Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 5/6/12

I can't help but picture Phil Jackson sitting by a babbling brook, way up in a mountain somewhere, smiling as a reads the Los Angeles Times while smoking his morning's peyote. His young prodigy and once rebellious student, has now embraced the ways of the Zen even in King Phillip's absence, and I couldn't imagine the great teacher being any more proud of all that.

Kobe Bryant is ballin out of control right now. While all the playoff attention is on LeBron James' MVP-caliber season, the birth of Chris Bosh's kid, and Amar'e's fire extinguished hand, Bryant is averaging 34.5 points per game on 49% shooting from the field. He's focused, man, and there might not be anybody outside of father time in this year's playoffs who can stop him.

But none of that is why Phil's smiling with that peace pipe this morning in the fictitious image I've conjured up in my head. He's smiling because of the communicator that Kobe's become in his wise old age, and the leadership that has helped facilitate for the guy who was once Shaq's biggest nemesis.

This from Kobe via the Los Angeles Times:

How to explain Bryant’s patience with Andrew Bynum’s immaturity issues, Metta World Peace arriving to training camp out of shape and Bryant's willingness to be a coach on the sideline during his recent shin injury? He has a former head coach to thank.

"It's part of being around Phil [Jackson] so much," Bryant said. "A lot of it has rubbed off on me. I try to communicate that around the guys as best as I can."

That doesn't mean Bryant lacks his usual fiery demeanor. After all, players routinely knew Jackson's blood boiled underneath his calm demeanor. Lakers rookie guard Andrew Goudelock also said Bryant "doesn’t sugar coat anything so he’ll tell you straight up how it is" when he's pointing out mistakes on film, on the practice court and in the game.

"I haven’t done anything I haven’t done in the past," Bryant said. "Because of the learning process we’ve been going through with the coaching staff and us players, I’ve had to do a little bit more vocal leadership in that aspect. But it’s pretty much status quo."

If Kobe was able to do the unthinkable this season, and carry those 34.5 points per game all the way to an NBA championship, this would be by far the absolute worst team he has ever won an NBA title with. Each of the last five teams he won titles with would beat this year's version by at least 12 points I think. But if Kobe can keep doing what he's doing, on the floor and off, he just might get ring number six while nobody else is looking.

The first ring he'd get without the guy who rubbed off on him so much sitting on the sidelines too.

[follow]

This article first appeared on Crossover Chronicles and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Philip Rivers cleared to play Sunday against Bills

Simone Biles blasts Gabby Douglas over response to sexual abuse post

D'Angelo Russell underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Friday

Derrick Rose to miss at least two weeks with ankle injury

Jameis Winston: Uber driver’s ‘accusation is false’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jerry Jones apologizes after video of racially charged comment emerges

Russell Wilson couldn't talk, was on liquid diet for days due to nearly broken jaw

Report: Tennessee has 'considerable reservations' about hiring Jon Gruden

NFL owner reached out to Adam Silver about commissioner job?

‘Still OKC’ Kevin Durant: ‘Ain’t no such thing’ as loyalty

Report: Leonard Fournette’s ankle is ‘still not right’

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

The 'An I, Tonya for an eye (or knee)' quiz

Should the Broncos make Tyrod Taylor their next quarterback?

15 mid-majors you need to know before you hear about them in March

NCAA college football 2017 Week 12 predictions

NFL Week 11 predictions

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

The Saints flipped the script to revive their season

The 15 best and 15 worst MLB signings of the last decade

The 'It's a major award!' quiz

Vikings' unnecessary quarterback conundrum is Mike Zimmer's doing

Time to admit the Blues are good, but can they be great?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Is Jerry out of his league?

15 mid-majors you need to know before you hear about them in March

The 'An I, Tonya for an eye (or knee)' quiz

Should the Broncos make Tyrod Taylor their next quarterback?

The 15 best and 15 worst MLB signings of the last decade

The 'It's a major award!' quiz

Follow Ben Simmons as he leads us to the NBA's unknown future

The Saints flipped the script to revive their season

NFL Week 11 predictions

NCAA college football 2017 Week 12 predictions

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker