to with the enormous responsibility of putting the ball in the bucket. The 2nd highest offensive scoring responsibility on that team goes to Smush Parker! Kobe does in fact make his teammates better because his effectiveness within the triangle sets up Lamar and Luke to put up near trip-dub numbers every day. Has phoenix or dallas been as battered as the Lakers? i thought so…

  • Ryu

    Anyway, who’s gonna be the player of the week in the west?

  • Kostas

    My simple argument as far as the MVPs are concerned: It’s not about numbers, it’s not about wins, it’s not about making teammates better. These things are taken under consideration as well – it would be ignorant to ignore them. But, most of all, it’s about legacy. It’s about memories. 10 years later, what will sound more appropriate: Nash (my favourite player, btw) winning his 3rd straight MVP in a 60 win season; Dirk winning an MVP and Dallas almost hitting 70 wins; or KObe winning his first award after leading the league in scoring again and breaking one record after the other? THAT’s how one should consider this. As much as I love Nashty’s game and his outspoken character, three straight is Larry territory, and whoever has watched Bird play from 83 to 88 would cringe at that. Not that you can’t compare at all, Nash is amazing. But it’s just too much. And Dirk… I mean, it’s a shame that KG should get his name on the list with a season inferior to the one Dirk is having now – but that’s life. Kobe should BY NO MEANS finish his career without an MVP. Period. And now is the time to give him one. Give the man a chance to his legacy. He has done so much for the game. 10 years from now, we will be envied for having watched him do the things people will read about in disbelief.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    That’s all great, but that’s not the way it works.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    AND HOW AM I A NON-KOBE PERSON? Please. I think what he’s been doing this season is amazing. He’s the most talented all-around player in the game, no question, and has put himself into the MVP discussion, no question. I just don’t think he’s THE most valuable player this year. Does that really make me a hater?

  • DAvidTaly7

    M.V.P is suppose to be based on MOST VALUABLE PLAYER! Kobe by far is the most valuable player to his team… and not just that but to the NBA… Nobody deserves this more than kobe,… Just think about…. KOBE M.V.P!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • gdchild

    Kobe got robbed of the MVP awards at least twice.

  • http://slam.com Allen

    I totally agree with you. If they wanted the Most Vauable Team then I would of pick the Mavs. However we are talking about Most Vauable Player. So with that being said I think MVP should belong to Kobe Bryant.

  • H to the izzo

    Apparently you are a hater if you don’t jump on a bandwagon and remember these were all people who a few short years ago were calling him a rapist and said he would be nothing without Shaq

  • j. ellen

    Actually, Nash hasn’t surged ahead as the favorite to win the MVP. The favorite is still Dirk Nowitzki. The Dallas/Phoenix game changed *some* people’s perspectives, but I can just about guarantee you it didn’t change enough people’s perspectives to make him MVP. The contest now may be between Kobe and Dirk, not Kobe and Nash.

  • scott

    Bryant will not win the MVP. The Lakers will win around 45 games not enough for the media. Nash or Nowitzki will get the award considering their teams will win between 65 – 69 games. Seems like the MVP goes to the players on elite teams.

  • scott

    MVP voting
    1. Dirk Nowitzki
    2. Steve Nash
    3. LeBron James
    4. Kobe Bryant

  • scott

    James teammates suck just as bad as Bryant’s but Cleveland has a better record then LA. Bryant doesn’t make his teammates better. Let the flaming begin.

  • DEVILb0y

    hey jordan won his first MVP when the bulls still sucked…so give the damn MVP to kobe he deserve it he is the most dominant player in the NBA today..dirk and nash are just blessed with better teamates put kobe in dal minus dirk or phoenix minus nash and his team wins the title nuff said…

  • DEVILb0y

    hey scott even jordan didnt make his teamates better pippens numbers with and without jordan are proof..as for lebron he doesnt have thecompetitivenes of kobe or mj or hell even AI..he’s just concerned with endorsments and commercials he’s more concerned about becoming a human billboard than he is a champion..

  • Ajay

    Kobe’s the MVP.

  • Spencer

    Please write me and tell me why my 3-23 missive was edited out. It can’t be because I referred to another website, can it; otherwise why did you allow this post?:

    Reggie Evans says:
    KOBE THROWS ANOTHER ‘BOW! http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=2016986601 courtesy of Forum Blue and Gold

  • Kadavour

    LeBron plays on the East Coast. That means 3 games against each of the esteemed Atlantic Division teams. Nuff said

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    Russ’s post about Oscar’s trip-dub season’s stat is pretty damn impressive. you’d need a high pace offense for someone to have chances to grab that many boards, take 15 shots a game and drop 10 dimes a game. that made me think…
    what would kobe’s stats be if he plays in the suns offense (read: d’antoni’s system)? there will be so many posessions for him to operate. maybe not trip-dub, but it’d be close.

  • http://nba.com tt

    scott must live in the east coast. yes L.J.’s team does suck like Kobe’s but do you know what the teams are like in the west. A.I. & Melo’s team rank 7th in their division. It doesn’t matter what team is ranked where to have 50 or more pts in 4 straight games is crazy. 2nd only to Wilt.

