The strangest moment of the NBA playoffs took place during Game 3 of the Lakers-Rockets series, when Kobe Bryant hit an 18-foot turnaround jumper from the left elbow with Shane Battier's right hand in his face. Bryant immediately began shaking his head with a look that indicated he smelled something really bad. This -- as you know -- is Kobe's dismissive face, the one he now makes after nearly every basket.
How can a guy with that much talent play with such little joy? Why does he feel he has to put on that phony tough-guy show all the time? Underneath all that pre-fab armor, who is he? Does he even know?
That sums it up. I've played with guys like this before, and no one likes them. You know who I'm talking about... the guy that struts back downcourt after making a 3-pointer, the guy that sneers at his opponents on defense.
Normal people like players who just play the game. Sure, get exuberant after a made shot, but don't do it too often, and don't make it about your opponent. But other than that, run back on defense without addressing your defender. Let your game speak for itself and let others praise you if you're doing well.
I guess when you've been a basketball prodigy for pretty much your whole life, being unassuming on the court doesn't come easy.
But if Kobe could figure out how to pull it off, he'd gain a lot of respect around the league.