Friday, June 18, 2010

Kobe Bryant - the Hipster Anti-Christ?

First, an apology. This is a second straight hipster-related blog post. Too much time in Brooklyn for this cracka', clearly.

Second, a disclaimer. As a Sacramento Kings fan, I loathe the Lakers, and enjoy loathing them. And a day after the Lakers won the title (sigh), I'm taking solace in the damage Kobe did to his legacy in the process (6 for 24! Jordan would never do that in a Game 7, as MJ's son pointed out on Twitter) and watching the mania that was Ron Artest's press conference. So yeah, haters gonna hate and all that jazz. That doesn't make this wrong, though, so keep that in mind if the bandwagoner in you wants to type "LAKERS #1!!!!"

So. Hipsters and Kobe. At first glance, they don't have much in common, other than a bizarre fashion sense. There's also that grating sense of entitlement, but even that's just perception. The real link between the new Millennium's counterculture staple and the NBA's most divisive player is the word "contrived." And I'm not talking about personality.

According to this ESPN article, Kobe spends a lot of time studying film of former great ballers and then mimics their moves. I think that's swell, and a testament to Kobe's devotion to the game. But it got me thinking ... is there anything Kobe does that we haven't already seen? His dream shake? Stolen from Hakeem. His scoop shot? Dr. J's invention. And his whole image, from the day he entered the league at 17, has come across as a structured replica of Michael Jordan's, all the way down to the relentless tongue-wagging. (You make millions of dollars, dude. Buy some chap stick.) Many could (and should) argue that Kobe perfected what other players only began. Fair enough. But where's the originality? The genius of creation? It's just not there, in either Kobe's game or his (public) projection of himself to the greater world. Artest may be batshit crazy, but it's a genuine kind of batshit crazy.

Kobe entered the NBA in 1996, roughly around the same time hipster culture started building their Mecca in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Ever since then, there's been a constant need in societal circles to define just what "hipsterdom" is; in my estimation, this Adbusters article comes the closest, describing it as "an amalgamation of its own history." The short version of the article is that hipsters have simply copied the style and trends of earlier counterculture movements (the punks, the Beats, etc.) without incorporating the soul and substance of these movements. An egregious lack of originality - just like one Kobe Bean Bryant.

The Adbusters article gets pretty esoteric, eventually reaching the conclusion that the rise of hipsters "represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new." A little melodramatic, to be certain, but what if the author is right? And what better way for these skinny-jeaned devils to usher in a cultural Armageddon than to plant one of their own in the NBA, where he can brainwash a new generation into nicknaming themselves after snakes and mugging the underbite? Would this not make Kobe the hipster anti-Christ? I'm willing to connect that dot if no one else will.

So, here we are. Indubitably, Kobe Bryant is the hipster anti-Christ. Help us Chris Childs, you're our only hope.

1 comment:

  1. I love the direction you are going with this Kobe/Hipster observation...

    ...and in regards to MJ- it was rare enough that MJ ever let a series get to 7 games, let alone drop a turd of a line like 6 for 24 in that situation. Fuck Kobe.