Tonight I’m headed to the C’s-Lakers game to do some game notes for the site and do one of those features that I should be completely used to by now.
Go to the game. Do some pre-game chats. Ask Brian Scalabrine how big his shoe is (again). Hope there’s ice cream at the press table. It’s all pretty routine.
But something is lingering right now. Even if I don’t talk to him, there’s still something very ominous even writing this right now and I’m not even at the Garden yet.

Kobe is in the building and I can feel it from here.

He has a buzz that apparently transcends sound. And I guess that’s why he makes even the most harrowed a little nervy.
I have every intention on talking to the guy. I want to ask him about tradition — about how he looks at tradition and actually takes it seriously; why he wanted to play in that Knicks game like his family was on the line. I would like to do this without trembling like I’m in an earthquake. And, as pathetic as that sounds, I’m not sure it’s possible.
And, honestly, it’s a little daunting. It’s not because of the on-court swagger he presents, or even flaunts — I’ve broken through that layer of player almost every time I do an interview.  It’s probably not because the only image of Kobe I have in my head is him wrapped in snake (although Snakes on a Plane probably isn’t making it any easier). And I can assure you, this has absolutely nothing to do with any rape he did not commit.

Kobe is simply culture defying. He’s the best player in the NBA and, somehow, he just doesn’t seem to fit in it. He’s MJ for the perpetually confused. And, because of it, he has an aura that extends throughout the entire city of Boston right now.

So, is it possible to be used to this?

Just because you cover politics doesn’t mean you’re not intimidated by the President.

Now onto, you know, that whole beat thing I have. Some things that I’m willing to admit I kinda, sorta, maybe got wrong at one point or another. Possibly.
– I’m sorry Aaron Gray. You’re not pedestrian, as we’ve previously stated. You’re slightly better than pedestrian. Extra-pedestrian, if you will. You’re rebounding at an unhealthy clip (10.2 rpg) and Pitt enjoys all the space you take up. And six-for-seven from the field the other night to seal off Villanova? Impressive.
So I don’t know why I (we) bash you so. We actually kind of like what you do. So here’s a nice stamped grievance for you.

Plus, isn’t this the mark of a good tourney team? A couple of good scorers, Graves and Cook, a scoring point guard, Levance Fields (and Undeclared’s unofficial mancrush on his crossover) and a low-post guy who can hold fort. Hell, Kaman at Western Michigan and Olowokandi at Pacific did it by themselves.

History shows this whole concept will work, so we’ll stop bashing you. At least momentarily.
– My deepest condolences to Air Force. I didn’t know Undeclared had a cover curse. Really, my best to you and yours.
– I’m admitting to a mistake that I never even made public, but I think it’s one we all made: underestimating Notre Dame. They weren’t even on my radar entering the season.

Then again, whose radar were they on? I apologize to the Irish for not being omniscient enough to see Russell Carter’s 18.4 points per game coming sooner. In that conference, with Pitt and Marquette, I thought three upperclassmen on a team would be an absolute killer.
Instead, Notre Dame is 18-4. They’re #19 in the country and they’re not just relying on their name to get there (this isn’t the BCS). Conventional wisdom sucks.
–  I’m sorry I can’t tell you my tourney sleeper. I can say I haven’t mentioned them yet in any of the rankings and they have one very high profile player. It’s between me and me right now. Well, until the March edition of SLAM, that is. You can see my Final Four gamble in there.
Or you can guess it.