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Last night Kobe Bryant addressed the perception that he’s a ball hog in an interview with ESPN’s David McMenamin.He explained that he’s not a ball hog, he’s just a born shooter by nature, and there’s nothing he can do about it.
And then he made a brilliant analogy, comparing his ability to get 30 shots a game to the superpowers of comic book heroes.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a ball hog. I’m a shooter. I don’t necessarily hog the ball, but I put them up though.”
“I definitely much rather shoot it than pass it. That’s just how I am.”
“That’s what I do. It’s like superheroes. Superman can fly. Spider-Man has webs. Steve [Nash] can pass. I shoot. … I get ’em up! I make no bones about it. That’s what I do. That’s what I do. Some nights they fall, some nights they don’t. But, [Dennis] Rodman was a rebounder, Coop [Michael Cooper] was a defender, I’m a shooter.”
Even though the superhero analogy was obviously made at least partially as a joke, it’s still a brilliant comparison.
Superpowers are also curses — and many superhero stories are centered on the hero’s struggle to deal with the burdens and consequences of their powers.
The mutants of the X-Men are a suppressed underclass, Jedis who learn to master the Force can be tempted by the power’s dark side, and Kobe’s limitless scoring ability results in the “ball hog” label that has followed him throughout his career.
Kobe possesses a unique and intractable ability to get shots up. It is this ability that defines him as a player, for better or worse. Telling him to shoot less is simply out of the question.