One of the most incredible games I've ever seen in my life. I'd just like to get that out of the way. To be honest, I was actually rooting for the Lakers to win this series and besides the fact that I picked them, I legitimately wanted to see Kobe cement his legacy as a top 5 GOAT player. That does not seem to be the case however. No top GOAT player (now known as the top 5 GOATP) would ever allow his team to achieve a 24 point lead in the 2nd half of a home game only to see it shrink and eventually extinguished. Kobe allowed this and no matter what he eventually does in his career from this point on, this Game 4 of the Finals will always be remembered in his career.
Honestly, Kobe is actually beginning to grow on me. He's a controversial character who can make any situation become a questionable one referring to himself. He could just answer a simple question of his favorite color and people would hound him for it. No other player in the NBA can speak to that flaw and I love that a player like Kobe (undoubtedly the BEST player in the WORLD) can be judged in such a distinct manner. He's a great player, but like he said in the Steven A. Smith interview, "Let me be ME!". And that has a magnanimous truth to it. He can not be MJ because he doesn't have the trust in his teammates nor the charisma to be such an electric figure on and off the court.
The Lakers WILL lose this series and it's not because of Kobe's talent, it's because of Kobe's inability to assess a situation. He can't make the correct play in the 2nd half of a tightly contested game because he only understands that he's the one to make things happen. Michael understood that upon entering the final crucial moments of a game, to trust his teammates to be where they should be and to defer to them in order to win the grand prize. After all of the Lakers' struggles this past season, Kobe still doesn't get that. As much as he wants to win the games, he still believes that the only way to do so is with him taking that last shot, no matter how big the stage. He still wants that spotlight and until he understands that giving his teammate the winning shot means more than anything else, he won't achieve the level of play that those before him have understood.
I hope that Kobe can achieve this one day (perhaps even next season) and with the help of a legendary coach like Phil Jackson, I don't doubt that he will. Once he understands this step, he will become an all-time great. In many eyes he already is, but in my honest opinion, he has one step to go before he becomes the undisputed 2nd best player in NBA history. He must trust his teammates, not just in speech, but in demonstration.