Playing Through Injuries
A lot has been said that Lebron James' elbow effected his play in his most recent stint in the NBA playoffs. You could see that the elbow was bother Lebron, even though he wouldn't admit it. You could tell there was a difference in his play. He just wasn't the same physical Lebron everyone is used to seeing. I mean after all, he apparently is the best player in the game now by far right? Stan Van Gundy, coach of the Orlando Magic, doesn't know why they just don't give the MVP award award to the guy every year. MVP or not though, Lebron could not lead his team to the Easter Conference Finals, and fell short to the Boston Celtics in what seemed to be an uninspired series. I'm not saying that I expect him to go out and score 40 points a game, but what I'm saying is that the great players have a way to impose their will on the game, and leave their imprint on it. Lebron didn't seem to do that in this year's playoffs. I can tell you one person who was tired of hearing of all of this Lebron is the best player in the NBA talk, none other than Kobe Bryant. After his team's sweep of the Utah Jazz, Kobe came out and torched the Phoenix Suns in the first game of the series leading his team to victory. O yea lets list Kobe's injuries. He has that broken finger that never seems to go away, his ankle more than likely needs surgery, and his knee had fluid drained from it a while ago. I don't know about you, but I never see Kobe being effected by his injuries. He goes out and leave his impression on every game he plays. There is a reason Kobe has won multiple championships in the NBA. Not only is he maybe one of the most talented players ever to play the game, but he also has the ability to persevere through adversity. That sounds like an MVP to me. Speaking of MVP's and toughness, how about what Steve Nash has had to go through these playoffs, or I guess almost all of his playoffs. He never seems to escape a series, much less a game with no bumps or bruises. Personally I think Nash may get my toughness award here. In the San Antonio series, he takes an elbow from Tim Duncan. (For those of us who have played ball with tall lanky guys, they have some really sharp elbows, and it is not fun to get clipped by one) Nash had to leave the game to get his eye checked out. He came back a few minutes later all stitched up, with his right eye swollen shut and continued to play the game as if nothing had ever happened. Now, in the Laker series, he takes an "accidental" jab to the nose by Derek Fisher. After the play you could see Nash moving around his nose a little bit, before sinking the two free-throws that accompanied the foul. Turns out his nose was broken and he needs surgery on it. And no Manu Ginobili, he is not going to put some piece of scotch tape over it, or where some Jason Terry mask to ease the pain, no, Nash isn't going to wear a mask. It happens to him so much he says, that he is just used to it now. This guy is having surgery in the middle of the series and is going to come back and play the next game like nothing ever happened! So what it comes down to in the NBA these days is perseverance, and guys that would do anything to go out and win the championship they so much desire for, guys that leave a lasting impression on the game they play, and guys that just go out there and have fun. Through everything, you know that Kobe Bryant is having fun in the series. Steve Nash, was in a happy mood with a halftime interview with Craig Sager, and just seemed happy to be there. (Probably because he was holding back comments on Craig Sager's suit) Lebron on the other hand, didn't seem like the happiest guy on the court at any point of his series. If anything Kobe Bryant has come out and shone that he still is the best player in the NBA, and Steve Nash has brought back some fun and exuberance to the game, while imposing his will to win on his teammates, as well as the Lakers. So, even though the only story line on Mike and Mike the past couple days has been whether or not Lebron will leave Cleveland, and how much troubles Lebron's elbow brought him during the playoffs. Maybe Lebron should look at players like Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant who at least look like they really want to be the conference finals.