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The Los Angeles Lakers fell in their fourth preseason game last night, but Kobe Bryant’s mind was elsewhere.Bryant told reporters following the game that he’s spoken with Alex Rodriguez, supporting him, despite being mired in an ugly postseason slump.
Rodriguez is 3-for-23 this postseason and has been benched by manager Joe Girardi for two games.
Here’s what Kobe told him:
“I just say to him, ‘You’re Alex Rodriguez. You’re A-Rod. You’re one of the best to ever do it,'” Bryant said. “I think sometimes he kind of forgets that and wants to try to do the right thing all the time. Which is the right team attitude to have. But other times you really have to put your head down and say, ‘Hell with it’ and just do your thing.”
It’s huge for Kobe to come out in support of A-Rod, especially with the entire media world suggesting he’s hit his last home run.
But warning signs remain that his career will never be what it once was from here on out, unless he can regather the mental edge he once had. Kobe admitted that.
“I mean we’re different, but he’s one of the best to ever play, period. I think really the difference is sometimes he forgets he’s the best, where I don’t.”
That’s a troubling assumption.
Has Rodriguez lost that competitive fire?
In 2006, it didn’t sit well with Rodriguez when then-manager Joe Torre dropped him down to eighth in the batting order during a playoff series against the Detroit Tigers.
Now, in 2012, Rodriguez seems comfortable chatting up models in the stands during important games.
If Alex Rodriguez has grown content with his redundant postseason failures, there’s reason for Yankees fans to be worried. Maybe a little shake from one of the greatest basketball players of all time will wake him up from his postseason slumber.
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