In crunch time, there’s just no stopping Bryant


SAN ANTONIO -- Don’t know if you’ve seen it yet, more than 2.5 million already taking a look on YouTube, but Kobe Bryant, urged on by his friends Wee-Man and Party Boy from “Jackass,” is shown leaping over a pool filled with snakes to dunk the ball.

You think he would do that for Phil Jackson?

If the guy had any guts, though, he would have had the pool filled with sports writers, or maybe that’s the way he was looking at it.

Whatever, he already leap-frogged an Aston Martin, and I had to look for myself, because I had no idea what an Aston Martin was. I live in Placentia.


Bryant is not Superman, of course, because Superman chose to retire early in Phoenix. And most folks probably look at the Nike promos and write them off as fancy camera work -- agents, attorneys and team officials never allowing Bryant to really place himself in danger.

In addition, anyone who caught the purple tutu his wife was wearing the night he accepted the MVP trophy in Staples Center, knowing what it might mean to tell the wife to change clothes before going to the arena, understands the guy really does know his limits.

Reality, though, is such a bummer. It’s so much more fun believing Bryant is unstoppable, capable of leaping cars, snakes and Bruce Bowen any time he wants -- backing up what he said following Game 1’s explosion: “I can get off at any time.”

Who wants to see the guy restrain himself, the game’s top closer put on the brakes, or whoa there, Kobe -- 31 seconds to go, game over and where do you think you are going?

Thirty-one seconds to go, the Lakers up by four and Bryant is still trying to get to the free-throw line for the first time in the game instead of running out the clock, and never before did it seem like a good idea to tell him to hold back.

“He thought he had a direct line to the basket,” Jackson said. “And that set up a situation that was very -- it put us in jeopardy.”

Come on, do you think it’s easy to leap over a speeding car, a pool filled with snakes or take a playoff game on course to end in routine fashion and turn it into a heart-pounding, controversial finish?

That’s entertainment.

SIX HOURS before game time, and the folks at had already posted the alarm: “It’s the news every Spurs fan has dreaded -- the team fighting for its season, and blowing the whistle will be one Joey Crawford.

“If the NBA wants to give the conspiracy theorists ammunition, this is certainly the way to do it.”

A year ago Crawford ejected Tim Duncan for laughing on the bench, and then was suspended after asking Duncan, “You want to fight?”

Back on the job, Crawford hit Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich with a technical in Game 5 with New Orleans.

Game on the line here, Spurs down by two and Derek Fisher lands on Brent Barry, destroying any chance he has at taking a good shot.

“Yeah, he pushed him,” Jackson said after the game.

“If I was the official I would not have made that call,” Popovich said.

Crawford, the official on the spot, didn’t blow his whistle, the only noise heard anywhere maybe from inside the NBA headquarters in New York.

BEFORE THE game a reporter asked Jackson about Fisher: “Derek [said] some of your guys are so young that they remind him of his kids; if you tell them to do something, they don’t want to do it. Who is he talking about?”

Jackson’s response: “Derek went off a little bit this year on a -- moment in which he has exercised his leadership and talked in generalities about the variety of -- you, know, when you have kids, you know, you may have one kid that you raise this way, another kid that you may have to raise a different way. Then he looked at a group of guys -- even when you have dogs and you have a pitbull and you may have this -- somebody may have a lap dog, you raise them differently because he realized this group of kids were too young to relate to having kids.

“So eventually we got our own group of dogs,” Jackson continued, and there was more, but sorry, Miss South Carolina, your time is up.

PROCRASTINATORS ALERT: Only a few hundred tickets remain for “Scully & Wooden for the Kids” via for the June 13 benefit for a pair of children’s hospitals.

And only two sponsor tables left, and the chance to hear NBA insight from Jerry West following what should be Game 4 of the Finals a night earlier in Staples Center.

THE OTHER day I mentioned they have the Alamo here, which is named after a rental car company.

Well, several people from San Antonio e-mailed to say the Alamo is a historical site where everyone was wiped out and the rental car company was named after it.

What a surprise, but then why would a rental car company name itself after some place where everyone gets wiped out? I guess to get everyone to take the additional insurance coverage?

WHEN I heard that Tom Lasorda had appeared on “The Bachelorette” Monday night and was showing the suitors how to hit, I had to give him a lot of credit. The guy will go anywhere to find a replacement for Andruw Jones.

LASORDA WAS also scheduled to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch in Wrigley Field Tuesday night for the sixth time in his life.

“I gave up a good singing career for pro baseball,” Lasorda said, who will sing for his supper certainly before paying for it.

TODAY’S LAST word comes in e-mail from Al McMordie:

“It’s not nice (to pick on San Antonio). I live in Brentwood, Montana @ Bundy, near where OJ killed Ron & Nicole, so it goes without saying that I really love Los Angeles and appreciate all the city has to offer . . . “

Never heard any one say “I love L.A.” quite the same way.


T.J. Simers can be reached at To read previous columns by Simers, go to