I was browsing through the U.C.L.A. related news hits on Google this morning to make sure our BN articles were being linked and to scan through the usual array of superficial trademed reports on basketball.
And then, one article jumped out at me.
And then, one article jumped out at me.
Kobe Bryant and UCLA: A Perfect Marriage.
This article, written by James Moore for the Los Angeles Post-Examiner (an internet news site) intrigued me. While the concept of marriage and Kobe has not always been ideal, the basketball angle for U.C.L.A. was an interesting one, and definitely something I hadn't ever really considered. Moore pitches Bryant's competitive instincts, his basketball IQ, and his larger than life persona, and concludes he would start bringing banners back to Pauley. Hmmm...
I grew up as a diehard Lakers fan in the glorious Showtime days of the 80's when Kareem and Magic and James and Silk and Riles and Chick provided the greatest show on hardwood. I've lost nearly all interest in the NBA as a whole over the years, but those days will always link me to the Lakers, so I've followed and generally cheered for Kobe through the good and not-so-good times. I certainly realize he's in the twilight of his career and he's missed most of this season following shoulder surgery. He is, after all, 36. I mean, most people in the Middle Ages were dead well before that. But if it seems like Kobe's been playing forever, well, being drafted as a 17 year old and playing and shooting nearly continuously ever since will give that impression, and so I haven't really gotten around to the thought of where Kobe will go when/if he ultimately retires in the next few years.
But Moore has an idea: Westwood.
Kobe Bryant and UCLA basketball are a perfect fit for each other. Not only do both need each other, they are meant for one another.
UCLA basketball is back on the path of mediocrity. Once the greatest basketball program in the country, UCLA isn't even the best college hoops program in Southern California. That honor belongs to San Diego State. UCLA's best recruits underachieve, leave early, and do better in the NBA than they do at Westwood. Once able to land the best of the best in talent anywhere in the country, UCLA is all too often out-recruited in their own backyard by the likes of Arizona and Oregon. This has to eat away at the wealthy boosters who long to see more national title banners hanging from the rafters of Pauley Pavilion.
Man, does that second paragraph suck or what? But the truth hurts, and Moore nails it on the head. It's exactly what we have been saying here for years, even before Dan missed, panicked, and overpaid Alford, plunging a flailing program into utter disarray.
I am fanposting this only because I find this an interesting question…what would you think about Kobe Bryant coaching the Bruins in a year or two? It's a sad but legit fact, Dan's ridiculous contract and obscene buyout means that we are likely stuck with Alford for another year or two simply due to the finances. But if results don't improve shortly, even the normally passive Bruin Boosters will stand up and push for a change. And when that time comes, should U.C.L.A. consider a person who is a top 3 all-time NBA talent but who has never coached a college team? Should the Bruins consider a Los Angeles basketball icon who has never recruited a high school athlete to college? Should our proud basketball legacy be trusted to a person who never played college basketball? Should Dan Guerrero take the logical step of hiring a coach who protected an accused and ultimately convicted rapist to hiring a coach who was accused but not convicted of rape himself?
Kobe has some enormous selling points, and he has some gaping holes in his resume. We always say that Westwood is a place for a good coach to ply his trade and not a place for a beginning coach to learn his trade. But this wouldn't be just a first time DC. This is the Black Mamba we're talking about. What about the Powderkeg Blue and Gold Mamba?
Plus, he only has daughters. So there's that.
Anyway, James Moore threw it out there, and it's definitely out of the box thinking…Kobe Bryant as the next head basketball coach at U.C.L.A.
I'll give you my thoughts later. First, what do you think? Vote and say why.