  • David

    yes, why not. kobe absolutely deserve the award.

  • Reggie Evans

    Isn’t the best player on the best team really just the FINALS MVP????

  • Nathalie

    dammit this convo would be different if he woulda won da shit last year.

  • Andres David

    Feed Kobe hate and he turns it into buckets. Keep feeding him I guess, but you’re ruining Dirk’s chances. That man is reading this right now. Kobe, don’t hurt em. Forgive them, they know not what they do.

  • Simon

    Damn! great point Reg! Seriously i think people place far too much importance on TEAM success on an INDIVIDUAL award. One person can only do so much. Kobe cant make Kwame catch every pass and finish under the basket.(I’d give more examples but to be honest i havent seen enough games this season) He can only work with what he has. That being said Kobe is my boy, but i think Dirk should win it this year. It should really be Nash 1 mvp, Kobe for last year, an the Germanator this year. But if Mamba keeps this shit up for the rest of the year (and the fact that it actually is even though of being possible is a testament to his ridiculousness), it might have to be his award.

  • http://www.thegoodpersontest.net Chris

    Dirk is a great player but he doesn’t make his teammates better he just makes himself better and along with the rest of the team that is already good and scores plenty of points on their own. Nash assit average clearly shows he passes the ball to make his teammates better by planning the shots and also making the clutch shots and improving his game. Nash will win his third straight MVP, better than Kobe and better than Dirk. See ya at the playoffs.

  • Co Co

    Why does a guy get so much credit for another guy making a shot? I’ll ask like Starbury did, “How do you get an assist”? Someone has to make a shot right? While I don’t understand how it makes Steve Nash great when Amare dunks on someone, I do understand that when Kwame fumbles every pass and misses uncontested layups, its awfully hard for Kobe to get those “he makes his teammates better assists” Get over it people! Kobe is a great scorer, not a great passer. Let’s let him be good at what he does!

  • C

    If you think that Nash is MVP over Kobe, then I have a trade deal for you: Odom, Kwame, Luke, and Smush for Amare, Marion, Barbosa, and Diaw. How do you like that Suns fans?

    (For the record, unless Kobe singlehandly wins most of the games for the rest of the year, I think Dirk should be MVP. But I think Kobe should have taken it last year.)

  • http://www.geocities.xom/maknotic/nbo.html mike

    if they give the coach of the year award to the coach who does the best with a shitty team, can’t the same logic be used for kobe carrying a shitty team?

  • allan

    kobe bryant definitely deserved the mvp award last year because of the fact that the previous year they did not make the playoffs. Then last year kobe averaged an astounding 35 points a game, there team was above .500 and they made the playoffs, also dont forget the 62 point game against dallas in just 3 quarters and his 81 point game against toronto. he got robbed hard core last year. I HAVE GREAT EVIDENCE OF HOW KOBE GOT HATED ON LAST YEAR DUE TO THE FACT THAT HE FINISHED 5TH IN MVP VOTING LAST YEAR AFTER A SPECTACULAR SEASON HE HAD. He should have at least been 2nd in the mvp ballots then. But this year, its hard to consider kobe the mvp because of the year there having, there record isnt as good but thats mainly because of all the injuries the lakers have had because in the beginning of the year the lakers were playing great. but dont get me wrong, if kobe continues dis remarkable scoring run until the end of the regular season then he definitely should deserve mvp honors. Im talkin about if dis next 13 games left, kobe drops 40 or more every game and they win 70 to 80 percent of there games then kobe should be either mvp or finish 2nd in the votes. all i have to say though is kobe is the best player in the world today and i feel hes not getting the love he deserves.

  • Western_dream

    I get the feeling Russ don’t like me, i didn’t mean ya hating on the man it seems as though you are the only arguing a case for anybody but Kobe. Know wat i’m saying

  • http://the-seed.net/suns Hersey

    Just a thought, everyone imagines Kobe with other teams when they talk about why he’s so valuable. Kobe is a guy any team would love in their uniform. But why don’t the Lakers show him some love and trade for another dominant player. As a SUNS fan I’m glad to see the Lakers struggle but the guy is going to burnout with that team around him. Maybe that’s what he wants. Maybe he is a coach on the floor guy (like Nash) and he’s having fun making average players overachieve. Maybe I’m convinced. Maybe Kobe is the MVP. Maybe he’s Hollywood and he’s an actor. Maybe he’s been saving himself for the post season and he’s going to unleash a scoring attack unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Maybe the Lakers want to play 4 tall point guards and just feed Kobe. Maybe the Lakers and Spurs might be the best first round series.

  • tails

    i couldnt agree more…..MVP is such a whack award now…no offense it should go to the best player and that is KOBE….. all this makes his team better blah balh blah and win%….when you have smush parker as your point guard and you are in the playoffs….then you know you your the MVP of the league…kobe is the closest thing to jordan we will ever see….kobe should have won it last year and he should win it this year…too many haters out there and its sad…dirk is soooo soft….he cant make clutch FT’s…and cant play D period…nash is good dont get me wrong….but you take that talent away around him and hes just another good point guard….he cant take over the game like kobe…NO ONE CAN…and im sorry but jordan would have gone for 100 if they called the game when he used to play….wade goes to the line every second for little ticky tack fouls….thats the only way he scores….lebron isnt the good….ITS ALL ABOUT 24….the complete package

  • gdchild

    Robert Horry thinks Kobe shuld’ve won the MVP last season. Too bad the misperception of Kobe prevented the media types from voting for Kobe.

    Also, Horry stressed that Kobe was a good teammate.

  • Kadavour

    u guys made great points about the triangle offense’s designated SCORER passing the ball like it’s his job within the offense. By being a facilitator for much of this year, he did work hard to make his teammates better and build their confidence for the playoffs. i.e. sasha and smush fire it up with no regard, they used to defer alot more. however, the lakers are at a point where Kobe facilitating don’t get Ws.

  • Gary

    Kobe is the most dominant player in the league. The fact that he is on a weak team like the Lakers shouldnt diminish from the fact that he does what he does. Dirk has a team that any superstar in the league would be jealous of, and Nash just cant get it for a 3rd term can he??? Anyway for me Kobe its MVP for my man!

  • PK

    Kobe Bryant is a great player. What he’s doing here is incredible. Now, let’s play a game of Q & A.

    1)What is the Lakers record in the past 10 games? The past 20?
    2)Kobe has missed 5 games this year. How does the Lakers winning percentage in these games compare with the rest of the season?
    3)Are any of the teams Kobe has lit up for 50+ points on this run play-off bound?
    4) Is Kobe matching his point average from last year? Is he close?
    5) When LA lost to Dallas the other day, where did it rank in all-time Laker losses?

    First person to answer these questions wins a free dinner with Lang.

  • http://www.chalkbodyoutline.com Raul Concepcion

    Bungee off of Kobes scrotum… MVP?!?! Getting hot for a few games doesn’t merit that. Don’t get me wrong hes great and all but if this point explosion over the last few games never happened we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

  • Bleek

    It really is a shame D-Wade went out when he did. With him and Shaq healthy trying to get the division lead he definitly would have had a chance at MVP. He puts up the best numbers in the league overall and is an assasin down the stretch.

  • Elyse

    Russ, you pointed out that Dirk’s shooting is better percentages are all better (fg%, 3pt%, ft%). That’s fine, but stats are misleading. How many three’s does dirk attempt per game vs. Kobe? How many free throws? Where are his shots coming from, and how many defenders does he have on him? In the beg. of the season, when the team was rolling and healthy and kobe’s primary role was facilitator then scorer, he was shooting nearly 50%. Then the injuries came, teams could afford to double and triple team him where as before, he was keeping the teams more honest. Dirk has the advantage of playing with a better quality of supporting players, that has had no real injury set backs. Kobe’s shooting percentage has gone down, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that his quality of play has, or that those stats mean Dirk is having a better year. Dirk is just having a luckier one.

  • A bit of English

    The MVP is made up of two parts. 1: You need to be part of a winning team (one of the top two or three teams) as that is what basketball is about. 2: you also need to state a case for if the player was removed from the team that team would be worse than if you removed a rival MVP candidates from his team. So that counts Dirk out as Dallas are loaded with quality players and would still be a force without him. Nash well that would be my choice as he is what makes the Suns tick. He is the only point guard who could run a team like he does and without him (as seen through his injury) the suns just don’t tick. Kobe, well i’m not to sure. Don’t get me wrong he is the most gifted player on the planet but the MVP is not for best player on the planet otherwise it would probaly be known as that.

  • 1hush D

    Kadavour, you are right on with the triangle analysis and the 5.5 is valid too…my hate does deter me a degree from giving proper credit. I think Kobe has put himself in the MVP discussion……………. However, I repeat that last year Nash became the 4th player in history (Larry Bird, Reggie Miller and Mark Price) to shoot 40% from downtown, 50% from the field and 90 from the line. But many of you claim Kobe should have had the MVP last year?……………………….. This year Dirk has those numbers (41, 50, 90) while Nash has slipped a bit in the 3 point arena from earlier this year from 50 to 47, 53% from the field and 88 from the line (down from last year). You guys arguing that numbers don’t matter are going to tell me that Dirk becoming the 5th player in history behind Nash to put up 40-50-90 does not matter? Kobe finding a Wilt record matters but to me Dirk’s 40-50-90 is a bigger milemark because he has done it all season against tough opponents not just against Memphis, Portland, Minnesota and New Orleans…………………….. Speaking of which, on January 14, Dirk put 38 and 15 on Toronto and on February 7, he put up 38 and 10 and 6 assists against Memphis (he shot 70% from the field). And on February 13, Dirk gave Milwaukee and early valentine of 38, 11 and 8. March 16, he put up 30 and 12 against Boston. Those are great numbers but what stands out? The quality of the opponent. I could continue with stats from games where Dallas, led by Dirk and his numbers, got the victory against defensive opponents, but I think I have made my point. If Kobe keeps this up against teams known for more than their lottery ball ability, then I’ll give him the nod for MVP…………………………………………………….. But let me predict that BM either won’t put 50 on the defensiveless Warriors tonight or that if he does, the Lakers will still lose the game (to a team that cannot seem to buy a road win) just like they did to the Suns when Kobe scored 50 in the playoffs last year. If it is not tonight, you will get one of those games soon and it will cause you to take pause. 50 points and a loss?

  • Troy Dallas

    Wow. Phx cant run a consistent offense without Nash. Dirk is the driving force behind dallas’ ridiculous season. Kobe puts up 50 for 4 straight games and he’s MVP? C’mon Lang you know better. Kobe is an amazing player, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to proclaim him MVP just because he broke and tied a few scoring records. The MVP race is still between Nash and Dirk, every1 else just takes a back seat(and yes, that includes Mr Bryant as well).

  • http://nba.com tt

    It was nice reading all those Dirk & Nash stats, but the two combined couldn’t win a championship. Remember the days when both players were Mavs. Don’t get me wrong i like both players i think they are really great players on very good teams. You were impressed with Nash being the 4th in history with 40-50-90, how about Kobe 2nd only to Wilt. Kobe didn’t just place 2nd to Wilt last year, this year as well. By the way since when were the Mavs a lottery team? I do recall Kobe scoring more than 60 on them.

  • http://nba.com tt

    No body said Kobe was MVP. Everyone’s just saying that people need to include him in the talks for MVP. Being nominated doesn’t mean you get it. In my opinoin Dirk’s already lost the MVP race to Nash based on the Mavs vs. Suns game.

  • Kadavour

    Dirk’s shooting percentages are testament to the fact that’s he an amazing shooter. Dude got stroke out his ass. Any great player will shoot at high percentages if he’s facing 1-on-1 matchups. Dirk’s supporting cast affords him that luxury. Kobe gets DOUBLED and even Tripled at times. During this 50+ stretch Kobe’s been shooting .542 FG,.511 from 3pt range and .933 from the line. All this on 8 turnovers. If that’s not EFFICIENCY i don’t know what is.

  • Brodie

    I totally agree that Kobe deserves without a doubt the MVP! Kobe Bryant is the most talented player in the league, without him the lakers wouldn’t be in the playoffs let alone a threat. They would unfortunately be like other such past dynastys of the past (Celtics) struggeling to keep heads above water.

  • Troy Dallas

    So I hear Ron Artest is considering retiring at the end of the season. Really sad, if he goes through with it. He has the potential to be a perennial mvp if he was only more focused and didnt get into trouble

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I really wish Russ would stop hating on Kobe.

  • The Real Mongoose

    I think we should give the MVP to who ever shoots 50-40-90 every year. This is the most important stat in history. By the way Steve Kerr got the elusive 50-50-90 in 1996, but was robbed of the MVP. Ridiculous!

  • The Real Mongoose

    lmao at lang

  • 1hush D

    I guess you have to play for it to actually count. That is, coming in for one minute at the end of each quarter says alot. But you’re right mongoose, why do we even pay attention to stats? Lets just pick who looks cool. Who can spin and leap and throw it in while entertaining us. Maybe a globetrotter, you BM jockriders are unreal ……………………….. Four people in history fool. And they did it for the whole season. I guess all those shooting percentages are just, well, silly numbers, not a reason for handing out the MVP.

  • scott

    Nowitzki for MVP. Nothing hammers home your point like Dallas beating the mighty Hawks and Nowitzki scoring 28 points on only 17 shots. Impressive.

  • g

    the lakeshow are in the oden/durant hunt if kobe’s not playing. i don’t think dallas and phoenix would be…

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Thanks for the support, Lang. I’m bringing a bat to the Magic game tomorrow.

  • http://slamonline.com/online/2006/11/and-then-there-were-two/#comments undertheboardwalk

    whats more important to me as a lakers fan than kobe scoring fifty is beating the warriors anyway i dont care how they do it as long as it gets done

  • Kadavour

    43 for Mamba, the streak ends. Anyone thinks a new streak is on the horizon?

  • Tom Jackson

    BTW Russ, there’s no way Jordan could have won the MVP 10 straight times. He was never in the league 10 straight years.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    So? He was still generating revenue and buzz. No one said anything about actually playing games.

  • sasha

    I totally agree because last year I thought kobe should have won and this year i feel the same because if kobe doesnt play the lakers more than likely are going to lose and thats what i call MVP!

  • sasha

    fuck what all of ya’ll haters say it doesn’t matter becaus dirk or nash can’t do what kobe does night in and night out!!

  • Western_dream

    Alright time to lay off Russ, the man’s entitled to his opinion. Even if he is wrong ha ha. Sorry couldn’t help myself

  • marvman

    HERE IS WHAT THE PEOPLE IN THE L THINK OF KOBE. WHO WOULD KNOW BETTER?

