I am not a big basketball fan. I do not know the rules. I do not understand what a "loose ball foul" is, for instance, and I do not think I ever will. (You don't need to try to explain it to me; I cannot retain the information, so it is like explaining something to a wall.)
I appreciated the Celtics missing all those layups throughout the finals. I also am good at missing layups, so I identify with them when they do that. It's like how I appreciate Phil Mickelson missing two- and three-foot putts: I can miss two- or three-foot putts, too, so, in those instances, I feel great solidarity with Phil. Oh sure, he is a bit better with his driver than I am (his drives tend to go fairly straight and very long, whereas my drives seem to be quite severely distance-limited, and home in like a smart bomb on areas where there are trees growing) and he is better with his irons than I am (you know what they say: if you are ever caught in a lightning storm out on the course, just hold up your one-iron, because even God cannot hit a one-iron), and he has a somewhat better short game. But when he misses a 24-inch putt, we are brothers, just two lefties who are bad at putting. I love watching Shaquille O'Neal shoot free-throws for the same reason. He can apparently make about two out of ten; I, also, can make two free-throws out of ten. That means we are basically the same, Shaq and I.
However, having stared, blinking, at the television screen for a number of hours recently, uncomprehending of many rules and missing subtleties left and right, it has penetrated to my comprehension that this fellow Kobe Bryant is quite considerably better at the game than all the other fellows are. He does not seem to be trying very hard, and he does not seem terribly excited to be doing what he does, but he does things about every 11.5 seconds which, on the face of it, it seems very implausible that human beings would be able to do.
He and I are not the same, Kobe Bryant. I'm just sayin'.
(Inset: photographer unknown)
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.