Why the 2011 Finals Will Be Kobe Bryant’s Greatest Challenge

June 2011 is a lifetime away for the Los Angeles Lakers and their fans. What lies ahead is a long and winding road of training camps, near meaningless pre-season games (unless you’re the Clippers) and a dark and dreary regular season that stretches and winds it’s way through six months worth of waiting. Oh they’ll be plenty of wins and losses, injuries, trade rumors, TV timeouts, speculation about the refs and enough ESPN hype to keep us entertained all along the way to the Promised Land of the NBA Playoffs. But for Kobe Bryant and his LA Lakers, the real 2011 season won’t begin until Game One of the first round of the Playoffs and a chance to defend what is rightfully theirs

This title defense won’t be like any of the previous four that have come before it. What awaits Bryant and the Lakers at the end of this yellow brick road is truly their greatest challenge to date. What awaits will demand that Bryant be able to shake the jitters and pressures that grabbed hold of him like a two ton gorilla hanging atop the Empire State building in last year’s Game Seven. What awaits is the chance to move past Magic as the winningest Laker ever. What awaits is the chance to tip the scales in Bryant’s favor rightfully placing him in that conversation in which only His Airness had previously belonged.

The Greatest of All Time.

And this time, it’s not the ring that matters. For if Bryant and the Lakers were to meet and beat, say, the Orlando Magic in a 2009 Finals rematch, the win would not have the same impact. If they were to beat the new and improved Chicago Bulls, it would leave this Lakers team, and indeed Kobe Bryant right where they are now: a good team, a mini dynasty, but not an all-time team and not in the realm of MJ.


It would be a 3-Peat, but it wouldn’t be THE 3-PEAT! You know what I’m getting to.

We all know.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers