Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Rise of Mamba

Two unrelated thoughts.

Kobe Bryant Amuses Me
Here is a bit from Ric Bucher's ESPN The Mag cover story about Kobe Bryant that I think is pretty funny. Apparently Kobe has a new nickname.

"Granted, there's still a dark side that Bryant embraces. He's known in his inner circle as Mamba, which, he is happy to explain, is a kind of snake that can grow to 13 feet and is one of the world's quickest, and one of the most venomous, serpents. He referred to this summer as the 'blackout,' in which the snake grew a new skin through a seven-days-a-week conditioning program."

Then Kobe explains the meaning of his nickname.
"The mamba can strike with 99 percent accuracy at maximum speed, in rapid succession. That's the kind of basketball precision I want to have. Not being able to train the last two summers, I was in a gunfight with a rusty butter knife. I did my share of killing, but I was just fighting to survive."

To paraphrase Bill Simmons on this: Ok, as cool
as it is that celebrities feel it necessary to give themselves a new nickname to change their identity, it's a little weird when an NBA star prosecuted for sexual assault finds it necessary to embrace the identity of a 13 foot venemous serpent. Seriously, Mike Tyson couldn't come up with a better one.

And, um, Kobe - I don't think the nickname is really catching on.

But Mamba Has Skills
Look at this shit:

1. On a per-game relations: 25 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 1 block.

2. Minimum number of assists in any game - 6. No games without steals. Only one game without a block.

3. Rankings amongst guards: Scoring (5), Rebounds (2), Assists (7), Steals (6), Blocks (2), Double-Doubles (5)

4. Rankings amongst all players:
Scoring (8), Rebounds (37), Assists (7), Steals (10), Blocks (39), Double-Doubles (8)

5. Plus, he has taken over 5 games in the final minutes which has amounted to 4 wins.

6. Finally, he has a PER of 29.5. And his defensive PER (the efficiency of the guy he guards) is on average an 11.7. Taking into account what that means from my previous posts, that is pretty damn impressive, right?

Wait wait. I lied. This isn't Kobe. We aren't talking about the same Mamba - though the name might fit this kid better. This killer is Dwyane Wade.

Admittedly, the Heat are underachieving (though this is not surprising the way Riley reconstructed the team). But is this the kid's fault? I doubt that. He has been rather stellar and clutch thus far.


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