You criticized him all year long -- despite the record number of last-second game winners. LeBron James was better, younger, faster. The Lakers were underachieving, a mess. Destined for disappointment.
He was The King. It was his time.
James was the true MVP. And Kevin Durant was Generation Next. He was the guy you wanted. Kobe Bryant was done. A puppet (literally) from a Nike ad.
Kobe Bryant didn't even register on this year's MVP voting. Dwight Howard is Superman! That's the guy leading the Magic to amazing heights. He was more valuable to his team. Just like Lebron. Just like Durant. Just like Nash.
You know what? Give me Kobe Bryant over anyone and everyone else. When are the doubters/haters gonna learn? How many early exits -- I'm looking at you Cleveland for the second year in a row -- will it take? The guy in purple and gold plays through nasty injuries. He plays through adversity. He never stops.
Is he difficult? Perhaps. Selfish? Maybe. Is he the best teammate? Probably not.
But he's one thing that I want on my team: A winner. And that's all I need.
So while MVP LeBron goes on the market and shops for the biggest contract possible during the summer of 2010, his salivating bidders can remember this: No rings, no championships, no banners. All talk. All hype. All regular season.
And Kobe keeps playing deep into the playoffs.
Is LeBron an amazing talent? Absolutely.
But stop dismissing Kobe Bryant. Stop thinking that amazing highlights during the regular season are more valuable than postseason wins.
The true King is preparing for Phoenix.