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Thursday, January 26, 2006

The NBA world after Kobe's 81 points record

Nobody can deny the importance of his last achievement. Kobe Bryant's 81-point record Sunday night in the game with Toronto was eye-popping stuff, regardless how you view the Lakers' star.

Wether you love him or hate him, you have to give credit for the second-highest NBA scoring game ever. His talent has never been questioned, and on this night - 28 of 46 from the field, 7 of 13 from 3-point range, 18 of 20 from the free-throw line - he was at his best.

After all, we can say that this match, this singular performance, was what the Shaq-Kobe feud was all about. Now you can see why there is no more Shaquille O'Neal in L.A., no more shared spotlight. This was all Kobe, all the time, the way he's always felt it had be. And most of the fans too.

Kobe Bryant has his championship rings, earning three as a co-star with O'Neal. But the co-star thing drove him nuts, and drove Shaq out of town.

Today the story is different in the Lakers dressroom. Kobe is the man, the face and facade of the Lakers. He is the headliner on a 22-19 team with zero chance of winning a championship.