Cameron Larkin .com

A masked-Kobe is still the best in the business

He is still the best basketball player in the world and now with his facemask, Kobe Bryant is getting better.

Wearing the mask to protect his broken nose that was suffered in the All-Star when Dwayne Wade’s arm hit Bryant’s face, the 33-year old and 16-year NBA veteran doesn’t seem to be slowing down. This year alone, the star Lakers guard has played through a broken wrist, concussion and the broken nose in addition to all those miles his body has absorbed throughout the years.

In the past three games Bryant has worn the mask, he has 31 against Minnesota, 38 (Sacramento) and 33 (Miami). Versus the Heat on Sunday, Bryant was awesome – Jordanesque. Playing 39 of the 48 minutes, Bryant went 14-23 from the field, dropping 33 points and leading the Lakers to get the W over one of the true finals contenders.

Bryant hit 8-10 (18 points) in the first quarter that was simply dynamic. The masked star was well defended by Wade, at times LeBron and Shane Battier, however it wasn’t enough. Even with slaps to the face whilst releasing the ball, amazing fading-away shots and a hand up against his, Bryant hit almost everything he threw up.

The victory over the Heat was one of the best, if not the best, wins for the season, not only because it was against Miami but the way in which the team gelled. Meta World Peace was outstanding and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum contributed big with a lack of Heat talls as Chris Bosh sat on the sidelines.

What is it with these facemasks though? Kobe, the leagues leading scorer, has been unstoppable with his mask, akin to Rip Hamilton in the 2003-04 championship-winning season.

Rip made the mask his trademark when playing with the Detroit Pistons – a mask he came to call is his “superman cape.”

Don’t expect to see Kobe wearing the mask for one minute longer than required though as he said, “It’s too hot in this thing.” The mask may be hot, but so is Kobe’s game. He’s the best in the business in a league full of young guns such as Rose and Durant.

I recommend you watch the Lakers v Heat game and take in what an unbelievable player Bryant is. I am a passionate basketball players, fan and Lakers supporter yet am constantly amazed by what he is able to do. LeBron and Durant may have the votes so far for the MVP award however I’m with the Los Angeles crowd when Bryant walks to the free-throw line and the shout, “MVP, MVP, MVP.”

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