    “Well the NBA is in great hands, but if I had to pick the single greatest player on the planet, I take Kobe Bryant, without hesitation.” – Michael Jordan

    “Kobe, in my opinion, is the best player in the NBA” – Stephon Marbury

    “Kobe the best in the game right now man. Who better then Kobe?” – Amare Stoudemire

    “Kobe is still the best player in the game.” – Phil Jackson

    “Kobe is the top player in the league.” – Jason Richardson

    “The MVP should be, when I look at it, I think it should be the best player in the league. Kobe is the best player in the league.” – Chauncey Billups

    “If you want to find a player to build around, he’s probably it. He’s got great size for a guard, he’s pretty impossible to defend, and he is hard to score against when he hunkers down on defense.” – Nate McMillan

    “I’m not saying that he’s the most valuable player, but he’s certainly the best player. And it’s not even close. He is utterly dominant.” – Mike D’Antoni

    “Kobe is the best basketball player in the world.” – Charles Barkley

    “Kobe Bryant is the most talented player in the game today; he could do anything.” – Alonzo Mourning

    “It was bitter that Kobe Bryant got injured. His presence alone would have been enough to win the tournament. That’s the level I see him on. To me he is the best player in the world right now. That guy doesn’t know fear at all. He doesn’t care. He would have won it for the Americans single-handedly.” – Dirk Nowitzki

    He’s the best offensive player in the league, hands down,” Bulls guard Ben Gordon

    “Everybody has a different opinion, but I’ve been a big fan of Kobe. I think he’s the best player in the league.” – Luol Deng

    ?Nobody can guard Kobe one-on-one. Nobody.? – Del Harris

    ?I see a lot of myself in him. No doubt about it.? – Michael Jordan

    Horace Grant kept referring to Bryant as “No. 23,” the number Jordan wore. It wasn’t a mistake. “I knew what I was saying,” Grant said.

    “He’s the best player in our game today, in my opinion” – Lebron James

    “It’s hard to guard somebody when he’s feeling it. For 10 straight, he was feeling it.” It?s always a big challenge battling against the best. – Vince Carter

    Who is the best offensive player that you have had to guard so far in the NBA? “I’d say Kobe Bryant. He is one of the most athletic, and he has so many moves that he can score whenever he wants.” – Corey Magette

    “At the end of the day Kobe will go down as the greatest player to have ever played the game.”"His mentality, his approach — he tries to seek and destroy. There is really nothing he can’t do on the basketball court. The main thing is his will. He is not satisfied with just beating you. He wants to put the dagger in you. I think that is a lost art to a certain degree in this league.” – Mark Jackson

    “He has no weaknesses.” – Al Harrington

    “He’s my hero.” – Shaq

    “I give him all the respect in the world. He is the No. 1 player in the league, by far.” Gilbert Arenas

    “He ranks right there with Jordan.” – Pat Riley

    “He reminds me of Michael Jordan. “You look and they have similar games where they want to lead their team to victory, no matter if they have to shoot the ball every time or if they have to rebound or pass, they’re going to find a way to win.” I’ve always said that Kobe Bryant is the best scorer in our game today and he’s definitely proving himself. ” – Lebron James

    Well, he’s the best player, by far. Dirk or Nash don’t really play defense. And you talk about LeBron (James), well, LeBron doesn’t check Kobe, but Kobe checks LeBron. Kobe does pattern himself after Michael (Jordan) in that fact that he’s going to check the best. I think that’s why he’s the best player, because he’s one of the best scorers and one of the best defenders.” – Chris Webber

    That’s the reason I’m here coaching, basically, because Kobe is here. I made that evident when I came back that if I was going to coach this team, Kobe is going to be here. He’s in a league all to himself… He just smells blood in the water and he’s going to go after it. …That’s what you see that you admire in Kobe is that he’s going to attack. He’s going to be in that mode. He’s going to continue to go at a team until either you take him out of the ballgame or else they stop him.” – Phil Jackson

    “Kobe Bryant is the most complete offensive player that the game has ever seen.” – Greg Anthony

  • Drolfe

    I don’t understand the 40-50-90 argument. It puts Nash in the exclusive company of multiple MVP winners Mark Price and Reggie Miller?

  • T

    What is one highlight you will never see of Kobe on ESPN? Answer: Kobe passing the ball. Kobe should not be the MVP until he can learn how to P-A-S-S. Kobe can score,BUT Kobe can’t pass.

  • http://the-seed.net/suns Hersey

    I’ve heard the Team 180 (50-40-90) comment many times from NBA analysts. It’s a rare number to hit and but quite an accomplishment. If a guy does that in addition to being an All Star on an elite team, it does add cred to an MVP vote for him.

  • snyper 48

    Common Sense Russ, you know you hating right?Lang, is it really you who wrote this or you just went to Khalid’s crib and stole it?Drolfe your piece bout the voting guys was amazing….Ok, lets get serious now,Lang,are you talking about the one Kobe that plays in the Lakers?are you a believer now?

