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The 7 - Basketball - Why Philadelphia Hates Kobe
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Kawshen
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#1 Posted on 13.11.03 1145.49
Reposted on: 13.11.10 1147.27
This is broken-recordish to the Nth degree - but I found this article while voyaging through Google and it was written last year after the All-Star Game (obviously you know what happened there). So here it is.

http://www.citypaper.net/articles/021402/ sl.slant.shtml


Sitting at a friendís house, drinking a beer and waiting for the NBA All-Star Game to begin, I uttered the following: "I hope A.I. wins the MVP again. And I hope we boo the shit out of Kobe Bryant." And oh, did my wish come true.

I felt not the slightest twinge of guilt as the F.U. Center catcalls rained down upon the Golden Child. I felt pride ó real, honest-to-goodness civic pride.

That pride quickly turned to simmering rage as I watched our local broadcasters sanctimoniously clucking about how petty, clueless and ungrateful we were. I expect that from the national media, which, of course, dutifully trotted out its tired "these people booed Santa Claus" mantra.

But the local wags, theyíre supposed to cater to us, not scold us. Do us a favor, Larry Mendte: Save your vitriol for someone who deserves it, like the owner of Fat Tuesday.

We were told that we booed Kobe because we are jealous of his success, that we hate him because he is a Los Angeles Laker, a member of the team that defeated our beloved Sixers for the title last summer. The media is incredulous that we would treat "one of our own" so shabbily.

Well, itís time to set the record straight for the media and the country at large. They just donít get the root of this thing. Kobe Bryant is not one of our own. Kobe Bryant is the epitome of what Philadelphia, not Philadelphians per se, but rather our celebrated collective consciousness, despises.

First of all, Kobe is not a "hometown guy." Heís a spoiled rich kid from the suburbs. He didnít go to Bartram, or Roman, or even Northeast High. The guy went to Lower Merion High School, which, the last time I looked at a map, is not located in the City of Philadelphia, but rather the exclusive Main Line.

His skin color doesnít matter; his name might as well be Winthrop Strawbridge the Third. And he comes off that way ó polished, almost ruthlessly refined, betraying an air of snobbish, arrogant sophistication. This is not the kind of guy youíd want to bring with you to get a cheesesteak or some soul food. Heís that punk-ass rich kid that takes his dadís Lexus to the King of Prussia mall, buys $200 sneakers at Foot Locker and then flies off to Aspen for the weekend. Philadelphia hates that kid.

Then thereís the fact that Kobe is totally Hollywood. The guy seems to have never met a camera he didnít like, a product he didnít want to endorse. And he seems to have spent his entire life preening in front of a mirror trying to become Michael Jordan, his facial expressions, gait and even his diction uncannily Jordanesque. So heís an ingratiating whore, and heís a poser. Two more strikes.

He spent most of the past two years whining about Shaquille OíNeal getting the ball too much at his expense, when the fact of the matter is that Shaq is unstoppable and is the reason that Bryant has two championship rings and counting. There are two more strikes against him: Heís a selfish, ball-hogging whiner, and he doesnít respect his elders. Philly bristles yet again.

Letís get one thing straight: No Philadelphian in his right mind will deny that Kobe is the best, most complete basketball player on the planet. He can literally do whatever he wants on the court, his talent so awesome that he approaches Jordan in his prime. But his personality, his attitude, his approach to sport reeks to us, and not in that good way, like when the sewers back up in South Philly during the summer.

The mediaís, and the NBAís, infatuation with Kobe Bryant as a personality once again proves how out of touch they are with the real world, not just that of sports fans, but everyday people in general. The ridiculous All-Star events throughout the week ó the exclusive, star-studded parties that the local media salivated over as if they were of some great import to you, me and Keith from Fishtown; the fact that normal fans and even most Sixers season ticket holders could not get tickets to the game; the bloated pre-game musical garbage ó all of it overshadowed the game itself to such a degree that it almost seemed an afterthought. I wondered why I was even watching, and Iíve been a big basketball fan since Dr. J took on Bill Walton in the finals.

Philadelphia made me proud because by booing Kobe, it symbolically and perhaps unwittingly reacted to all of this ugliness. Philly doesnít always like what it is told to like. Booing seems to be the only workable form of mass rebellion left in our crumbling consumerist society. Or at least it was on Sunday.

Philly knows whatís real and whatís bullshit. Kobe is a great baller, but heís not one of us, geographically or culturally. Heís not scrappy, or undersized, or an overachiever. He didnít have to pull himself up by his bootstraps, live in poverty, or overcome adversity and tough times in life. Heís not Rocky, heís not Concrete Charlie Bednarik, heís not Pete Rose, heís not Charles Barkley, heís not Bobby Clarke, heís not A.I.

We have no tolerance for wannabes. And thatís what Kobe is, and always will be: a wannabe Philadelphian. And thatís kind of sad for all involved.



Side Note: A friend of mine from Philly said that when the Lakers come to town, he bought a special custom Lakers jersey for it. It has Kobe's #8 in front and on the back: "Rapist".

Damn.

(edited by Kawshen on 13.11.03 1249)
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Big Bad
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#2 Posted on 14.11.03 0515.59
Reposted on: 14.11.10 0519.05

    Heís not Rocky, heís not Concrete Charlie Bednarik, heís not Pete Rose, heís not Charles Barkley, heís not Bobby Clarke, heís not A.I.


Fictional character, legend, gambler, loudmouth, biggest weasel in hockey history, punk.

Other than Bednarik, not exactly a stellar list. Then again, any of those guys are probably safer around health spa personnel than ol' Kobe is.
evilwaldo
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#3 Posted on 14.11.03 1116.54
Reposted on: 14.11.10 1117.44
    Originally posted by Big Bad

      Heís not Rocky, heís not Concrete Charlie Bednarik, heís not Pete Rose, heís not Charles Barkley, heís not Bobby Clarke, heís not A.I.


    Fictional character, legend, gambler, loudmouth, biggest weasel in hockey history, punk.

    Other than Bednarik, not exactly a stellar list. Then again, any of those guys are probably safer around health spa personnel than ol' Kobe is.



The references may be true but each one of them played with a lot of heart. They may not have been the perfect athletes but they always gave 100% of themselves. Well, I am not sure if you include Rocky but he is Philadelphia.
MoeGates
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#4 Posted on 15.11.03 1730.52
Reposted on: 15.11.10 1732.00
God Bless Philly. It's what Brooklyn used to be.
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