Kobe Followup

David Friedman writes:

The answer, of course, is that it would be absurd to judge Duncan's entire career on the basis of one game during which his teammates shot 22-59 from the field, including a combined 10-30 performance from Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. I doubt that anyone thought for one moment about writing such a stupid, slanted article about Duncan in the wake of that game. So it is worth asking why so many people--from heavy hitting mainstream writers to Joe Blogger--instantly had such a visceral anti-Kobe Bryant reaction to game four.

Is this really so hard to figure out? I think if Kobe weren't a rapist people would have fewer visceral anti-Kobe reactions. Across a whole variety of dimensions, Kobe's not "boring" like Duncan but by the same token nobody is predisposed to knock a solid citizen who sports four rings. Obviously, Kobe's extracurricular activities aren't stricty relevant to assessing his hoops skills, but I can imagine greater injustices than an athlete being judged unusually harshly due to his record of bad acts in real life. The fact that Kobe's partisans insist not only that he's an excellent basketball player, but that he deserves to be compared to the clearly superior Jordan doesn't help either. Most guys' fans are prepared to accept a compliment.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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