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    in all the quotes that marvman collected (that’s a lot of quotes to gather), when did this happen?
    “He’s my hero.” – Shaq
    i’m guessing during their 3-chips run?
    i love how there’s no real definition of MVP. that’s why it’s so inconsistent and generates so much talk. just look at the comments on this post and those dirk vs. nash posts after the mavs/suns game.

  • http://www.coats.com beej

    T says, Kobe can’t P-A-S-S. What a dumb thing to say. He passes the rock as good as almost all of the game’s elite. It’s just that he scores better than ALL of the game’s elite.

    T, do you really watch a lot of ESPN?

  • 1hush D

    Has anyone disputed BM is the best player in the L? I agree with that. One on one, nobody can beat him. Too bad for him the NBA is team basketball and not one on one. The MVP ain’t about one on one. It is considered within the concept of a team game………………………………… The 40-50-90 stat is one that shows consistency, a priceless team concept, as well as skill, a necessity, to be included in the MVP conversation. Those with the votes are thinking Dirk or Nash, Dirk or Nash. By the way, Kobe is the best player in the league today.

  • Troy

    So 5 amazing games (leading to 2 and 3 point wins vs lottery teams) wipes out the 7-game losing streak he was around for before?
    Kobe turns the Lakers into a 1st round playoff team. Dirk turns the Mavs into a championship contender. Which is more valuable?
    And while Dirk’s supporting cast is certainly better than Kobe’s some people here are seriously over-rating it: “full of former and present all stars”? Aside from Dirk himself there is one current All-star (Josh Howard who had to make it in as an injury replacement) and one former All-star (Stackhouse who is years removed from his all-star level and now is held to 20-25 minutes a game to preserve his health/effectiveness). 2 starters, Terry and Dampier, were in the league for years and never sniffed the playoffs until the started playing with Dirk. And if you watch Dallas play, Dirk is double-teamed on almost every possession. The difference between him and Kobe there is that Dirk’s teammates are more likely to make the open shot when he passes out of the double-team.

  • http://nba.com tt

    troy. you’re right the difference between Kobe & Dirk is that Dirk’s teammates are more likely to make open shots, that’s why the Mavs are better. You haven’t proven to me how Dirk is better than Kobe though. Last I checked anyone who makes it into the playoffs are championship contenders. I’m not saying the Lakers will win but doesn’t mean Dallas will either, look at last year.

  • dez

    i think its ridiculous how many comments there are for every kobe post.

  • THE MAN

    Hell NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • The Real Mongoose

    I can’t believe how serious this guy is about the 50-40-90 stat. Who cares if four guys have done that in history? Only 2 have dropped 50 in four straight. I don’t think Kobe should win MVP this year, unless Lakers can really end on a roll, but your obsession with the stat makes you sound ridiculous.

  • Iversonbrotha

    Tough call on MVP, but Nash doesn’t deserve it.

  • Miggy

    he’s been playing like an MVP for two years already. give it to him so he can stop proving himself. i dont like him but he deserves it. KB24=MVP

  • raskal9

    all i got to say is when the game is on the line everyone here will pick Kobe period, we all know Dirk choke on big shots, and Nash choke to but no one talk about it, look at last year playoffs the game was over all Nash need to do is hold the ball and get foul, but instead got the ball stolen with less the what like 10 seconds to go, not just once but twice, oh by the way in that same game who end up with the last shot, no other than Kobe who we all know was going to make it, one of the greatest comeback in playoffs thats not remember, enough said.

  • http://slam Juan says

    Kobe is the best player in the world he is my hero of corse he deserve M.V.P no dought

  • http://slam Juan says

    Kobe is the best player in the world he is my hero of corse he deserve M.V.P no dought
    Kobe doesn’t phave to prove nobody he is the
    best better than micel or wilt

  • 1hush D

    Yo Goose, why not attack it on merits than simply talking of how obsessed I am? Tell me how shooting percentages don’t matter and how the team stat is overrated. I am not saying it is the end all be all but it is more important to me for judging a players MVP status than scoring 50+ in 4 games straight against losing teams (because we know the latter will come to an end). Go after the merits please.

  • John

    Kobe is the MVP…

    Dirk and Steve are defensive liabilities…Kobe is a perennial defensive Star.
    In the NBA unlike the NFL MVP’s are expected to embrace defense as well as offense. Both Dirk and Steve are exposed every night by marginal players but the pundits look the other way so they can say “MVP candidate”.

    Dirk nor Steve can take over a game when during crunch time…Scottie Pippen lost his job for exposing Nash’s inability to take over games last year. Dirk was horrific during crunch time in the playoffs last year missing free throws although averaging around 90% during the regular season and passed the ball to Dampier at a critical stage in the game. Nothing new Dirk always chocked every year during the playoffs. And, the pundits said Steve was tired and had a backache so he got a he can’t play like the MVP card from the pundits in the playoffs last year. Did Larry, Jordan, Isaiah need such passes or excuses when they played sick or severely limited due to injuries? No…

    Dirk and Steve play with All-stars Steve with 2 and they get way to much credit for their contributions on their respective teams. Kobe is the Lakers and the moment Mr. Buss gives Kobe at least one all-star the Lakers will be the power. Shucks they took Phoenix to the wire last year with Kobe and some guys. Kobe has yet to win and Steve has two in a row. Anyone who can’t see how obscene this is needs to establish a b-ball IQ.

