Toughness, Revenge, and the Pursuit of Immortality
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant celebrates after making a basket against the Phoenix Suns in the second half during Game 6 of the NBA Western Conference finals in Phoenix

Bryant is simply playing on a different level right now, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this most recent tear is fueled by revenge.

Kobe sat by quietly all season as media types across the nation anointed 2010 “The Season of LeBron”. He didn’t say a word when he didn’t receive a single first place vote for NBA MVP. He let his play do his talking when the folks at TNT dismissed him as old and past his prime.

Then the playoffs really got started and Kobe has left a trail of blood only the Black Mamba could admire (Uma, that is). With OKC, Utah and Phoenix all in the rear view mirror, Kobe has the Boston Celtics right in his cross hairs. And don’t think he hasn’t been waiting two long years for another shot at the boys in green.

Bryant understands that his legacy is on the line. The Celtics embarrassed him in 2008. They are one of the few teams that can honestly say they “stopped” him in a playoff series. Kobe knows this, and he wants to change that perception.

Much like last year, when he had to win one without the Big Fella, Kobe knows what hangs in the balance of this series. He’s not the only one.

Next: Let the war begin…

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