Kindred spirits 'Melo, Kobe in best subplot of the West - The Explorer: Sports

Kindred spirits 'Melo, Kobe in best subplot of the West

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 11:00 pm | Updated: 1:24 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

Associated Press

Kobe Bryant loves defending his kindred spirit, Carmelo Anthony, on and off the basketball court.

The Los Angeles Lakers' superstar who became fast friends with the Denver Nuggets' powerful playmaker during the Beijing Olympics bristled at the trendy notion that 'Melo has morphed into a star in this year's playoffs.

Sure, he's averaging 28 points and has made countless clutch plays after five straight years of frustrating first-round exits, but Bryant swears 'Melo, the butt of so many jokes in China, has had this type of talent in him all along.

"He was ready. He was never the problem. He was never the issue,” Bryant said.

The two have built a blossoming friendship even as they doggedly guard each other in the best subplot of the Western Conference finals.

Bryant said it was just a matter of putting the right players around Anthony.

"He worked hard. He was committed to playing defense. We all knew he could score the ball. I never saw him as being a problem at all,” Bryant said. “And now everybody's talking about this miraculous transformation. There's no damn transformation. He's been doing it since Syracuse.”

Just not this deep into the NBA postseason.

Denver Nuggets coach George Karl insists 'Melo has indeed refined his game this season, placing his focus on defense and rebounding as much as putting the ball through the hoop. That has sent him hurdling into the special stratosphere where few players reside.

For that, Anthony can certainly thank the arrival of Chauncey Billups, who has proved a much better co-pilot than Allen Iverson.

Karl has been saying for a long time, though, that 'Melo would finally get his due when the burden of first-round failures was lifted, because while All-Star trips and gold medals are great, winning in the NBA playoffs is the truest ticket to stardom.

"There have been a lot of players not get out of the first round multiple years, and it's a burden. It's a burden on your confidence and a burden on your psyche,” Karl said, remembering how Gary Payton went through the same ringer in Seattle.

"(Anthony's) consistency in this playoff series has been extremely big time. Even great players don't have consistent 30-point games,” Karl said.

Anthony averaged 35 points in the five games leading up to Game 3, when his shot suddenly stopped falling and he finished with 21 points.

"If last night's game was the bad game, I think we're in pretty good shape,” Karl said Sunday. “Most bad games you don't get 20 points.”

Anthony promised to bounce back and make this a long, grueling series, and Bryant is his biggest believer.

Kobe sees a lot of himself in 'Melo.

"He and I are probably the only ones in the league now who have that mid-range game down pat in terms of shooting pull-up jump-shots, 1-2 dribble pull-ups going both ways,” Bryant suggested. “Then, he can post up the ball and he has a long ball, too.”

It's made for a great matchup when they go against each other.

Through all the pushing and poking, bumping and banging, flapping and flopping, the two never seem to stop smiling.

Anthony and Bryant hit it off last year while leading Team USA to the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.

"Yeah, that's my man,” Bryant said. "We just get along extremely well. He's just a good kid, works extremely hard, funny as hell. Our personalities match. It's a shame that we're playing each other in this series, somebody's got to lose. I'd rather it be him than me, but he's just a great person.”

Bryant swears he saw 'Melo rounding out his considerable game long before this supposedly breakout postseason rolled around and everybody else seemed to take notice of the still baby-faced star who led the Orangemen to a national title as a freshman in 2003 before jumping to the NBA.

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Oro Valley Audiology

Oro Valley AudiologyAddress: 2542 E Vistoso Commerce Loop Rd, Oro Valley, AZ 85755Phone:(520) ...

HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 30

Boys Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View at Haven Golf Course

Ironwood Ridge, Buena, Catalina at Rincon (Dell Urich)

Girls Volleyball (4, 5, 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at CDO

Maricopa at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Vista Grande

Poston Butte at Catalina Foothills

San Miguel at Pusch Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Wednesday, October 1

Girls Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View vs. Ironwood Ridge (Omnu Tucson National)

CDO, Sunnyside at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Sabino at Catalina Foothills

Cross Country (4:30 p.m.)

Ironwood Ridge, Sahuarita at Flowing Wells (Columbus Park)

Marana, St. Gregory at Catalina Foothills

Girls Volleyball (4, 5, 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

CDO at Ironwood Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills at CDO

JV Football (6.p.m.)

Marana at Maricopa

Salpointe at Mountain View

CDO at Catalina Foothills

Thursday, October 2

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Mountain View, St. Gregory’s, Pusch Ridge at Marana

Girls Volleyball (4, 5, 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Poston Butte

Catalina Foothills at Flowing Wells

Pusch Ridge at Willcox

Varsity Football (7p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills @ CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Rincon

Friday, October 3

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Girls Vollyeball (all day)

CDO, Catalina Foothills at Falcon Invitational

Cross Country

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Desert Twilight Festival

Varsity Footbal (7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at San Tan Valley

Saturday, October 4

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Swimming (all day)

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Brophy/Xavier Swim Invitational

Girls Volleyball (4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Desert Christian

MOS: Halloween

We asked the community about Halloween!

MOS: Ebola Virus

We asked the community about the Ebola Virus.

More Featured Videos

Oro Valley Audiology

Oro Valley AudiologyAddress: 2542 E Vistoso Commerce Loop Rd, Oro Valley, AZ 85755Phone:(520) ...

Spacer4px

Follow us on Facebook