Bryant deserved to be MVP |

Bryant deserved to be MVP

Joe Ellison
Nevada Appeal Betting Columnist

It has been reported that Phoenix’s Steve Nash has repeated in winning the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. That’s a fine choice, and it would have been fine if Lebron James, Dirk Nowitzki, or Chauncey Billups won it too. But the one guy who truly deserved it was Kobe Bryant.

Kobe had himself an incredible year, capturing the scoring title with over 35 points per game. That was the most points since Michael Jordan in 1986 – 87 and the eighth-best in history, trailing only seasons by MJ and Wilt Chamberlain. His ridiculous 81 points in one game was the second-best ever.

Critics say Kobe shoots too much, and that he doesn’t allow other players to get involved in the offense. But you can’t argue with his 45.8 percent field goal percentage, which is very good for a guard and more like 50 percent when you consider the amount of three-point shots he makes.

When people talk about what “most valuable player” means, they ask themselves “where would his team be without him?” The fact of the matter is, the Lakers would be nowhere without Kobe, and when he doesn’t score a bunch of points his team doesn’t win. Nash at least has All-Star Shawn Marion on his club.

Bryant’s desire to win is on a par with Jordan, and he works tirelessly at his game. The only bad thing you can really say about him is that one incident a couple of years ago where he “committed adultery” and got arrested for sexual assault. Even though the case never went to trial, people now just won’t like him as much. But Kobe is maturing, and one day with some decent players helping he will add to his three championship rings.


There is nothing like playoff hockey, with the brand new season bringing more intensity and harder hits. Nowhere is it more important than in Canada, of course, where hockey is religion. Watching Hockey Night in Canada is a sacred ritual.

Which leads to a somewhat related matter. Why is it that at United States sporting events the national anthem is not taken seriously enough? Too often people who do not know how to sing miss notes, forget the words and even mock (Roseanne Barr) when giving their interpretations of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Some people think these mistakes are funny, but really they are a disgrace.

Canadian hockey games are definitely on to something by always having true professionals such as opera singers and members of the military belt out the anthems. The anthems get the respect they deserve, and like Kate Smith singing God Bless America at Philadelphia Flyer games, they stir up the crowd.


For all you die-hard pro football fans out there, the big sporting event this weekend is not the hockey or basketball playoffs, or the racing at Talladega. It’s the long-awaited and over-hyped NFL Entry Draft. ESPN and ESPN2 will provide countless hours of coverage, and hopefully there will be some drama.

The only sure pick is that USC’s Reggie Bush will be selected first, regardless of any off-field questions he is facing. After the first pick no one knows what will happen next, which should make things a little more interesting this year.