Kobe Bryant likes the Phoenix Suns about as much as Lady Gaga liked Adele winning Grammys. Which is to say, not at all.
I’m not just making an assumption. He’s actually told the media as much.
“I don’t like them,” Bryant said of the Suns back in January. “Plain and simple, I do not like them. They used to whip us pretty good and used to let us know about it, and I. Will. Not. Forget. That.”
That’s alright. In fact, it’s better that way.
Would the movie Diehard have been as entertaining if Hans Gruber actually liked John McClane and wanted to help him get out of the building safely? If the rival mobs in the Godfather were friendly with each other the baptism scene at the end of the movie would just have consisted of a kid getting water poured on his head and Sonny Corleone would have just driven his car through the toll booth.
If there aren’t villains there can’t be heroes. If there isn’t conflict there can’t be intrigue.
It’s quotes like that which make sports fun and worth being passionate about. It validates the fact that the Suns and Lakers are in fact rivals regardless of wins and losses.
You don’t need records or stats to back up the claim of a rivalry — although I could provide you with a bunch. The Suns and Lakers have met in the playoffs 12 times and for seven consecutive seasons the two teams have finished first and second in the Pacific Division –all you need is two sides with complete disdain for each other.
Growing up in the Valley, the Suns and Lakers were like the Hatfields and the McCoys, or more accurately, the [Al] McCoy’s and the [Chick] Hearn’s. There were epic playoff battles (remember Paul Westphal’s guarantee in 1993?) and amazing moments (Dan Majerle’s buzzer beater where he jumped on the scorers table). That, and the fact Phoenix was and still is home to many bandwagon Laker fans, made the phrase Beat LA more a way of life than just a cute marketing slogan.
To this day, there is nothing like the energy of a Suns-Lakers game at US Airways Center. To many Suns fans, myself included, it is the epitome of the battle of the good guys taking on the bullies, or the 99 percent versus the 1 percent. It’s as much about pride in Phoenix as it is about basketball.
Kobe doesn’t like the Suns and that’s the way fans should like it. It just ensures that Suns-Lakers will always be some of the most dramatic and entertaining games and that’s what sports is all about.
Why do you love the Suns versus Lakers rivalry?
PS. Make sure to catch Suns-Lakers live this Sunday at US Airways Center and get a Markieff Morris FatHead courtsey of FOX Sports Arizona. http://on.suns.com/wi
Name: Barry Smith
Who is your favorite player to play for both the Suns and Lakers? Does it rhyme with Dirt Hambuss?
Nope, I was never a fan of Shirt Crambuss. Although I did find Kurt Rambis’ glasses entertaining.
There are have been a few fan favorites who have worn both the purple and orange and purple and gold. AC Green was a hard worker with a funky shot that I enjoyed and Ced Ceballos was high flying and energetic. While they’d both be in my top three, number one has to be Connie Hawkins.
Hawkins was the Denzel Washington of his time. He was cool, had a swagger and, on the court, he played as a guy that wasn’t afraid to destroy you if the situation called for it. He was the epitome of cool and helped shaped the Suns in their early days. He was the franchises first flashy star.
Name: Raul Martinez
What do you think the fan reaction would have been if some years back, Kobe would have signed here?
Have you ever seen the movie Face/Off? If not, it was a movie where John Travolta played a FBI agent who had to infiltrate a criminal organization by surgically having his face removed and replaced with the criminals face, played by Nic Cage. Throughout the movie Travolta’s character, now played by Cage, struggles mentally with having his arc enemies face instead of his own. It felt unnatural and just wrong. It was as if his mind was rejecting the entire situation.
That’s exactly what would have happened if Kobe had become a Suns a few years back. It would have felt so weird for fans that eventually they would have either lost their minds based on how conflicted they felt inside or chased him out of town.
Name: Omar Molina
The Gorilla’s birthday was earlier this week, hooray! Has there been any attempt to have a different mascot before the legendary Gorilla came along?
Thanks in advance Espo!
This was my favorite question of this week’s mailbag simply because it took some creativity to come up with and forced me to actually do some research (something I didn’t even do in college).
Omar, I found out that there was in fact another attempt at a mascot. It was the Phoenix Suns Sunflower. Luckily the movement failed. I can’t imagine a guy dressed as a flower running around shooting t-shirts into the crowd. That, and no one ever made a movie called Rise of the Planet of the Sunflowers. Just not intimidating enough.
And like the Suns Sunflower, I’m out of here. Hopefully not for good though.
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