Wednesday , Apr , 04 , 2007 Oly Sandor

It’s Pretty Simple: Kobe Bryant is An MVP Candidate

It's Pretty Simple: Kobe Bryant is An MVP  Candidate

Kobe Bryant has never been simple or straightforward. His career has been filled with controversy, making him difficult to evaluate as a player and person.

Part of this is Bryant’s doing. His actions and attitude have often left something to be desired.

Part of this is our doing. Many of us, starting with his days at Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia, wanted to see him fail.

How could we not hate on him? After all, who was this teenager taking Brandy to the prom on network television? And who was this teenager declaring himself eligible for the draft in black sunglasses? And what right did he have to force a trade to the Lakers?

Bryant made a bad first impression. Things went from bad to worse with the Shaq feud. His image then hit rock bottom when he was charged with sexual assault.

Enough time has gone by. He should receive a full pardon from the court of public opinion. But some will never forget his past, forever complicating Bryant’s legacy.

This year, for once, Bryant’s play has been simple to evaluate. He’s been outstanding. Here’s why he should be included in any MVP discussion:

1) Bryant’s the only MVP candidate capable of dominating on defense. He’s an excellent individual and team defender. Nash is a poor defender, while Nowitzki holds his own.

2) Bryant’s role changed during the season. For the first thirty games, he was Kobe the Facilitator, dropping dimes and hitting the open man.

His role changed when Luke Walton and Lamar Odom went on injured reserve. Kobe the Facilitator had to become Kobe the Scoring Assassin. And the 2-guard certainly scored, running off several 50 point games and forcing the league’s shutdown defenders to seek new forms of employment.

Most importantly, Kobe the Scoring Assassin saved Los Angeles’ season. Bryant’s been a chameleon, changing his role to help the Lakers win.

3) Bryant’s finally acting like an MVP. He gets his teammates involved. He encourages instead of alienating. He’s a leader.

 Nash or Nowitzki will win MVP. But Kobe Bean deserves consideration. His past shouldn’t matter. But like everything with Bryant, it’s never simple or straight forward.