Tuesday, February 23, 2016
111. The Eternal Warrior
The Lakers were playing the Spurs Friday night (Saturday morning in Manila) and I arrived home just in time to watch the last two quarters. I wasn't expecting the Lakers to win, but at the very least I wanted them to give a good fight. The Lakers were down by a few possessions and I decided to hang around and see if this game would be one of those come from behind wins for the Lakers. Everytime the Lakers are playing the Spurs, I always remember the magical Fisher shot, 0.4 second shot in the 2005 play-offs that gave the Lakers the 74-73 win. I've always wished I would see that moment reincarnated in every NBA game I watch, especially with a Lakers-Spurs match. But Saturday was different. Down by 5 late in the fourth quarter, the Lakers needed a basket to stay in the game. Kobe took a three point shot that bounced off the rim, and Brandon Bass tapped him the rebound. Kobe reached down the floor, and I saw him wince. He ran after the ball but didn't try to get it; he was just protecting it from a Spur who might run a fastbreak on it as it went out of bounds near the Spurs bench. Kobe then clutched his hand. The announcers speculated that he might have hurt his finger, but his face was expressionless. Gary Vitti, the Lakers's trainer, approached him and they were talking nonchalantly. Then, Gary held Kobe's right hand as Kobe bowed. Gary appeared to be pulling the hand while looking away and Kobe jerked as if in sudden pain. Then, Gary tapped Kobe's head saying something like, you'd be fine. And just like that, Kobe was back on the floor. No nothing happened. Apparently, Kobe dislocated his right middle finger and asked Gary to put it back in place. In the ensuing possession, Kobe scored on a lob shot. The effort would be fruitless however as the Spurs pulled away. The Spurs won 119-113 but Kobe owned the night. I got what I wanted to see, a good fight from the Lakers. Yet, more than that, I realized I have learned another lesson in life. What you're gonna do if you dislocate a finger? Ask someone to pull it back in place and carry on. No whining. No cursing. No blaming. As Stoic as can be. Like many other injuries or setbacks in life, get it healed or get it fixed and carry on. With my aging body at forty-five, I would be injury prone and sickness prone too, but I'd take it from Kobe in his last game with the Spurs, leave it to the experts, take it all in style, and carry on. As Stoic as can be.