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Old 05-21-2001, 07:14 PM   #1
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Every superstar needs a sidekick, David Robinson of the Spurs accepted the supporting cast gig to Tim Duncan, Scottie Pippen accepted the role in Chicago under Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson had his lackeys in LA as did Larry Bird in Boston. It has always been with two dominant players that one accepts being Robin and the other Batman. Pippen had no problem being the secondary star during the Michael Jordan years, unlike Kobe accepting his role behind the behemoth Shaq. Quite possibly Kobe, being a student of the game and mentioning how he admired Pippen during his Bulls days, decided not to accept the same fate and misfortune that history bestows upon the lesser star.

Pippen has the championship rings, but at a cost. Instead of being a basketball immortal, Pippen accepted a diminished role in displaying his skills and dominating games, so that Jordan would rule and lead. Pippen has proven to be a great player, even being a member of the 50 all-time greatest players, but the moniker of 50 greatest will be short lived unless they expand the number. Pippen certainly proved to be a integral part of the Bulls championship years, but he could have displayed more skills if he had not been willing to sublimate his game for Jordan. Pippen allowed himself to be a stepping stone, instead of challenging for leadership and displaying his skills.

Kobe has no desire to be Robin and allow Shaq to be Batman. After last season when most assumed that Kobe had accepted the role of second star and Shaq being the top player, Kobe further developed his basketball skills and returned this season to challenge Shaq for the role of Batman. Shaq began the season out of shape and believing his role as dominant star secure, until Kobe demonstrated his skills and that he had developed the swagger of a dominant star, this forced Shaq focus upon basketball and finally transform his mind and body into basketball condition for the second half of the season.

No center or player in the league challenges Shaq, and he entered the season in less than basketball shape and believing the press about him being a great and dominant player. Never did Shaq or the pundits realize that the person who would finally challenge Shaq would be a player on his own team. Kobe ambushed Shaq as a younger brother who grows up to surpass an older sibling. Shaq certainly accepted the challenge of not wanting to be a Robin as Kobe responded the prior season. And the debate will continue as to whom represents Batman and who will be Robin if the Lakers manage to keep both players and win championships.

The Orlando Magic will have a similar problem next year when Grant Hill returns and T-Mac decides not to be the second star. Whether Hill will be the diplomat as Robinson had done in San Antonio and accept being the other star, and permitting Duncan the focus will be Orlando's focus and tension. Moving from being the top star to second does not happen easily or often, and some players accept the demotion without a fuss, other players push even harder to be top dog, and other players fight being demoted until the end. Odds being Hill will accept being the Robin, since he has a similar personality and team focus as David Robinson.

Pippen acceptance of the secondary role quite possibly led to the Blazers lost in the seventh game in the Western Conference Finals in 2000 since Pippen had not been accustomed to being the top star and being expected to correct a basketball game if things have headed in the wrong direction. Kobe does not want to be a Pippen and defer to Shaq when things need fixing offensively or defensively, but instead lead the team and change the game himself. Kobe will not hide his skills or feign modesty on the court, but instead will strut and dominate, even at the expense of feeding the Big Dog in the middle.

The current Blazers GM has never realized the importance of having the dominant star, and not the secondary star, hence the trade for another player that reached the finals in Dale Davis for Jermaine O'Neal, and trading Brian Grant for Shawn Kemp, not understanding the lack of importance that role players have while the money needs to be actually spent on the dominant player that actually led the team. The Blazers believe that players that have been through the experience must be able to create the experience, instead of recognizing the players happened to be carried by others, and they had little impact on creating the championship experience and will not be the one able to recreate the atmosphere, but instead were carried along by a greater force.

Kobe has no intention of being easily forgotten as Pippen will surely be in time, but instead plans on making his own imprimatur upon basketball as the greatest have done before him. Shaq and Kobe will present basketball fans a conundrum in defining the star that led the Lakers to their titles, if they continue to co-exist, since neither player will be a statesmen and accept being the secondary star. Pippen and the Blazers could learn plenty from the actions of Kobe, and how he responded to being forced into being the supporting star. Kobe has thrown off the yolk of being the second star and instead continues to be a mutinous teammate who, like Shaq, understands and will not allow himself to be easily forgotten and purchased for a few championships.

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Old 05-21-2001, 07:33 PM   #2
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Well, I didn't read this whole thing. But, from the title of it:

Kobe shouldn't have to be Scottie Pippen, because he is different from Pippen, just how Pippen was different from Jordan.

