Without Warning Or Mercy
Kobe’s Playoff kicks were subtle but lethal.
by Chris O’Leary / @olearychris
As far as Kobe Bryant‘s sneaker line goes this season, what he wore last night leaned toward the mundane. What he did in those Del Sol Zoom Kobe VIs, as we all know, was anything but run of the mill.
Love him, hate him, or just five-out-of-10 the guy, Bean’s 19 points in 28 minutes will go down as a defining moment in his career. Some might argue that he’s channeling MJ too much in these moments, that if he’d just gone for an MRI and had it come back negative, a lot of the drama would have been drained from the situation like the swelling in the Mamba’s left ankle could have been between Game 4 and Game 5.
Whether the hype was self-created or not, Kobe came through in dramatic fashion. He laid low through the first quarter, loosening the ankle up and not sweating a one-point start. His right-handed cram over Emeka Okafor in the second quarter was the turning point in the game and likely in the series. His lefty dunk in the third quarter was just for fun, a memo to Chris Paul and the other younger stars in the League that the torch won’t be passed as much as you’ll have to pry it from Kobe’s perpetually busted up hands.
Twelve hours after the fact, I’m left wondering if the color choice on Kobe’s sneaks was deliberate. A predominantly black sneak in the Playoffs is a throwback to the all-business Chicago Bulls of the late ’90s and of course to the Fab Five before them. His VIs on Tuesday were nondescript. They sneak up on you, much like Kobe did to the Hornets last night. Now, if Kobe comes back wearing the Chaos colorway down the road, maybe we can expect something more attention-grabbing from him, as opposed to him just giving his team what it needed in Game 5.