Can you score your way out of disgrace? Kobe Bryant's 81 points tonight were the second most points ever scored by a single player in the 59 year history of the NBA, and the most scored since Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point night 44 years ago (when the league was much whiter than it is today). With a new campaign from one time sponsor Nike and sports writers increasingly touting Bryant as a leading MVP candidate, two of the three elements of modern sports superstardom (sponsorship, good press) have returned to Kobe since the rape allegations that threatened to end his career. Will the final piece of the puzzle (public sympathy) be next?
Shaqzilla dethroned. Shaquille O'Neal, who warned Chinese citizen & #1 draft pick Yao Ming to "Look Out, Shaqzilla is coming" (presumably unaware that Tokyo is not part of China), has been dethroned; currently in fan balloting, he is running a distant second to the rookie for starting center in the All Star game. Even though his numbers are effectively double those of Yao's, even though he's a three time NBA Finals MVP.