Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Perfect Paragon

Recently I was posed the question,"How important is winning an NBA title without Shaq to Kobe's career?"

I thought to myself, extremely important.

Kobe Bryant is one of the most dissected athletes in the NBA. So that means his game and personal life must be flawless. He has to be the regular season MVP, hold the NBA title, pass the ball, be the Finals MVP, and win the Gold at the Olympics to be considered great. That's quite a load to haul. But not one too heavy for Kobe Bean.

So what does it take to be the GREATEST in the NBA?

I thought you'd never ask ;)

Here is my formula for what I like to call: The Perfect Paragon. It's made up of 3 important parts:

  1. Skill

  2. Athleticism

  3. Passion

Several players in the NBA will never be GREAT because they have not achieved a balance of all three parts. I'm sure you can think of a laundry list of players...

But let's take a look at the New Jersey Nets' Vince Carter.

Now while I'm a huge Tarheels fan, I have to admit that Carter has not matured into a GREAT player. However, he's definitely in my Top 5 for all-time best slam dunks! I will never forget his dunk in the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest...but my admiration for Carter stops there. He has definitely achieved great skill and athleticism........but he lacks the passion.

In a recent interview, NBA Analyst Stephen A. Smith asked Kobe Bryant what his secret was to leading the Lakers to the NBA finals. While Kobe shyed away from the question by saying he wouldn't reveal the secret; I knew what it was: Passion. Passion is not just a simple emotion. It's a reaction to an external force. Bryant has always exuded passion in his love for the game, but it wasn't until now that Bryant was able to affect the actions of others with his passion. For years people have compared the likes of Bryant and the legendary Michael Jordan. It's a winless battle. At this point, I feel Bryant has already distinguished himself as his own man...not a boy in the shadow of a giant.

Bryant has led his young team to the NBA finals through not only his passion for the game, but his passion to win as a team, and his passion in making the players around him better. It is for this reason, Kobe Bean is a giant. His skill is unparalleled. His athleticism is unmatched. But the passion he's instilled in his team cannot be shaken.

Kobe Bryant = The Perfect Paragon

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