The league has been warned. What happened in the All-Star game was not a threat. It was a promise. Kobe Bryant is slowly giving in to his alter ego – Black Mamba.
It took three quarters and a slight tweak of his right arm to get Mamba to come out and play last night. For good measure, Bryant’s first field goal attempt of the second half was taken with his left arm. Then he decided to test his right and what came next was the destruction of the Clippers.
Mamba outscored that other team from L.A. in the third. His 18 points in the third frame were better than the 17 the Clippers scored as a team. It was vintage Mamba as he imposed his will, turning the game on its head, ensuring he’d get to take the fourth quarter off.
Bryant never had to re-enter the game once the Lakers opened up an 18-point lead. Kobe’s chance to rest came courtesy of Mamba’s awakening.
But this was not coincidence. Just ask Portland. Mamba made an appearance against the Blazers just two days previous.
Like a true assassin, Mamba lay dormant in the grass awaiting the perfect t moment to strike. A brilliant second half was highlighted by some clutch shots down the stretch that forced OT in Rip City. Before you knew it, Mamba had dropped a game-high 37 as the Lakers went on an improbable run to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
These are warning signs that should not be ignored by the rest of the league. KB24 has spent most of this season buying time so that Black Mamba could emerge. Much like the legendary assassin Golgo 13, everyone knows when Mamba has arrived the problem is trying to figure out when he’ll strike.