Raja's Got Nada
If tonight's Lakers/Suns game parallels the war of words (registration required) between Raja and Kobe, then expect the Lakers to win by an old-skool Ditka-like score of 112 to negative 4. This was such a beat-down that even an anti-Kobe guy like myself is starting to come around. Granted, Kobe may have borrowed some techniques from MJ and Zenmaster, but nevertheless, he showed that he learned well from the masters. Breaking the battle down:
Sound byte #1- Bell
What he said: "I have no respect for him. I think he's a pompous, arrogant individual."
What I heard: "He thinks he's better than me."
Effectiveness: Zero. Kobe is better than you, Raja. A player will be arrogant when he believes he's one of the best players in the game.
Sound byte #2- Kobe
What he said: "Does he know me? Do I know this guy? I don't know this guy. I might have said one word to this guy. I don't know this kid."
What I heard: I am Kobe fucking Bryant. He is Raja Bell. Quick anyone here tell me what number he wears? You can't do it, can you? Why should I care what someone so insignificant thinks.
Effectiveness: Moderate. The comment wasn't all that original, but the message was clear. I think I'm better than you because I am better than you. Deal with it.
Sound byte #3- Raja
What he said: "I think a lot of people let him get away with things and he feels like he's supposed to get away with them and I don't agree with that,"
What I heard: "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa"
Effectiveness: Mild. You mean superstars get preferential treatment in the NBA? Are you kidding me? Why hasn't Outside the Lines covered this yet?? Stop whining and deal with the reality of the situation.
Advantage: David Stern
Sound byte #4- Kobe
What he said: "Maybe he wasn't hugged enough as a kid. I look at him a little bit, he gets a little insecure or something. I don't know."
What I heard: "You'll get no love from me. You'll get no love from the league. Hell, not even your momma loves you. No wonder you're so whiny.
Effectiveness: KO. Bell should be suspended for another game just for getting his ass whipped so bad.
Sound byte #5- Raja
What he said: "There's a reason both my cheeks are bruised right now and I can barely open my jaw. All right?"
What I heard: "I'm soft"
Effectiveness: Negative. C'mon now, if there's one thing Kobe's learned in the last few years, it's how to smack a bitch without leaving a mark (oh yeah, I went there).
Sound byte #6- Raja
What he said: "Every time you stick your butt out [in the post] and try to hit me in my genitals, you're doing it on purpose. That's something you don't do inadvertently and it was enough."
What I heard: "In Phoenix, they teach us to avoid contact at all costs. Also, I'm worried that I'm gay now."
Effectiveness: Negative. We've seen video of players fighting for position inside. We've also seen video of players assaulting the opposition's gonads. We know the difference.
Sound byte #7- Raja
What he said: "I thought that was kind of bush league from such a good coach," (referring to Phil Jackson telling Bell he deserved any elbows he caught b/c of the way he leans in on defense)
What I heard: "Phil Jackson sticks up for his players. That must be nice. Oh, I'm also a rat that's trying to throw everyone under the bus to excuse my actions."
Effectiveness. Negative. So Raja is soft, a squealer, and his mom doesn't love him. Rough night. (Also, great stuff from Phil confirming that, hell yeah, he said that.)
Sound byte #8- Kobe
What he said: "There's no need to whine about it. Just go out there and play."
What I heard: "Oh wait. You won't be playing, will you?
Effectiveness: Solid blow. Undertones may have been too subtle for Bell to catch however.
Wow, this wasn't a fight, this was a mauling. The worst part of the massacre was how many of the wounds were self inflicted by Bell himself. This would have been the verbal whipping of the week, were it not for Stephen Colbert's appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Fortunately for Suns fans, their team is lead by the league's MVP; so I'm sure he'll be able to give the team the jolt they need. But just in case I'm wrong, I wouldn't go crazy on game 7 tickets on Ebay.