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Imaginary Player: Time Won’t Let Me Go

“Consistency is the last resort of the unimaginative” – Oscar Wilde

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. With the rebirth of The ODC, The Imaginary Player was supposed to be transformed. The Return was meant to embrace the unfamiliar, or at least the contemporaneous.

I did not want to fall back on old habits and worn-out topics of interest. This was supposed to be a fresh start. In the spirit of all things Obama, this was going to be about change.

This was supposed to be about Andrew Bynum’s knee and its impact on the NBA landscape. This was meant to discuss Santonio Holmes’ presence and composure on sports’ grandest stage (as well as his shout out to LeBron). But it’s not about those things.

I did not want to rehash a fray position about a sporting immortal that I have covered so many times before. I had every intention of paying no heed to those whose excellence and mastery I have broadcast at length.

I had meant to write about the independently asinine and collectively ridiculous All-Star snubs of Al Jefferson and Kevin Durant. I had hoped to present the case for Kurt Warren’s spot in the Hall of Fame, or confer the staggering superiority of GSP.

But Kobe Bryant won’t let me.

On Monday night, Mamba scored 61 points to break the single-game record at Madison Square Garden, the most famous arena in the world.

That is more than Larry Bird’s career high.

That is Bryant’s fifth game over 60 points for his career, second all-time.

That is the 24th time he has scored over 50.

That is why he is Kobe Bryant.

Even when it seems impossible that we could still be surprised or startled by Bean’s brilliance, he somehow raises the stakes and leaves us all stupefied yet again. To sing his praises at this point is redundant. Accolade after accolade, tribute after tribute, we have long praised him and held his game in the highest and rarest of esteem. As Western Conference player of the month for January, he just finished averaging 27.2 points and 7.1 assists while leading the Lakers to a 12-4 record. Yet that doesn’t tell the story.

What does is that he possesses athletic artistry and grace that defies being disregarded. The last thing I wanted to compose was the draft of yet-another love letter from me to 24, for fear that such a message was becoming insipid and dull. It is very simple: I have covered my views on Kobe exorbitantly. That is why I would have preferred to address David Beckham looking to move permanently to Milan, or Manny’s baffling continued availability, or Nadal’s majestic rise as a sporting god. Why I wanted to write about Pat Summit’s 1000 win, or the death of the Phoenix Suns as we know them.

But he won’t let me. Like an attention-hording, insistent better half, Bryant does not allow me to cover new ground. He is too remarkable. His achievements too shining.

61. In the Garden.

So much for evolving as a writer. So much for the metamorphose for The Imaginary Player. So much for a new start.

Kobe Bryant: Maestro. Same as it ever was.

“Everytime I think I’m out, they pull me back in…” – Michael Corleone

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