- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 25, 2006

So much for the X-rated goings-on with the shaky woman from Colorado, chasing Shaquille O’Neal to Miami, accusing Karl Malone of trying to hit on his wife and leading the Lakers to an awe-inspiring record of 34-48 last season.

Kobe Bryant scores 81 points in a game, and it is all good.

No, it is better than all good. It is nirvana. It also is surreal, whatever the definition of surreal is.

You are obligated to employ the s-word at a time like this, just as you were obligated to employ it as O.J. Simpson led police on a low-speed freeway chase in pursuit of the Colombian cartel.

Although O.J. was unable to nab the “real killers” on the Los Angeles freeway, we have pretty much lived in a surreal state since then, judging from the obtuse commentary of the talking heads, not counting Chris Matthews, who has the best cheeks in the business.

Eighty-one points. Wow. Gosh.

So many male schoolgirls in plaid skirts and bobby socks have been giggling, squealing and batting their eyelashes since Bryant dropped 81 on the Raptors.

Where is Kwame Brown complaining about his lack of touches when you need him?

Come on, Kwame, you loser, show some backbone. Don’t you want to slap Bryant?

With the outcome decided, the game turned into a cross between an AAU exercise and an asphalt-playground engagement, which is to say its farcical aspect was compelling.

Bryant’s teammates would not have shot the ball if the Raptors had escorted them to the rim with a smile. So there was Bryant going one-against-five, as only he would have it.

Bryant never tires of shooting the ball, whether he is making a reasonable percentage of his shots or not. It only becomes convenient to criticize Lamar Odom if Bryant goes 12-for-35 shooting and the Lakers lose.

Bryant said he never dreamed of scoring 81 points in a game. Huh? He orchestrated the occasion. This is his dream team — teammates who defer to his every whim or he will have a diva-like fit and smash the nearest television monitor.

His principal instruction to his teammates is: “Throw me the ball.”

This kind of attitude is considered contemptible, except, it seems, if you score 81 points in a game.

Let’s try to stay consistent.

Bryant’s approach will be contemptible the night he scores 150 points in a game, and the world pauses in his honor and the ninnies of the United Nations request that he meet with President Mad Man of Iran to strike an accord.

Tex Winter, the architect of the triangle offense, expressed the only mature observation after dispensing the obligatory superlatives.

“I don’t think you can win a championship that way,” he said.

Isn’t winning a championship the principal motivation of the leading players in the NBA?

Well, not in Bryant’s case. He is me, me, me, a thousand times me, and you can stick him and his 81 points wherever you like, just not on a genuine team.

The Zen master has done what he refused to do in his first go-around with the Lakers.

He has acquiesced to Bryant, which kind of figures for someone who looks more and more like Col. Sanders with each passing season.

Please, make the next bucket of chicken extra crispy, Col. Zen.

It is funny how it turns out.

Jeanie Buss is dating Col. Zen, and if you compare Bryant’s 81 to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962, Bryant’s output actually correlates to 332 points.

Sorry. A different time. Different era.

The exploits of Michael Jordan will not become less than what they were because of the ascent of 7-10 shooting guards in 100 years, assuming the ayatollahs, mullahs and the like permit the game of basketball to be played then.

By the way, Johnny Weissmuller is still the man, plus the best Tarzan ever, no matter if his swim times are surpassed by 12-year-old girls today.

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