Kobe is a leader type and a star type, not a sidekick type, he has too much game not to be the centerpiece.
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Old 05-21-2001, 11:17 PM   #3
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I disagree. Kobe Bryant is in his early twenties and he is already perhaps the best player in the league. Scottie Pippen can't - and never could - compare at this stage in his career or in his prime.
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Old 05-22-2001, 01:59 AM   #4
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Agree. Right now, there is no way to compare Kobe to Pippen. Kobe has already elevated his game to heights that Pippen can only imagine. Kobe is clutch and Pippen is not. And, yes, he did have his chances. Remember the years Mike was out, Pippen was very disappointing. If the Top50 players of all time were listed again, given his performances in the post "Jordan Era", I truly believe that Pippen would not be on that list. I think that Shaq and Kobe will take turns being the "man" for many years to come and set a new standard for future championship teams. But, again, maybe I'm just a Laker fan !
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Old 05-22-2001, 11:54 AM   #5
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At one time I thought Kobe would be like Pippen and acccept the number 2 role, but he showed his disdain and competitve spirit by ignoring Phil and pushing Shaq, something Pippen would have never done. Kobe has had no problem carrying and involving the team. Kobe has laready surpassed Pippen.
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Old 05-22-2001, 12:33 PM   #6
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Default Not about skills

First I am not attempting to compare skills since most people look at the current Pip and Kobe has not yet reached his prime, but instead their attitude.

Pippen showed how much skill he had when Jordan left to play baseball and Pippen had his best seasons. Then returned to number two and less dominate when Jordan returned. Something Kobe would have never done.

Jordan and Pippen were the two best players in the league, as are Shaq and Kobe, but Kobe will be sublimate his game to Shaq.

Without Shaq, the Lakers do not win the title last year and probably not this year, same for the Lakers without Kobe. You can not knock Pippen for not winning without a dominant star since the Bulls failed to replace Jordan with a star.

If Kobe had been on the Blazers last season, he would have had what it took to carry the Blazers with the lead in the WCF because he understands and accepts being the player to carry a team when things go wrong.

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Old 05-22-2001, 02:11 PM   #7
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Well, you can blame the Bulls for not replacing Jordan, but truth be told, he had his shot to do it and he didn't.
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Old 05-22-2001, 02:33 PM   #8
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If you believe that the Lakers would have won the championship last year without Kobe or Shaq, or proablablythis year is one was missing, your deluding yourself. Losing a mega-star and expecting the remaining star to pick up the entire slack is unreasonable. Pippen nearly did bring the Bulls to another championship sans Jordan, something Jordan also would have been hard pressed to accomplish, sans Pippen.
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Old 05-22-2001, 07:16 PM   #9
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I disagree. I believe Jordan with the supporting cast minus Pip would have elevated their games and won. He would have found another guy to play the Pippen role. He elevated Pippen's game.
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Old 05-23-2001, 10:28 AM   #10
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Default Pippen had his best season's w/o Jordan

Pippen's best years were when Jordan was playing baseball. At the time Jordan and Pippen were considered the best two players in the NBA. Pippen did not ride Jordan coattails, but instead did not challenge Jordan for supremacy. Not that he would have succeeded, but he had the skills.
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Old 05-24-2001, 12:32 AM   #11
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Kobe is already past Pippen and he is what, 24?
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Old 05-24-2001, 09:26 AM   #12
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You're right.... Kobe will never be Pippen because maybe Pippen was destined to be a player that plays behind a star, but Kobe one day, or perhaps even now, IS that star player that will have a "sidekick"
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Old 05-24-2001, 11:06 AM   #13
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J, no way to compare the young Pippen and Kobe, since Kobe has not yet reached his peak. And I want nothing to do with comparing their skills, outside both have decided on different roads.

Pippen proved he could be the number one guy when MJ plyed baseball and with no replacement for MJ, Pippen carried the team and almost to the championship sans another star. I doubt Mj could have led the Bulls also if they had not replaced Pippen in a similar circumstance.
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Old 05-24-2001, 11:35 PM   #14
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It seems silly to even compare Pippen to Kobe. Pippen has no will to win and can't be the go-to guy that Kobe wants to be. The reason Pippen so willingly fell back into the #2 role is because he didn't ever want to be #1. He pretended to want it, but his play never warranted that station. Remember when he refused to enter the game after Phil ran a play for Kukoc instead of him? Pippen's opinion of himself is much higher than his actual ability level. Kobe has the ability to back up his attitude.

True enough, though. Kobe would not carry the Lakers to the title without Shaq.

Pippen is made to be a #2. He has to have someone riding his a$$ all the time or he gets lazy and starts jacking up threes. He has talent, but he is not a smart player. Look at last year's WCF when the Blazers were up by 17 in the 4th and lost. Did Scottie take control? No, he shot threes for 12 minutes and handed the game to LA.

Kobe is twice the player now that Pip ever was in his prime. If it weren't for MJ, Pip woud never be considered a Top 50 player. It's a joke that he even got that honor. Kobe, though, will do great things in this league - with or without Shaq.

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Old 05-25-2001, 02:04 PM   #15
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Pippen had hurt his fingers and hence, the ball needed to go to Wallace and Smith. Pippen hit the shot in the previous series against Utah, prior to his injury, hence the problem shooting.

Consider Pippens best season were during MJ's first reitrement. I do agree Pippen relishes the number two spot, whereas Kobe thrives and pushes for number one. Possibly if Pippen had strived for number one spot, things would have been different during the WCF last season, since Pippen would have had that mindset and aura.
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