Tyson vs Spinks. Obama vs Osama. The Giant Meteorite vs The Dinosaurs. Sobriety vs Whitney. Life vs Joe Budden.
History is filled with numerous examples of complete landslides; hilariously unbalanced contests where one party was entirely overmatched against the other. Sunday afternoon bared witness to another such debacle as the Dallas Mavericks mollywhopped, mushed, and humiliated the Los Angeles Lakers, beating the defending champs by 30 points in a game that was equal parts conclusion of the Lakers’ reign and culmination of everything current Laker haters hate about these current Lakers.
Yet, while the Lakers were definitely outclassed on the court, their issues seemed to run deeper than basketball. Something had been “off” about them for the past month or so, something that clearly seemed to affect their will to compete. And while the common idea was that this malaise was the result of them becoming too self-satisfied and too Hollywood with too many off-court distractions (ie: The Lamar and Khloe show, Ron Artest doing Ron Artest things, etc), another possible reason for their competitive melancholy surfaced this week.
Perhaps more than anything, the notion that Pau Gasol can be this team’s next great leader was swept away. His sudden and odd postseason disappearance was the most obvious reason for the Lakers’ troubles, his fall completed Sunday when he scored 10 points while being pushed around by everyone but his coach, who thankfully refrained from hitting him for a second consecutive game.
“I have to learn from this,” Gasol said. ”I have to learn that when something happens off the court, you have to keep it off the court.”
He was referring to the report that he stopped talking to Bryant during the postseason because Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, had contributed to the breakup of Gasol and his longtime girlfriend. Lakers fans will remember that Karl Malone once publicly accused Vanessa of interfering with his personal life in a similar fashion.
Whatever was happening, Bryant and Gasol haven’t connected on the court in a month, and the Lakers have been lost without the strength of their fusion.
Although this article doesn’t explicitly state it, apparently the full story is that Vanessa Bryant (Kobe’s wife) “befriended” Silvia Lopez Castro (Pau’s fiancee) and allowed a couple stories/rumors about Pau’s infidelity to slip out. Enraged and embarrassed, she broke up with Pau. And, after learning exactly where Silvia got her info from, Pau — one of the top 15 players in the NBA — mentally and emotionally withdrew from the team in general and Kobe in particular.
When first hearing about this entire mess, two questions immediately came to mind.
1. Has there ever been a more snitching-ass household than the Bryants? My goodness. They make the Macbeths look like the f*cking Cosbys. Sh*t, now I know why they call Kobe’s ass The Black Mamba, cause befriending him or his wife is like buying one for a pet
And, most importantly…
2. Should Kobe be responsible for the actions of his wife?
Remember, Kobe’s wife ratted Pau out, not Kobe. But, this act made Pau also feel a certain way about Kobe, and I get exactly where he’s coming from.¹
You can argue that what a person’s significant other does is completely independent of that person. I mean, unless you’re the Christies, even the most close-knit couples spend time apart and (should) have completely independent thoughts and actions. Shit, if Lady Champ decides to start robbing banks, my ass aint the one that’s going to be at Muncy State Correctional Institution for Women. (Unless, of course, I’m there for conjugal visits and the cupcakes from the lesbian ward)
But, Cinemax-inspired women’s prisons fantasies aside, it’s hard for me to imagine that Kobe was completely unaware of the rumors his wife was spreading, especially since there’s a 99.999999% chance that Kobe himself was the source of the rumor. Even taking gossip out of the equation, (right or wrong) who you choose to be your significant other is a reflection of your values, mores, and priorities, and if I find out that your boo is murdering and raping everybody out there, you better believe that I’m probably going to cancel your invite to weekly wing night too. It aint that hard to find another spades partner.
For the record, I have absolutely no problem with couples sharing gossip with each other. I know we (Lady Champ and I) do, and when I tell one of my booed-up homeboys something, I just go ahead and make the assumption that I’m telling his entire household, pets included. But, when you share gossip you should also share the consequences if that gossip happens to leak, a lesson Kobe and the Lakers had to learn the hard way.
Anyway, people of VSB.com, do you think that a person should be at least somewhat responsible for the actions of their significant other? If you were in Pau’s shoes, would you have given Kobe the cold shoulder too? If a black Laker makes an eerie overbite face in the woods, would Artest make a sound?
The carpet is yours.
***9:00am edit: Well, now Pau Gasol is deny that anything happened between his fiancee and Vanessa Bryant, and that things are all hunky-dory between these four. Personally, I think he needs more people. But, just in case that the scenario in today’s post didn’t actually happen, for the sake of discussion let’s just pretend that it did***
¹You could also say that, regardless of what happened off the court, Pau should have manned up, blocked that shit out, and done his job. I understand this sentiment. Anyone who’s ever played on a sports team knows that shit aint always Kumbaya. Sometimes you’ll be legitimately pissed at your teammates, and sometimes you might just have a teammate you just don’t f*ck with at all. When it’s game time, though, you usually find a way to get past that and compete as a team.
What makes this situation different, though, is that — if the rumors are true — Pau has legitimate reason to think that someone in the Bryant household sabotaged his life, and I totally get how that could make someone lose the type of on court trust that all successful teams are supposed have.
If you haven’t purchased the paperback or the $9.99 Kindle version of “Your Degrees Wont Keep You Warm at Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime” yet, what the hell is stopping you? (No, seriously. Tell us and we’ll send Liz’s boobs to fix it)