Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Anti-Kobe Society

The rumor that the Cleavland Cavaliers are making a bid for Ron Artest is a juicy one. First, from the basic, boring point of view where Lebron needs a better supporting cast, and surprisingly, he might be better off playing the power forward position than the small forward position, this is an intriguingly clever move.

The more exciting part about the trade is that it seems, along with the Shaq acquisition, designed to turn the Cleavland Cavaliers into a team designed for one very specific purpose: taking down Kobe. This is totally a comic book scenario. Artest, Shaq, and Lebron all have personal rivalries with Kobe. To put them together on one team with the expressed purpose of trying to take what belongs to Kobe (the championship)... well that's just too juicy. Kobe vs. Lebron spawned a whole series of ubiquitous commercials featuring puppets that talked and vitamins that were got. Shaq vs. Kobe has it's own Wikipedia page. This is seismic already. The playoffs are about as far away as they can be and I'm already tired about hearing about these two showdowns. But then you add in Ron Artest and Kobe's complicated relationship and the Kobe vs. Cavaliers rivalry will have reached operatic heights. I mean, really, do the Cavs have "bitter rivalry with Kobe Bryant" as one of their job qualifications? Will there be anyone left in the NBA with a bitter rivalry with Kobe who isn't on the Cavs?

What is the precise comic book analog for this? I know of lots of scenarios where the bad guys team up to fight the single good guy, but it seems rarer for three good guys to team up to fight a single evil (let's face it, when it comes to mythic storytelling, there is no way that Kobe is the good guy). This is such an over-the-top storyline for next season that I can't help but love it in all of it's glorious absurdity. If anyone can tell me what comic book they are ripping off for this storyline I'd be eternally grateful (Tangent: What super hero is Lebron?).

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