Roger L. Simon

In the NBA finals... It's Kobe vs. Michael

Kobe Bryant was an otherwordly athlete at the end of game six of the Western Conference finals. His fellow MVP Steve Nash put it this way of the nine points Bryant scored in the last two minutes: “Those aren’t shooters’ shots, they’re scorers’ shots. Those are best-player-in-the-game type shots.”

Indeed, the Kobe/LeBron controversy is now over, at least for a while and probably forever, because Bryant has shown himself to be the definitive closer, possibly in the history of the game. Of course, his fellow players already knew that. Don’t believe me? Think back to the gold medal game at the Beijing Olympics when Spain was gaining on Team USA and victory looked precarious. Did all those all-stars give the ball to LeBron? DWade? Don’t be silly. It was never in question who got the ball – and the USA won.

And now on to Boston. Well, sort of. ESPN sportswriter J. A. Adande was money when he wrote that there will be a living ghost on the court when the finals open at Staples Center on Thursday. He is Michael Jordan and he and Kobe will be duking it out for the title of GOAT (greatest of all time). Adande concluded: Now the Lakers play the franchise their fans call “that [bleeping] team” with no hint of love at all. But to Bryant they’re just another obstacle on his quest to be The Man … no ifs, ands or bleeps.