Kobe Bryant vs. Ryan Braun


Despite shamefully owning a Kobe jersey when I was in fifth grade, I am not a huge Kobe fan. But I respect the dude. Mostly because he’s the insane type of player who actually cares about winning more than anything. This is the same guy who went to mad Germany scientist to have crazy Frankenstein procedures on his knees to keep playing, despite already winning four titles and having a Hall-of-Fame career. He’s not proving anything more at this point.

But this week at the All-Star game Kobe (reportedly, since no one watched it other than Woody Allen) had his nose broken and was concussed by a hard foul from Dwayne Wade. While I love Wade giving a hard foul in a completely meaningless game to one of the bigger pricks in basketball, Kobe played through it, in a game that no one except him actually wanted to play in.

Kobe has a lot of Michael Jordan in him, that restless desire to win. No one will remember who won this All-Star Game even a year from now. But people will always remember Kobe breaking his nose and playing through it.

Best yet, a broken-nosed, concussed Kobe still managed to trash talk LeBron James for passing up the last shot with the game on the line twice. And any time you can rip LeBron for not being competitive like Jordan (or Kobe) you have to.

If LeBron had his nose broken he would still be complaining to the refs. And still passing.


Ryan Braun is an awesome baseball player, although a great percentage of fans probably had no idea until he had the whole steroids things happen. He’s quietly been one of the best players in baseball for the last couple years and his MVP was very deserving.

I’ve always held the stance that I really don’t care about steroids. Everyone did them. Many still do. It was part of the game and the era and you can’t just pretend an entire generation didn’t happen. And doing everything you can do to help your team win has always been the most important part about sports, right? So people choosing to do long-term damage to their bodies is their choice (and a lucrative one for them too).

Ryan Braun clearly did something. He has offered no explanation for what actually happened. He even blew his STD defense. His testosterone levels was one of the highest ever recorded. It wasn’t because a dude put his urine in his fridge. Something was going on there.

Braun successfully had his 50-game suspension dropped. So he’s sort of not guilty. But he won on a technicality that his sample was handled wrong.

But if you listen to him he feels like his good name is cleared now and he’s been vindicated. This is like a murderer going free because he wasn’t read his Miranda Rights. I don’t care that Braun used PEDs. It bothers me that he pretends he’s all high and mighty f0r being so wronged and shouldn’t get the Steroids Shame that has ruined other people’s careers and reputations.

Plus his haircut makes him look like a huge douche.


Related on The Smoking Jacket:
Five Great Moments from the Golden Era of Trashy Baseball
Who Wants to See Jessica Burciaga at the Beach?