    Ok, I’ll concede Steve’s higher free throw percentage since the pundits bring it up but what they don’t bring up is the fact that Kobe goes to the line 3 to 4 times more than Steve per game thusly has a far more significant contribution from the line.

    So, Steve Nash deserves to be in the elite league with Wilt, Bill and Larry? Or heartless but improving Dirk should get the nod over Kobe? Give us real basketball minds a break and award Kobe what he truly deserves the 2007 MVP Award.

  • 1hush D

    John, perhaps you can utilize your “real basketball mind” and your computer to explain the meltdown and the flat out “I give up” spirit Kobe embodied in the playoffs last year………………………. I also wonder if you have been watching the Nash of Phoenix because one thing the guy does is step up when needed. He may not be the one finishing at the rim but he is getting them there (by the way, I think Nash has made Marion an all-star). You are right about Dirk as a choker in the playoffs and the defense point re: Nash. But I suppose I can point out that the MVP is for the regular season (I would not be surprised to see Dirk get it and choke this year). And Kobe’s offense is lacking because he fails to put up the assists that we expect in a good offensive package. Sure Kobe can jack up 40 shots a game and put up lots of points. But again, he put 50 on Phoenix in the playoffs last year and they lost. “took them to the wire”?………..they were up 3 to 1 and failed to close! Then in game 7, he stopped trying to get the ball. That is all post-MVP award stuff but what am I supposed to do with that if we are judging players for playoff performance? And you should know the folks with the votes are “real” basketball minds….and they continue to put the chip in the right place.

  • David

    HAH 1Hush D i beg to differ. Kobe Bryant is one of the most heavily scrutinized athletes in this modern era if not ever. People dont appreciate what he does and his abilities . You replace Steve Nash and let the suns have almost any point gaurd in the NBA for example Rafer Alston (no disrepsect Skip) but they are not the same team but damn near close. Steve has SOOO many weapons its no problem for nash he cant play D and the last MVP award was given to the wrong man, give Kobe a break what he did in that last playoff series is something every NBA player does except KG and thats to give up and COASt yes i said it they barley play D in that league sp give kobe a break as well as the MVP (MOST VALUABLE PLAYER) not the best player on the best team award

  • chief sucks

    nash deserves mvp but itll be dirk

  • DLillemo

    THANK YOU!!Man ive been sayin this since last year. Im Canadian, got mad love for the suns, and agree he deserved it the first time. But last year without Kobe the Lakers are in the bottom 3 in the league! What about LeBron gettin robed too? 31.5 6 &7 with a steal or so is better than 18, 11, 2 and not a game of D all year. Give it to Dirk, the League is still too scared to put Kobe as their poster boy. Appeals to the “Red States” a little better I guess

  • The choosen One

    KB24 is the choosen one blessed with the work ethic of a pendalum it never stops
    To kobe sincerely THe chOOsen One

  • The choosen One

    Kobe for MVP yes will he win it or achive will wait and see wont wee but his 13 assist last night agianst the sacamento kings was shell shocker for people who took him for a ball hog i guess kb24 showed them as the laker look on to continue there successful journey with farmar and odom smush walton and evens and bynum and the bench warmers just kidding

  • John

    1 HUSH D, going forward lets deal with facts because they speak louder than naa na naa na boo boo…lol

    Shaun:
    1. Marion was an all-star before Nash got to Phoenix.
    2. Nash has definitely not made Marion a better defensive player
    3. Nash has nothing to do with Marion’s offensive or defensive rebounds
    4. Marion continues to be an all-star because he is a complete player

    Dirk:
    1. Good to see you recognize a choker when you see one.

    Kobe:
    1. Two’s like Kobe & Jordan don’t have assists like One’s. Although Kobe does average 5.4 or 6 less than Nash the league leader.

    Nash:
    1. Ranked 125th in Steals: Steve is one of the quickest players in the NBA; he is an excellent athlete with exceptional hand eye coordination. If you compare him to other point guards who typically lead the league in steals with comparable skill sets you must ask yourself why is he ranked 125th? I suggest you look at his heart…will to win! Again, basketball is a two way sport. Plus, he does not account for huge offensive numbers anyway.

    2. Nash accounts for 24.65 points per game (18.9 points per game + 5.7 assists half of his total 11.5 per game) Not bad but it surely is not at the MVP level.

    3. Efficiency Rankings: Nash is ranked 10Th Kobe is….. 2nd. Efficiency rankings account for most of the stat stuffers. However, only two deal with defense: blocks and steals. It’s too bad they don’t have a category for: times scored on by average players because his true value would be understood and reflected by his downward exit from 10th place.

    Efficiency Leaders:

    Feel free to peruse through the FACTS in the Efficiency Leaders below you may learn something…

    NBA Season Leaders: 2006-2007 NBA Scoreboard

    Also see: Daily Leaders | Best Games
    View by Teams:

    Season Leaders: 2006-2007 – Average per game
    RNK PLAYER, TEAM POS GP
    MIN
    FG%
    FT%
    3PM
    REB
    AST
    STL
    BLK
    TO
    PTS
    ESPN

    1 Dwyane Wade, Mia G
    46 38.9 .494 .816 0.5 4.8 7.9 2.1 1.3 4.2 28.8 48.2
    2 Kobe Bryant, LAL SG
    68 40.5 .462 .867 1.9 5.7 5.4 1.4 0.4 3.4 31.0 46.7
    3 Kevin Garnett, Min F
    72 39.7 .479 .839 0.2 12.9 4.2 1.2 1.7 2.7 22.8 44.8
    4 LeBron James, Cle SF
    70 41.1 .477 .694 1.3 6.7 6.0 1.6 0.7 3.3 27.4 44.2
    5 Gilbert Arenas, Was PG
    72 40.3 .418 .847 2.8 4.6 6.1 1.9 0.2 3.3 28.8 43.0
    6 Dirk Nowitzki, Dal PF
    72 36.5 .501 .903 1.0 9.2 3.4 0.7 0.8 2.1 24.9 42.5
    7 Carmelo Anthony, Den SF
    56 38.1 .478 .802 0.5 6.0 3.8 1.2 0.3 3.8 29.1 41.4
    8 Yao Ming, Hou C
    42 34.0 .507 .858 0.0 9.6 2.1 0.4 2.0 3.7 25.1 41.0
    9 Allen Iverson, Den G
    56 42.6 .440 .812 0.9 3.0 7.3 2.0 0.2 4.2 26.9 40.2
    10 Steve Nash, Pho PG
    67 35.3 .534 .892 2.2 3.4 11.5 0.8 0.1 3.9 18.9 40.2

    Ok, do you choose to continue to be misguided by the “real” basketball minds? Do you truly believe they are putting the chip in the right place? If so, bring it my brother but be mindful that I will not be so nice with my next rebuttal!

  • Tommy2Gunnz

    The most common criterion offered to evaluate a most valuable player involves the kidnap scenario. In other words, if you kidnapped a candidate for the award, how would his team fare without him? I just have to say again that if the suns had no Nash or the Mavs had no Dirk they would be just fine. Take Kobe ( the best player in the game today) away from the Lakers and you have the worst team in the NBA. Why can’t some of you people see that?

  • John

    Tommy2Gunnz, you are on the money!

  • Hoop2live32

    What I dont understand is we can name so many things Kobe is better at overall than these other canidates..I mean if we judge on who is the most complete we giving it to Kobe, I got love for Lebron but he not D’ing up..As for the teams..Nash is sitting alongside Amare n Marion, yes he’s elivated their game but damn Amare was nice to begin with and Marion isnt bad either, Dirk come on Jason Terry has been real, he’s a wildcat, Josh Howard, Dirk has nothing to do with how good he’s becoming, Jerry Stack coming off the bench..damn Stack once led the league in scoring..I’ll give Lebron love cuz Larry Hughes isnt much, I dont like Z but everyone gives him love, plus Gooden will give you something..now as far as LA…Odom is the closest thing I’d say to a superstar but lets not forget he hoop’d for the Clips where did they go w/him? It aint easy what Kobe is doing with LA…

  • dwadesthebest

    Kobe should not be MVP. True MVPs are an integral part of a system that wins basketball games. The Spurs have a system, the Pistons have a system, Phoenix and Dallas have a system and they are all contenders for the NBA crown. The MVP award should not go to anyone on teams that struggle to get into the playoffs. The MVP goes to the player whose leadership and talents bring winning results to an organization. The MVP is not just about rebounds or points or even stats: it is about the consummate professional who leads his team to battle and more often than not comes away with a victory. I’ll take Duncan with his 24 and 12 and 5 blocks over Kobe’s 81 ANY DAY OF THE WEEK. Kobe is extremely talented and is the best scorer in the league, but that does not make him the best player or the best teammate. Also you have to get it done on the big stage. 81 points against a sub 500 team in the regular season does not impress me. What impresses me is carrying a team to the finals or the championship like Wade, MJ, and Lebron has recently done. These players have had impressive games in the playoffs against superior teams. MJ spent an entire career making his mark in the playoffs against the best teams ever!!

  • http://thelink hurst

    kobe number 1 and dont forget hater,,,,,,,

  • http://thelink hurst

    u guys think that kg,lebron is in kobe level, u haters got 2 be kidding me those guys got alot more 2 go, i know they r playing a good year but kobe man, is a legend so y guess all y cant say is good luck with ur mvp. kobe all the way,,,,,,,,,

  • simonnsez

    Kobe will only lost his MVP award if he will robbed by votes!

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