This is Kobe Bryant’s last year in the NBA, and he’s leaving a somewhat mixed legacy of greatness and failure. To be sure, he will go down as one of the best #2 BEARs to have played the game, alongside Tim Duncan, Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen, Joe Dumars, Kevin Johnson, and many more. Remember, Jon Niednagel was big on Bryant before he ever came into the league, having attended his private workout, and Niednagel’s team was going to select him, but something went awry late in the process. Jerry West (#6 BEIR) and the Lakers had the same ambition and were able to sneak just in front of them, having a prized big man to deal as bait, Vlade Divac. Though it’s hard to fathom now, few saw the high upside in Kobe at the time. In fact, many experts thought otherwise, but Niednagel went on record that he would be very surprised if Bryant didn’t become a perennial All-Star (not only due to his youth, size, athleticism, but especially his #2 inborn design and having those other assets).
Many thought Niednagel was nuts for his lofty expectations, but once again Brain Typing proved true. And by the way, if everybody saw Kobe’s greatness back then, why did he slip to number-13 in the draft? Anyone who falls beyond 5, much less 10, is just another player, not a franchise or big deal.
Speaking of who might go number-11 in the NBA draft, guess who went there, and in front of Kobe no less, in 1996? Yes, yes, the great All-American, Todd Fuller (#15 FCIL), from NC State … the 6 11 personification of white men can’t jump. Todd was actually the other player to work out with Bryant in front of Niednagel’s team, and ‘The Fuller Brush Man received high marks for his hustle and effort (plus he was an Einstein in the classroom, which usually doesn’t bode well for the court). Conversely, Crusin Kobe was dissed by some for his lack of effort, especially on sprints and such (not atypical for #2s when they’ve nothing to prove and something Niednagel tried to explain to some critiquing observers at the time). Lastly, though they weren’t able to draft Kobe, they did settle for another white guy who couldn’t jump and from the non-hoops land of Canada, of all places. His name was Steve Nash (#5 FEIR).
All kinds of stories are now coming out from players who have known Bryant over the years, and many of them are really quite telling (and amusing). Take Evan Turner (#10 BCAR), who had heard “horror stories” from those who played with Bryant. It’s kind of crazy because he’s the Black Mamba, so obviously you know how talented he is. And you walk in, you hear horror stories before you play him. So it’s a little different. I had met him before, so when I walked on the court he said, Let’s go, young fella. And I’m like, Oh my God, this ain’t the year. You know? However, Turner was pleasantly surprised by Kobe’s behavior. He was super nice to me. I had teammates that said, When you go out there, don’t look at him in his eye. Don’t talk to him or anything; it’s going to give him an edge. Like he’s some type of pit bull or something. Then he came up to me and patted me on my back. He was like, How you doing? How’s your mom? I was like, She’s all right.’
Then there’s Baxter Holmes, a media correspondent who recently Tweeted, “If Kobe Bryant could go back in time and tell his 18-year-old self anything, he said it would be to ‘understand compassion and empathy.'”
So how does one explain this strange, #2-sided coin? Remember that, unlike the #3 FEAL and #11 FCAL, the BEAR‘s (and #10 BCAR‘s) concerns, empathies, and feelings are primarily directed towards SELF, and secondarily OTHERS. Personal harmony is most important to these two Right brain dominant Animates. This translates into individuals who can be extremely kind and caring when they are in a good mood, or have experienced an unselfish upbringing, etc. Unfortunately, people like Kobe and Tiger Woods (#10) didn’t have that kind of experience (not to mention #10 Kareem Abdul Jabbar), while others like Grant Hill (#10) and Dirk Nowitzki (#10) developed good social graces from outside sources (or personal inside ‘conviction’).
At any rate, it all serves as a great reminder for each of us to leave a legacy of kindness and compassion, whatever our vocations or realms of influence. No matter our Brain Type, we can all reach out utilizing our individual God-given gifts to make the world a better place.
Written by: Staff
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“plus he was an Einstein in the classroom, which usually doesn’t bode well for the court”
No wonder my WNBA aspirations never panned out! I kept blaming my height. 🙂
Anyway, nice, well-balanced, analytic article. One of the better you’ve done in awhile.