3 – Game 7 against Phoenix. This is the first of the red flag games that people break out in Kobe hating talk. Just what happened in game 7 of the 2006 playoffs against Phoenix? Kobe stopped shooting in the second half as the Lakers got blown out 121-90. The nation reacts, the FBI investigates, Charles Barkley calls out Kobe, Kobe comes on TNT to respond and then speaks in front of a congressional hearing… okay two of those did not happened. But remember the outrage? Remember the overall shock and horror? Suddenly the playoffs became the background to a “did Kobe tank?” storyline.
Hey didn’t LeBron have a similar meltdown last season and the season before? Ask Cavs fans… okay maybe they’re not the ones to ask… ask Celtics fans, who just about wrote their team off after a blowout loss in Game 3 only to rally and destroy the will of the #1 seeded Cavs. Many experts claimed LeBron was not LeBron, hinting that he might have tanked or something else (???). But there was no national outrage, no Charles Barkley claiming LeBron quit, no appearances on TNT. Poof, like that it was gone.
Let’s go back to 2006. Kobe and the Lakers came out flat after a truly gut-wrenching loss in Game 6. Remember, it was a last second Tim Thomas prayer that sent that game into overtime and an eventual Suns win. Kobe left it all out there in Game 6, throwing down a jaw-dropping 50 points in 52 minutes. It just wasn’t enough and the Lakers couldn’t overcome the shock of Thomas’s three. (BTW – we were THIS CLOSE to the same thing happening this year after Jason Richardson banked the three in Game 5. Ron-Ron saved us from deja vu all over again. Special thanks to Ron-Ron’s therapist!) Anyway, the Lakers came out flat after a horrific loss and Kobe had nothing left in the emotional tank. Plain and simple.
Warning, do not watch the video on an empty stomach. NSFLF (Not Safe For Lakers Fans)