Posts Tagged 'NBA'

The Eye of the Bulldog

nvo9wlAt the end of these NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant will finally have something he has needed to secure his place in basketball folklore. No, I’m not talking about a title sans the Big Aristotle – though he will certainly have that when the Lakers clinch in five. What Kobe Bryant has been missing is a signature. A defining image. An iconic picture worthy of a stamp on an envelope.

I’m talking, of course, about newborn Kobe Face. Up until now, when the average fan brings up the image of Kobe in his or her mind, one of the following visions appear:

Now, his legacy will also include this bulldog impersonation.

As much as stings to admit this, Kobe deserves a ring without Shaq. Much like Shooter McGavin, this is Kobe’s turn to win the gold jacket. And, like all the other greats, it was time for the Black Mamba to burn an image into our memory. 

It’s hard not to be suspicious, though, of the origins of the aforementioned expression. I know Kobe is extremely marketable (as evidenced every other commercial during these NBA playoffs), but doesn’t a signature look give him even more marketing moxie? On his latest podcast, Bill Simmons jokingly asked Matthew Berry if Kobe had been practicing “the badger” face in the mirror – but it doesn’t really seem too far-fetched.

Riddle me this… Kobe is a perennial All-Star in his 12th season, and we are only now seeing the Eye of the Bulldog? If this face truly is just spontaneous manifestation of pure grit, shouldn’t we have seen this underbite years ago? Furthermore, if this look is actually genuine, does this mean he wasn’t trying as hard in the previous 12 seasons? Can humans change their face behavior overnight? 

Questions abound, but the truth is the Kobe Face is a new invention – or rather, it’s a reinvention. Instead of being perceived as a whiny adulterer who never lived up to the “Jordan-esque” potential, Kobe Bryant will carve out his identity as a bona-fide winner. And the Kobe Face will forever serve to remind us as such. 

In the months following the 2009 Finals and the weeks leading up to the 2010 Playoffs, look for Kobe and his new expression to be as omnipresent as ever. Forget sharing the spotlight with LeBron, Kobe will in a surplus of Gatorade, Nike and – of course – Puppychow commercials for years to come.

Street & Smith’s Sports Business Awards

SBA09_webbanner5

NBC Sports, ESPN and IMG all took home multiple awards at the 2nd annual Sports Business Awards in New York City. (Complete awards list below.)

After its magnificent coverage of Beijing 2008, NBC Sports deservingly won Best in Sports Television, while NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol earned Sports Executive of the Year.

The Boston Celtics were awarded Professional Sports Team of the Year, topping fellow nominees the Chicago Blackhawks, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays. Much to the chagrin of good friend James Allan, the Pittsburgh (“Six-burgh”) Steelers weren’t nominated.

The rest of the award winners made sense to me, with the exception of Professional Sports League of the Year, which was presented to the NBA. This award should be given to the NFL every single year. After this spring’s repugnant, woeful and afflictive officiating in the NBA Playoffs, look for the Association to miss out on a nomination in 2010.

2009 Sports Business Award winners: 

Lifetime Achievement – Peter Ueberroth
Sports Executive of the Year – NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol
Athletic Director of the Year – Joe Castiglione, Univ. of Oklahoma
Professional Sports Team of the Year – Boston Celtics
Professional Sports League of the Year – NBA
Sports Event of the Year – Amp Energy NHL Winter Classic
Best in Sports Media – ESPN
Best in Sports Television – NBC Sports
Best in Digital Sports Media – ESPN Digital Media
Best in Talent Representation and Management – CAA Sports
Best in Corporate Consulting, Marketing and Client Services – IMG
Best in Property Consulting, Sales and Client Services – IMG
Sports Event Marketing Firm of the Year – GMR Marketing
Sports Sponsor of the Year – Coca-Cola
Sports Facility of the Year – Lucas Oil Stadium
Best in Sports Technology – MLB Advanced Media for MLB At Bat

Down 3-2

A terrible and heart-sickening loss last night in LA puts the Nuggets down 3-2 heading into a potential elimination game on Friday. Former Rocky Mountain News cartoonist Drew Litton accurately captured the loss in his illustration “Nuggets Don’t Love LA.” 

Haven't I seen that guy before?

Haven't I seen that guy before?

[Via DrewLitton.com]