Just Showing Up Is Its Own Reward for Kobe Bryant in His Farewell Season

February 5th, 2016 by Kevin Ding Leave a reply »

NEW ORLEANS — The ill-fitting Boston affiliation notwithstanding, Kobe Bryant has always seen himself as something of a New England Patriot.

Bryant identifies with Tom Brady's glamour and greatness, he admires Bill Belichick's calculating nature, and he even once took to giving himself the code name "Moss" in the Lakers offense—as in Randy Moss, once Brady's deep target—as the big-play decoy opening offense up for teammates.

But Bryant's respect for Peyton Manning—and specifically Manning's maniacal preparation—has always stood as something different.

Their kinship runs even deeper now. Any simpleton can see how both players' bodies have broken down from their unwavering commitment to productivity over so many years—and you've heard fans and analysts alike mutter rudimentary takes about how pathetic it is to see them so less than great.

The nuance that needs to be understood is that even if Manning loses the Super Bowl on Sunday in what could be his final game, even if Bryant's past three games (29.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.0 turnovers per game) ...

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