May 30, 2007: Kobe Bryant demands a trade. This did affect me; back in Tha Day, I was a diehard Lakers fan. I started watching them, and to a lesser extent the rest of the NBA, back in the mid 90's when I was living in PB with old roomie Tom, a diehard Lakers fan. We suffered through Elden "The Black Vlade" Campbell and Vlade "The White Vlade" Divac and Del Harris, had man-crushes on Eddie Jones and Nick Van Smack, shat ourselves when Shaq arrived, shat ourselves again when Kobe was drafted, and shat thrice more during the Halcyon Days of The Three-peat. I still think letting Shaq go was the right decision, and still think that every decision since has been wrong on a galactic scale (Kwame Brown? Really?). If - and it's a big if - Kobe goes, the best-case scenario is Bill Simmons' hypothetical Deal Number 1. For a lot of reasons, chief among them Leandro Barbosa and a 2008 first round pick. Also, the Suns play such fluid and fun basketball that by God I almost jumped ship this season; look, I know that my enthusiasm for the NBA in general and the Lakers in particular has waned, but there's a special circle of Hell reserved for SoCal'ers who root for any team from Arrakis. I'm on the fence about Kobe leaving, but maintaining the status quo is the worst possible scenario; a selfish superstar who has to be because he's surrounded by a bunch of 2nd tier talent. I do believe that Kobe wants to stay, that he's honestly pissed off that Buss and Sycophants haven't brought in winners, that he's telling the truth about the real reason that Shaq was traded (despite what we're inclined to believe, most NBA players are professional - they want to win, but more important, they want to at the very least maintain their market value, and the way to do that is to win, and the way to win is surround yourself with winners, and one will put up with an enormous amount of bullshit to ensure that one continues to make millions of dollars in salary and endorsements, and lest we forget, Shaq and Kobe WON THREE GODDAMN TITLES BACKTOBACKTOBACK, a feat which, since then, has been repeated by exactly NO ONE.). So I think it highly unlikely that he will leave, and if this does turn out to be the shot across Jerry Buss' bow that wakes him up from at least one of his stupors, then good for Kobe.
Also on This Day In History: Joan of Arc was burned at the stake (1431); the bra was invented (1889); Evel Knievel jumped 16 cars in a row at Ascot Speedway in Gardena (1967); and I was born (1969). I know - not as cool as Evel Knievel.