Slamadamonth, SLAM #85: Kobe Bryant
Nov. 12, 2004: The Black Mamba welcomes a young Dwight Howard to the NBA.
On a distant planet far from Earth, a flat-screen TV glows. The room it illuminates is far from alien—comfortable leather furniture, tables with surfaces that look strangely like heavy shattered glass. NBA highlights flicker across the screen as announcers detail the exploits of number-one overall pick Dwight Howard, who has opened his rookie season with five straight double-digit rebound games heading into the night’s matchup with the Lakers. The high school to the pros jump has been accomplished with nary a growing pain. The dark bulk in the chair nearest the TV shifts, reaches for a slim telephone. Satellite, you know. Free long distance. Very long distance.
In a plush Orlando hotel room, a cell phone buzzes. Kobe Bryant answers, listens carefully. One word. “Yes.” He clicks it shut.
Later that night, same darkened room, LeaguePass. Satellite, you know. Howard continues to clean the glass—he’ll end up with 15 boards. But the shape in the chair is waiting for something else.
This. Kobe drives down the lane, Howard waiting in the paint. The reaction comes late, and he gets Weiswashed. The photographers, recipients of similar phone calls, get it all. From multiple angles. Message delivered. This won’t be that easy.
In his den on the planet Lovetron, Darryl Dawkins sits back in his chair, turns off the TV and laughs.