LeBron probably chased Kobe down the court thinking about how the old man can’t get up anymore and was already counting how many rows up the stands the ball would end up after one of his patented tomahawk swats.
What actually transpired is a two handed flush by Kobe, a full hand of air by LeBron, and a lifetime parting gift in the form of a poster starring James as the posterizee.
So what did we learn this past Sunday about Kobe?
Kobe was in a position to really look old in comparison this past All-Star game when playing along the young, exuberant, and explosive athletes like Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose. Also, he was going to be playing an up and down exhibition game at a frenetic pace with a guy on his team that the night before jumped a four door sedan. This distressing thought coming in seemed to inspire Kobe.
Bryant stated after that the game that he was fired up by the infusion of all of the young and athletic talent that surrounded him in at the All-Star game. Kobe was quoted as saying, “Just being around so many young players gave me so much energy to see them bouncing around and all that sort of stuff.”
The Kobe we saw this past Sunday was an energized and motivated player that showed that while he might not be the high flying Kobe of yesteryear, he can still dig deep and bring something pretty close in explosiveness when needed.
There is no doubt that in order for the Lakers to have a chance at a third straight championship they will need to have the Kobe of this past Sunday and not the one that we have seen this season thus far. What we learned this Sunday is that Kobe can still get up and has a lot remaining in his tank. We now know that he is merely keeping it in reserve for the right moments, like the long and brutal grind of the post-season when the Lakers will make their historic run at a third straight championship.