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The amount of Reactionary Kobe Defenders that WON’T show up on this comment thread will reveal all that needs to be said about how Laker fans feel right now. Their almost two-decades-in-development, razor sharp excuse-making instincts will never allow them to verbally agree that Kobe’s farewell tour was to their franchise what dried-concrete-around-feet was to enemies of the mob in the 1930’s, of course, but they won’t actually, overtly claim otherwise either. They’ll be diplomatic in tone; they’ll be strategic with word choices; they’ll OLE the issue with the nimbleness of a champion bullfighter.

When you peel away the PR gloss and BS, what we all saw in the Staples Center over the previous two years was awful, terrible, ugly, joyless basketball designed around one dude’s compulsive need to be seen as a legend at all times, coupled with a coaching staff and administrative team too frail and overwhelmed to do anything about it.

What’s happening there know is like a photo-negative of that, glorious and life-affirming by comparison. And somewhere, deep down in the recesses of their soul, in a place they fear to enter, every die-hard Kobe-head knows it.

But it’s awesome seeing it flash behind their eyes while watching these games, when they think no one is looking.

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