White Hat Sports Headlines

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The TRUTH has arrived.

This post to me has two different meanings. I'm a Celtics fan, don't get me wrong, but my true allegiances are with Allen Iverson. Love me for it, hate me for it, either way is fine with me. That's just the guy I grew up watching after Jordan retired, and I'm not the type of fan to just give up on a guy when he goes through struggles. When Iverson retires I will probably start following Chris Paul even more than I do now. So I am not able to get extremely excited about this Celtics win. That being said, part one of this is about the Celtics, and specifically Paul Pierce, the 2008 NBA Finals MVP. He has always been a star, but this year showed he could potentially go down as one of the best. To come back from being stabbed in the back 11 times in a night club to what he has become is unbelievable. It wasn't Pierce's scoring that impressed me, I knew about that from my many trips to the Garden. It was his defense, and more importantly, his leadership. He put aside his ego and took his team to the top. There is no other way to look at it. He did what very few players, especially in the game of basketball, do. He still knew when to take over, and knew when to let his teammates do it and stand aside. That is something that Kobe didn't do, and as far as I'm concerned he will never do. That brings me to part two...

Kobe Bryant is not, nor will he ever be, Michael Jeffrey Jordan. If there was any doubt about it up until this point there cannot be any doubt now. MJ doesn't allow his team to lose a 24 point lead at home. MJ doesn't allow his team to get blown out by 39 points in the most important game of the season. MJ knew when to take over, and when to let someone else shoot. And perhaps the most important thing; MJ would NEVER allow Phil Jackson to put him on Rajon Rondo for the entire series. He just wouldn't. He would guard Pierce, and that would be the end of the discussion. That's what wins championships. The desire, the need, to be the best, even if it means potentially getting embarrassed. Kobe doesn't have it, Pierce did. Kobe took the easy road and guarded the Celtics worst shooter, Pierce and MJ get up for the challenge and don't take the easy road. And don't tell me that Scottie Pippen was the guy playing the best offensive player for the other team. Sure, sometimes he did, but when it came down to it, you could expect MJ right there.

One of my buddy's last night went as far as to say Kobe would be better than MJ if they were both playing now, because it's a different game. I cannot begin to tell you how wrong he is. Sometimes there are just players that transcend the sport, transcend the time they are in, and can dominate anyone. Wilt Chamberlain was one of those players. Magic Johnson was one of those players. And Michael Jordan was the best of those players. Never mind the fact that the rules in the NBA now favor offensive guards, so Jordan would be having a field day just about every game.

So congrats to the Celtics. They were the better team, they deserved it more, and they accomplished something collectively that the individual parts never thought would happen until they came together. And for Kobe, well, if you haven't learned what it takes to be great by now you never will. The talent is there, but to be at the top you need to be there mentally. And when you get there, as Kevin Garnett put it last night, anything is possible... ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

~Aaron Jackson

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